In the dynamic landscape of IT services, problem management stands as a pillar of stability, navigating through potential hurdles and ensuring the smooth running of an organization’s IT infrastructure. This involves a series of well-structured processes that react to incidents and proactively manage potential issues. Let us delve into the different aspects — triggers, inputs, outputs, and interfaces — that frame this critical process.

Triggers: The Catalysts for Action

Reactive Problem Management

When issues occur, reactive problem management springs into action, documenting the problems through problem records initiated mainly by service desk staff. This can occur at various stages, including during late stages of testing like User Acceptance Testing (UAT) or through supplier notifications warning about potential issues.

Proactive Problem Management

On the other hand, proactive management works by analyzing patterns and trends in historical data. Reviews of operational logs and communications can help in identifying underlying issues before they escalate, helping to keep the IT infrastructure robust and secure.

Inputs: The Fuel for Problem Management

To steer problem management efficiently, a series of inputs, like incident records, communication feedback about incidents, and reports from event management, among others, are essential. These inputs aid in creating a strategic approach towards problem trending and prioritizing and escalating problems based on agreed criteria, ensuring a seamless process in problem resolution.

Outputs: The Results of Diligent Monitoring

The output from the problem management process is manifold. From resolving problems to updating records with accurate details, and recommending improvements from major problem reviews, the results are oriented towards enhancing the IT infrastructure’s efficiency and reliability.

Workarounds for incidents, problem management reports, and known error records stand as testimony to the efficiency of the problem management process, pointing to a system that is keen on learning and improving from each incident.

Interfaces: Interconnecting the Lifeline of Services

The problem management process doesn’t work in isolation. It intersects with various other service lifecycle stages, forming a network that ensures the organization’s heartbeat never stops.

Service Strategy

Within the service strategy stage, financial assessments occur to analyze the impact of resolutions, guiding budgeting and total cost ownership calculations.

Service Design

At this stage, there is a deep interconnection with aspects like availability and capacity management, working synergically to reduce downtime and foresee performance issues.

Service Transition

Here, change management ensures that all resolutions pass through a controlled process. Service asset and configuration management play a crucial role in identifying faulty configurations and impacts of problems and resolutions.

Continual Service Improvement

Finally, in the continual service improvement stage, we find the ongoing effort to refine services, leveraging problem and incident occurrences as a basis for spotting opportunities to enhance service quality and customer satisfaction.


Problem management in IT services is a multifaceted process, a careful orchestration of reactive and proactive strategies grounded in meticulous data analysis. Whether you are an IT expert or a newcomer to the field, understanding this system’s triggers, inputs, outputs, and interfaces offers a holistic view of how IT services strive continually to self-improve, standing as a testament to innovation’s relentless pursuit.

References: ITIL Service Operation, 2011 edition, ISBN 9780113313075