When does an Incident become a Problem?

Dear Wiz,
When does an Incident become a Problem?

Hope you can help me

Dear Prob,

it is all spelled out in the Service Support book. it is quite straightforward really

An incident becomes a problem if the incident is completed and there is still a problem because we somehow resolved the user's problem without opening a problem but we know the problem is still there.

Or we can make a problem during the incident if we need help with the problem in order to resolve the incident. Of course we don't have to make a problem if there is a problem. Obviously we can resolve the problem as part of the incident if it is more of an incident than a problem or if the problem will be solved when we solve the incident so we clearly don't need to open a problem in that case. It should be evident that a problem is opened at the start of an incident if the incident is clearly a problem, or if we think there might be a probelm but we are not sure or if it is the same as another incident where we haven't opened a problem yet but now we have several incidents with no problem that makes it clear there is a problem so we should create the problem, but I guess I don't need to tell you that!

Good luck
The ITIL Wizard


Incident vs Problem

As far as Incident vs Problem - An Incident is one instance where something breaks (eg). A Problem is the underlying root cause of multiple occurrences of that Incident.
eg if a Server crashes every Sunday at 12 Noon each of these is a separate Incident. The Problem is what is ultimately causing all those crashes.
You might fix each Incident (restart the server) but you have not fixed the Problem until you fix the underlying root cause and stop the Incidents happening.

another view - Fixing Incidents is like Fire FIGHTING. Fixing a Problem is like Fire PREVENTION.

valuable insight

Dear Pundari

Thank-you for that valuable insight. I have never heard it explained in that way before. But I think you are over-complicating something that is really quite straightforward.

A problem might be the underlying root cause of multiple occurrences of an incident but it might equally be the underlying cause of only one incident. It would be irresponsible to wait as you suggest for a recurrence of the server crash in order to address the underlying problem

problem management isn't fire prevention at all. it is putting out a fire that has broken out one or more times - that isn't preventing the fire because it has already happened. it is clearly distinct from incident management for that reason. Incident management is about extinguishing the user, problem management is about extinguishing the fire. Of course the two blur together as described in the original post

The ITIL WIzard

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