Problem Management

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What is a Problem?

  • ITIL defines a problem as “a cause or potential cause of one or more incidents.” Whereas an incident is a single unplanned event that causes a service disruption.
  • End goal is to proactively prevent incidents from occurring or to find the root cause of a disruption, and prevent incidents from happening again.
  • Connects multiple incidents to one root problem to better organize a solution.

Problem vs Incident

  • The goal of incident management is to restore the service as quickly as possible Vs. Problem management's goal is to identify the root cause of the incident(s) and determine if a change is needed or a work around should be communicated.
  • An incident's solution may use a problem's work-around to help restore the service as fast as possible, whereas a problem's solution seeks to restore the service in the correct way regardless of time.
  • A problem can consist of multiple incidents or just a single incident.

Problem functionality

Problems are a great way of organizing, communicating, and documenting solutions to multiple disruptions in a service.

Let's go through some of the ways it does that:

Creating a Problem

... ... ... ...

Attaching Incidents to a Problem

To attach incidents to a problem, you'll need to add an Incident relationship. Select the Relationship Editor on your Problem record and add 'Incident'.

Select 'Relationship Editor'
Add 'Incident' by selecting it

Next, select all Incidents that stem from the known problem. You may also open individual Incidents on this slide-out to make sure you're grabbing the right one.

Select all Incident records that apply to the problem
Incidents attached, shows up on the right bar of Problem

Once you have the Incidents listed on the right side of your Problem record, save the record at the top right of your screen and you should see the Incidents be added to your Problem's chat box.

After saving, your incidents show up in the internal chat

Your Incidents will all receive a new chat message on their internal chat record, allowing anybody working on the Incidents to see the Problem they have been attached to.

Problem record is recorded in all Incidents' internal chats

Sharing a work-around with attached Incidents

In order to restore service for all customers quickly and efficiently, sharing a work-around to all the Incidents related to the problem can provide a needed work-around solution.

You can do this by editing the 'Work-Around' slot located on the right side of the Problem record.

Hover over it and select the pencil icon:

Hover over 'Workaround' and click the editing pencil
Type your workaround solution and submit
Save your record to confirm the workaround

Now that your workaround is posted, any incident will be able to click on the Problem their Incident is attached to, and see the work-around.

What if you wanted to make sure everyone got the message right away?

Using Broadcast Message

  • Used to send a message to any selected relationship attached to the Problem.
  • Sends the message to the public chat of all the records given in relationship.
  • Can be used to communicate a number of things such as workarounds or if the root cause is being worked on.

For example, we will broadcast a message to all Incidents on a problem. Click on the radio tower icon on the top right of your Problem record:

Press the 'Broadcast Message' button
Input your message

Select which relationship you would like to broadcast to:

Selecting Incident

Confirm you want to broadcast the message, and your message will be sent to all records within the chosen relationship!

Incident now has broadcast message

User Involvement

The assigned user on a Problem can involve people on the record for various reasons. This is helpful for:

  • Correct Vendor information
  • Monitoring progression on a Problem
  • Assisting an assigned user

Involving People In A Problem

There are two ways of involve other users:

  • Through a @ mention message on the record
  • Add person button on the top right of the record
@ Involve Message
  • Involves users and automatically assigns mentioned user to an 'Assisting' role.

Type '@' in your message input box and an autofill box will pop up:

Autofill suggestions
Autofill and blue highlighting on @involve

Now, you should see the involve message in the chat, the user listed in the top right under 'Involved', and the user listed under 'Assisting' on the right bar:

Involved user info added in chat, 'involved', and 'assisting' tabs
Add Person Button
  • Involves users and manually assign users to roles

Click on the 'Add Person' button at the top right of your page:

'Add Person' button
Select 'Add People'
Select which role you'd like to include the user in
Select user(s) you'd like to include

Save and confirm back down to the Problem record. You will see newly added information to the record:

User added under selected role tab and icon added at the top right. User has been involved.

Removing Involved Users

There are two quick ways of removing a user:

1)

Remove users by pressing the x next to their names.

2)

Remove users in 'Add People' slide-in by hovering over their name and pressing the small x.

Knowledge

  • You can attach Knowledge to your Problem to add more information related to the Problem.
  • The Problem's status must be closed for you to create a new Knowledge article.
  • This will be helpful if you have had a similar Problem or Incident in the past that has been resolved and added to the Knowledge database.

Creating Knowledge

Once your Problem has a status of closed, select 'Create KB Article' at the top right of your Problem slide-in.

Select the 'Create KB Article' button

Confirm, you will be asked if you'd like to include important messages. This will go through the problem chat, grab any messages marked as important, and list them in your Knowledge article.

Messages marked as important
Include important messages check
KB article with important messages imported

After creating the Knowledge article, a relationship on both the Knowledge and the Problem will be created, linking the two together.

Attach Existing Knowledge

To attach existing Knowledge to your Problem, select your Problem's 'Relationship Editor' at the bottom right of the slide-in.

Select 'Relationship Editor'
Select 'Knowledge'

From here, you will select the Knowledge article you'd like to attach. It will slide-in again, showing you the Knowledge you have selected. Confirm, then your Knowledge article will be attached to your Problem.

Attached Knowledge with link to the record