ITSM incident and problem: two names for three things

Debate around the definitions of Incident and Problem never seems to end.
Here's my take on the fundamental issue that fuels the endless arguments: we have two entities trying to do three jobs.

When a service breaks, we have to deal with three things in support:

ITSM in Cherry Valley

I'm getting lots of positive feedback about my series of articles for The ITSM Review, which use a train crash in Cherry Valley, Illinois as a case study for understanding incident and problem management. (It is part of a wider theme of my articles for The ITSM Review using railroad examples for service management).

It always mystifies me that people (and ITIL) don't grok this simple model: incident management is about users, problem management is about causes.

How ITIL gets Incident vs Problem wrong

In ITIL, we don't separate Incidents from Problems properly. This causes a muddy and confused definition of both. Join me as I try one more time to make this clear.

Shopping: request vs incident

Roy asked the question "Would you agree that there's no difference between walking into a store and buying something (perhaps asking a clerk where the item is located), and returning an item that is broken or which doesn't fit?". It was such a good example I decided to answer in a blog post.

The Standard+Case approach: applying Case Management to ITSM

Image ©canstockphoto.comHere is an exciting new approach to categorising and resolving any sort of activity "tickets", such as requests (including incidents) on a service desk, problems, or changes. It is called Standard+Case until somebody comes up with a better name. I know there is so much to read these days, but if you have anything to do with service support or change management, read this. It'll change your year.

Standard+Case is a synthesis of our conventional "Standard" process-centric approach to responding, with Case management, a discipline well-known in some other industry sectors such as health, social work, law and policing.

S+C addresses criticisms of approaches like ITIL for being too process-centric and not allowing customers and knowledge workers to be empowered. S+C does not seek to replace or change ITIL or other theory: it expands and clarifies that theory to provide a more complete description of managing responses.

It provides a good skills path for service desk analysts that fits well with gamification. And Standard+Case is applicable to Problem Management and Change Management (and Event Management...) as well as Service Desk activities. S+C applies to anything that requires a human response: there's either a standard response or there isn't.

For more information about Standard + Case, see the Basic Service Management website.

Riddle me this: matching ITIL theory to the real world

Calling all you ITIL theorists, philosophers, pontificators and pundits. Marty is back: our follower from the real world, trying to make sense of ITIL on its home grounds, the operations of big iron batch computing. Marty asks what happens after a service is restored? What does ITIL call the function of undoing the damage done while a service was unavailable? I have a view - of course - but I'm going to stay quiet - for a while- and hear what everyone else thinks. So have at it.

Choose your Major Incident Manager for who they are not what they are

Could it be that the personality and skillset of the Major Incident Manager is more important than what role they have in the organisation? I think so. Too often we get hung up on theory and lose sight of what matters in a crisis - people.

The missing entity in ITSM models, the Interruption

Long ago we used to follow the one true Codd, and data normalisation mattered. Now middleware, messaging, MapReduce and Twitter seem to have blown that idea away. Charles Betz may not agree but it seems to me data modelling is in retreat. Certainly it amazes me that a framework like ITIL can gain such ascendancy without even a token effort at a data model. (Personally i think that is just pandering to the vendors with existing products who would all end up with a non-complaint model). As a result I think some obvious entities are missed out, and one of those is the Interruption.

Shit happens, or how I learned to love the incident

Complex systems are by definition broken. They will always break and sometimes they will break when everybody did what they are supposed to. Fixing the problem won't necessarily reduce the risk of another incident.

We should create the problem record right up front in an incident

A BOKKED post three months ago drew a lot of attention. It was about the disconnect between Incident and Problem Management in ITIL V3 Service Operation. [See also the ITIL Wizard stirring the pot about Major Incidents] I've just discovered a response to that post which has popped my brain with its simplicity and clarity

Syndicate content