Incident and Problem Management

According to ISO 20000-1:2005, incident management and problem management are separate processes, although they are closely linked. Incident management deals with the restoration of service to users, whereas problem management is concerned with identifying and removing the causes of incidents.

The objective of incident management is to restore the agreed to service to the business as soon as possible or to respond to service requests. The objective of problem management is to minimize disruption to the business by proactive identification and analysis of the cause of incidents and by managing problems to closure.

ISO 20000-1, Clause 8, Resolution Processes, identifies the requirements for Incident Management in clause 8.2 and for Problem Management in clause 8.3. I have summarized those requirements below:

8.2 Incident Management 
Record all incidents. Adopt procedures to manage the impact of incidents. Define in procedures the recording, prioritization, business impact, classification, updating, escalation, resolution, and formal closure of all incidents.

Keep the customer informed of the progress of their reported incident or service request and alerted in advance if their service levels cannot be met and an action agreed. Give access to all staff involved in incident management to relevant information such as known errors, problem resolutions, and the configuration management database. Classify and manage major incidents according to a process.

8.3 Problem Management
Adopt procedures to identify, minimize, or avoid the impact of incidents and problems. Define in procedures the recording, classification, updating, escalation, resolution, and closure of all problems. Take preventive actions to reduce potential problems, e.g., following trend analysis of incident volumes and types.

Pass to the change management process any changes required to correct the underlying cause of problems. Monitor, review, and report on effectiveness of problem resolution. Ensure problem management is responsible for making up-to-date information on known errors and corrected problems available to incident management. Record actions for improvement identified during this process and input to a plan for improving the service.