What is a Problem Record?
The problem record template records a separate problem which the service desk encountered and lists the detailed information related to it. The structure of the template is similar to a problem management flowchart, where the left side contains all of the information gathered regarding the problem and the right side presents all of the corrective actions which were taken in order to resolve the problem. At the top of the template (in the most prominent area) the problem itself appears, and this allows the readers of the record to understand exactly what the problem was.
The left side presents the following problem detail (from top to bottom) –
- Record Date: When the record was written by the service desk.
- Recorded by: Who wrote the record, and what their role in the organization is.
- Problem Date: When the problem was reported to the service desk.
- Duration: How long the problem lasted since it was first reported to the service desk until it was resolved by them.
- Priority: This helps the service desk decide which problem to try and solve first. There are usually three possible attributes: Low, Medium, and High (some organizations add the fourth “Critical” attribute). Since everyone who reported a problem wants theirs to be resolved first, this section is a very sensitive issue. Most organizations only allow their senior service desk employees to set this attribute in the record.
- Category: This section contains the tags of the problem, which help in future searches. This should be filled in with thought and attention since it will aid in avoiding similar future problems.
- Description: This section is usually the largest in the left side details. It allows the service desk to outline in a simple and professional language how the problem was reported, analyzed, and how the solution was reached.
The right side presents how the problem was resolved after the diagnosis was reached, and what (if any) future actions will be taken as a result of the problem. The following problem details appear (from top to bottom) –
- Corrective Actions: How the service desk corrected the problem, how long it took them to do so, and what the result was.
- Lesson(s) Learned: What changed in the organization as a result of the problem, and when this change should take place. Usually, this is a periodical solution.
- Authorization: Since most changes require some sort of funding, the added cost needs to be authorized by a stakeholder within the organization. This section shows who authorized the solution, what their role is, and what the financial implications are on the organization (sometimes this is $0).
How It Fits Into the ITSM Methodology
Recording the details of the root cause of a problem, and how it was solved aids the organization in aligning the IT services with the business requirements. The record can also be used to explain the need in certain monetary decisions and helps the managers in preparing their yearly fund requests.