Beyond Fixes: Navigating Effective Problem Management Strategies

In this technology-driven era, all corporations rely heavily on IT infrastructure to run smoothly. A little error in the IT department can lead to disrupted operations, impact productivity, and lead to customer dissatisfaction. However, it is inevitable for the problems to never arise, that’s where problem management, an important component of IT Service Management (ITSM), comes into play. Let’s explore what problem management is.

What is Problem Management?

Problem management is a multi-step framework used by IT teams to solve repeating issues. It is used to identify, react, and solve issues in the business. It is not used for smaller issues rather it is helpful in multiple major incidents that lead to huge work interruptions. Problem management, as opposed to problem-solving, investigates and analyzes the underlying reasons for an event after it has occurred to prevent such situations in the future by providing long-term fixes. The goal of problem management is to:

  • Avoid a problem before it arises
  • Solve issues that are repeating
  • Lessen the impact of an incident

8 Steps of Problem Management:

Having a reliable problem management system leads to proactive project management. It is a process that runs in loops and as more times you use it, the fewer problems will arise in the future.

There are 8 steps to problem management:

1.   Identifying the Problem:

The first step is identifying problems that need attention. This is done by analyzing incident trends, customer feedback and proactively monitoring the system. By monitoring closely, IT teams can find potential problems that need attention.

2.   Root Cause Analysis (RCA):

To find the fundamental causes of the issue, a detailed root cause analysis must be carried out. This is done with the help of an ITSM platform, as it aids in the investigation process by keeping track of the actions taken and potential causes. This entails looking at every potential reason and applying methods like Fishbone Diagrams, Fault Tree Analysis, and the Five Whys. Finding the root cause is the aim; treating the symptoms alone is not the solution.

3.   Logging and Categorizing the Problem:

Once you have identified the problems, it’s now time to sort them out. The identified issues must be logged in the system so everyone can access them and must be organized through categorization. This involves recording necessary details such as the problem’s description, the areas that are affected, and any related incidents.

4.   Creating a Workaround:

If the incident has changed or stopped work, you may need to devise a workaround. While you go through the problem management steps, temporary workarounds can help keep the project moving forward and prevent backlogs. However, they are not always necessary. You can turn these workarounds into permanent procedures when they prove to be particularly successful.

5.   Create your Known Error Database:

To keep a record of the identified problems, you will have to create a known error database. Every time an incident occurs, you can add it to your known error database. This helps you find recurrences and solutions to similar problems so it becomes easier to solve similar errors in the future.

6.   Implement New Changes:

In some situations where the problem is large and impactful, resolving it requires changes to the IT infrastructure, its applications, and processes. It is important to adhere to change management protocols to guarantee that changes are implemented in a controlled, tested, and coordinated manner with the least amount of possible interruption.

7.   Solving the Problem:

Alas, we get to the solving part. At this point, you need to be fully aware of the situation you’re in and the actions you need to take. But keep in mind that problem management alone won’t resolve the present issue. You should take every necessary action to ensure that anything similar doesn’t occur in the future. This could entail investing in new software and technologies, creating a new position to fill workflow gaps, or educating employees on best practices to stop these kinds of occurrences.

8.   Review and Closure:

An additional advantage of the problem management approach is that it can be fully documented for future studies. After you’ve found the solution, take some time to go over each step again and consider the things you learned in the process. Note who was involved, what you required, and any chances you had to respond better to the subsequent occurrence. Make a template to help with the kickoff process in the future once you’ve gone through the problem management process a few times and have a good understanding of the fundamental processes, stakeholders, workload, and resources required.

Problem Management Benefits:

There are several benefits of using a problem management strategy. It helps you discover problems from the current scenario down to the root cause.

●    Avoids Recurring Issues:

When you analyze the entire problem from start to finish, you come across the problems that caused it. This way you can fix the cause which will lead to fewer repeated incidents in the future.

●    Reduce Disruption and Downtime:

If an organization is aware of the root cause, it is more likely to prevent system failure. This leads to fewer work disruptions and downtime for continuity in business operations and productivity.

●    Enhanced User Satisfaction:

With resolving underlying problems there is an improvement in service quality and a more reliable IT environment for users. Thus, customers are more satisfied as they experience smoother service delivery.

●    Organized Problem Solving:

Problem management offers a methodical, deliberate approach to problem solutions. This lessens your tendency to react impulsively and improves the way you document problems, incidents, and solutions. 


An essential component of ITSM, problem management concentrates on locating, fixing, and averting IT problems. Organizations can reduce downtime, raise customer satisfaction levels, and improve service quality by devoting time and resources to efficient problem-management techniques. IT teams can improve the dependability and resilience of their IT environment and streamline their problem-management procedures by implementing the essential principles mentioned in this article. Recall that proactive problem management involves more than simply issue resolution; it also entails ongoing development and the pursuit of operational excellence.

Dan Smiljanić

Dan is a practitioner of project management and our resident geek. With a background in computer science, Dan is the lead product tester at Binfire. When Dan not writing code, you will probably find him cycling and hiking with friends.

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