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Effectively Using Problem Review Boards

Dec 27, 2005

George Spafford


The PRB must include representation from relevant stakeholders in order to effectively review incident trend data for reactive problem management as well as searching for risks from a proactive stance. This means the PRB could be comprised of vendor personnel, consultants, IT operations, IT release management, security, and so on. Incidents that appear to be establishing a trend would then be assigned to teams that would search for the underlying problem.

Once the underlying problem had been identified, a request for change would be issued through the change management process to validate and enact the recommendations of the PRB as they relate to the production systems and various stored configurations. It is important to note that the PRB must not spawn a separate change vector to production; rather, it must serve as an input to the standard change management process which, just in case, must have established means of handling emergency change requests.


Complexity is increasing the need for effective communication and coordination among the various groups involved with complex systems. As this happens along with technical specialization, enhanced processes will be needed to meet service levels including availability and security. To foster appropriate problem identification and root cause analysis, enterprises should use problem review boards with the necessary stakeholders represented in order to make decisions for both proactive and reactive problem management.

How does your organization handle incident and problem management? If you have any stories or examples you'd like to share, please email me at george@spaffordconsulting.com.