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Problem Management

Problem Management Overview

Our QualityHelp Community is  primarily focused on providing Training and Coaching, for both our members and our wider community.  Problem Management is often a difficult and complex function of a business, where timely and efficient methods and solutions may play a large part in the success of the business. Quality Management methodologies as well as ITIL,  provide a wealth of tools and techniques to keep on top of the challenges that IT staff are confronted with on a daily basis.

Our Vision at QualityHelp is to guide IT Problem Managers in the principles and value of quality management through team involvement and sharing.


Risk Management in Work Health and Safety

In a recent article on  Quality Management for Work Health and Safety, we talked about the wisdom of founding a WHS Management System on both WHS standards (eg. AS/NZS 4801) and Quality Management standards (eg. ISO 9001).  Risk Assessment starts in the PLANning stage of a PDCA cycle, and Risk Management should be pervasive almost everyday in the DO or Operations of a business.

This is equivalent to Preventative Action in IS 9001 terminology, and whilst it may be a significant control facor for product / service quality in the context of Quality Management, in a WHS management system it could be a critical factor in avoiding serious injury or death. Invoking Incident Management after an emergency sytuation is far too late.

Managing Work Health and Safety Incidents

A key function in a Work, Health and Safety management system is dealing with accidents, workplace injuries and related health issues, as well as all other events and problems that pose an immediate or potential risk to al people in the work premises.

Apart from immediate application of Emergency Procedures where required, an Incident Reporting system is required to report and process all these situations, and goes far beyond just recording circumstances and reporting the events.

Beware of PayPal and eBay Related Phishing

With the recent eBay announcement asking members to change their passwords due to a security breach, most users reset their passwords immediately.

As a professional procrastinator, I put this off for a few weeks. Until I received an email, apparently  from PayPal regarding an account issue.  

Get Change Management Right and Downsize the Problem Management Team

Within IT Operations, the two most critical functions for ensuring consistent, stable and quality services and products are Change Management, followed by Project Management.  If you were thinking Quality Management then you've missed the basic concepts of quality.  Neither your company nor your customers (internal and external) want to pay for quality controls and inspections, internal audits, problem management teams or helpdesk staff dedicated to customer complaints and incident management. You can't fool the customer, and delude yourself if you claim that these costs are absorbed internally.

Defective products result from ineffective design, development and projects.  Release Management and Change Control are the gate keepers that are ultimately accountable for the quality of products and services reaching the end user. If you perfect these functions, you will then start to modify your strategies for product design, development and project management.

Do the cost analysis of achieving excellence in design and development versus reactive service management, then reap the rewards with market and customer trust and respect.


Problem Solving Model

I suspect many of you are familiar with several, if not many tools available for solving product defects and process problems (from Lean, Six Sigma and TQM).  Statisical Process Analysis, 5 Why's, Fisbone charts and RCA come readily to mind. The ISO 9000 component  on Preventative and Corrective Action offers another, complimentary tool for problem solving.

The value of having a wide range of tools and methods to tackle defects and solve problems becomes clearer when we realise that in the real, customer driven and competive markets of today, the nature of problems and defects are moving targets.  Don't fall for the common trap of setting your company's problem management processes in concrete.

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