SLA for Problem Resolution

Discussion on issues related directly or largely to ITIL problem management.
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mredekar
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Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:59 am

Complexity of problems (and hence the TTR and TTKE ) varies from case to case and cannot be generalized for all problems with a given propriety.

Is it feasible to agree and adhere to time based SLA targets for resolving problems in real world?

If there are no agreed or committed timelines for resolution, how assigning priority will help Problem managers and analysts in undertaking problems for root cause and resolutions?

Thanks.


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Diarmid
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Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:04 am

Problems, unlike incidents, apply to the service provider, not to the customer. Therefore offering an SLA is inappropriate. This is not to say that you do not involve the customer in problems. Many problems will continue to impact or threaten services until resolved and you have to retain the confidence of your customer by letting them know what you are doing about it, involving them in the strategy as well as the investigation and testing and, crucially, involving them in how best to cope until the resolution is in place - workarounds. It is also the case that there may not be a cost effective resolution to a particular problem (at least in the foreseeable future), beyond some workaround.

By definition, problem investigation begins with unknowns. It is not possible to predict how long the investigation will take and it is not possible to predict how long it will take to design and implement the solution. Certainly, experience will allow a degree of judgement even at an early stage, but this can be no more than a probability. There will be occasions where this prediction turns out to be awry, because the problem has hidden depths or surprising twists.

You do not prioritize on how long it will take or according to timescale commitments. Priority is established by looking at the impact, risks and threats that a problem poses to the customer and and to the service provider. For example a 99% effective workaround would reduce the urgency of full resolution from the customer perspective, but if it involved large cost to the service provider, then it would retain commensurate priority.

While the management aspects of problem resolution can be readily defined and audited, there is some dependence on the knowledge, skills, experience and insight of the investigators and this is more difficult to evaluate in non-subjective ways. Every problem has the potential to have causes on the edge of or outside the skill-sets of the initial investigators.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
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mredekar
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Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:29 pm

Thanks Diarmid,

Your reply helped us in closing one long-open discussion with our client's Problem Management team.

Thanks again,
Regards,
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UKVIKING
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:26 pm

I ahve a couple of comments for this thread

Can Diarmid bill you for the answer ?

Does your client know that despite the money that they are paying your company, you have to seek descisions from an internet discussion forum because you dont have any one on board who has the skill set / experience / credentials to help the customer

I feel sorry for your client as it appears they have paid for something that cant be delivered

I also am scared that there are companies out there that have no clue about implementing ITSM using ITIL yet ae still touting themselves as an ITSM consultant firm

wow.. i am just flabbergasted at the last thought
John Hardesty
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Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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