Organizing for Problem Management

Many leaders of IT Operations (ITO) mistakenly think that Problem Management requires a large reorganization of departments.  They also believe this will lead to lower rather than higher customer satisfaction. This post will explain how you can organize a team for successful Problem Management.

Organizational structure determines your success or failure with Problem Management. You don’t necessarily want to reorganize to achieve a correct organizational structure. Confusing task descriptions combined with performance and organizational structure can result in failure.

Since Root Cause Analysis (RCA) often involves multiple technology departments or silos, appoint a Problem Manager who coordinates the work of cross-department resources. Instead of dedicating a department, a Problem Manager who federates resources often produces better results. A federated approach to RCA requires more coordination and information sharing than traditional RCA, and if done well, it can prevent outages from occurring in the first place.

Some kind of organizational change to support Problem Management is inevitable, but the real change is not where ITO staff sits or reports to, it’s in how the overall staff collaborates to resolve outages. Structuring for the Problem Management process often requires empowering the teams to know when, how, and why to perform.

Traditional ITO structures make little distinction between process and performance. Research shows that firms often attempt to form two groups: Incident Management (triage) and Problem Management (root-cause analysis). A united approach is often more successful than dedicated departments. One solution is to leverage existing staff and capabilities as shared resources to form virtual organizations for resolving problems.  This requires defined roles, responsibilities, and common oversight from a Problem Manager but prevents increased outage duration, loss of organizational knowledge, reduced communication, and loss of management visibility in the long run.

Reprinted from Global Knowledge

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