Opening a Problem Record

March 29th, 2014 | Posted by Don Boylan in Incident Management | Problem Management

When do you create a problem record? My opinion is, an incident goes through the 1st-level and 2nd-level. If it isn’t possible to solve the incident, the incident became an unknown-error. At this point I would open a problem record.


There are three commonly accepted reasons of when to open a Problem Record. You mentioned one, but I would have put it differently.

You describe the instance where the Incident Management process is unable to resolve an issue. So in real world terms –

-Something is broken.
-The groups responsible for quick resolution (and this can be 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th-xth level support) are unable to determine a fix.
-The issue can simply not be ignored (“Sorry user, you really didn’t need to be doing that anyway”) so you must do serious root cause analysis to discover what caused the issue in the first place before a fix can be put in place.
-At this point you refer the Incident record to the Problem Management process for them to open a Problem record and prioritize the issue.

The other two times you would open a Problem Record are:

1) When you discover that many Incidents have similar symptoms indicative of a common root issue, and the Incidents keep reoccurring. You would open a Problem Record in the hopes that by eliminating the Root Cause, the Incidents will also stop.

2) Whenever an Incident occurs that is so costly (often called a Major Incident) that it is in the financial interest of the company to spend money to ensure that it never happens again.

Oh and don’t forget Proactive Problem Management:

-You notice a failure in one Service for which the root cause is a failed component.
-You then realize that a duplicate of the failed component is also utilized in another Service
-You might open a proactive Problem Record to ensure that that a similar failure won’t take down the second Service.

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