In the intricate landscape of IT, problem management emerges as a pivotal function, aiming to identify, analyze, and rectify problems, thus preventing incidents before they occur. Yet, to navigate through this, both IT and non-IT individuals must acquaint themselves with the potential challenges and risks that accompany problem management. Let’s dissect these concerns to better understand how one can overcome them.

Understanding the Challenges

The road to successful problem management is riddled with challenges. Recognizing these impediments can be the first step towards crafting a strategy that stands resilient in the face of hurdles.

Ensuring Smooth Communication between Different Processes

A formidable challenge lies in harmonizing incident and problem management processes. Here, the focal point should be on crafting formal interfaces and shared working practices to foster seamless communication.

Zeroing in on the Root Cause

Often, the real challenge is to sift through the symptoms and reach the core issue. This calls for a culture that encourages probing deeper with questions such as “Why did this occur?” and “How can we prevent its recurrence?”

Tool Discrepancy

A discord between the tools used for recording incidents and those tracking problems can create roadblocks. The solution lies in selecting compatible tools that facilitate a comprehensive analysis by linking incidents to problems adeptly.

Integration with CMS

A well-integrated Configuration Management System (CMS) is vital to discern the relations between Configuration Items (CIs) and utilize historical data in problem support activities. This integration is pivotal to a successful problem management strategy.

Training and Knowledge Management

Ensuring that the staff is well-versed with both technical nuances and the business implications of the services is essential. Regular training sessions can be a powerful tool in achieving this.

Building Collaborative Relationships

Cultivating a collaborative working environment between first-line staff and those working in advanced lines of support is necessary to foster a synergy that accelerates problem resolution.

Comprehending Business Impact

A clear understanding of the business repercussions of problems at hand is vital. All members involved should appreciate the larger picture to work in harmony towards resolution.

Recognizing the Risks

In addition to the challenges, one must be cognizant of the potential risks that threaten to derail the path to successful problem management. Identifying these risks can aid in formulating strategies to mitigate them.

Resource Crunch

A deficit of well-trained resources can lead to a bottleneck where problems pile up, becoming unmanageable. Preventing this requires a foresight in resource allocation and management.

Inadequate Support Tools

The lack of proficient support tools can stagnate the problem management process. The antidote is investing in robust tools that streamline the workflow.

Improper Training of Support Staff

Insufficiently trained staff can be a roadblock, hindering the identification of underlying causes of problems. This underlines the necessity for a comprehensive training regime.

Misaligned Objectives

The absence of well-defined Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) and Underpinning Contracts (UCs) can create mismatches in objectives, putting a spanner in the works. Aligning these agreements and contracts can serve as a protective shield against such risks.


Understanding the challenging landscape and the risks in the realm of problem management is akin to being well-prepared before a voyage, equipped with a map and compass. Whether you’re in IT or in business, grappling with these challenges and risks head-on with strategic planning and collaborative efforts can pave the way to smooth sailing in problem management, steering the ship towards the harbor of success.

References: ITIL Service Operation, 2011 edition, ISBN 9780113313075