Houston, we have an incident…

by

problem“Houston, we have a problem…” This phrase makes me cringe about the same as gramatarians at the split infinitive in “… to boldly go where no man has gone before…” No, the Apollo astronauts didn’t have a problem – they had an incident.

An incident is an issue that is time sensitive and needs to be addressed in a timely manner depending on criticality and priority. A problem as the underlying cause of an issue that may or may not be addressed again based on factors such as likelihood to cause an issue, cost to fix, priority, etc. When you are in space and running out of air, you don’t have a problem – you have a critical incident.

How about some examples to make that clearer?

Your computer won’t boot up because of corrupt data. Incident or problem? The answer is – incident. You need to repair the corruption somehow to get your computer working again. Now, the underlying problem may be that you have physical defects on your hard-drive that cause data corruption.

You get a notice that your car has been recalled due to braking issues. Incident or problem? That answer is – problem. There isn’t an immediate issue with the brakes, but it sounds fairly likely that there could be. In this case, it’s a critical problem that should be taken care of right away.

For technology companies, this is also a critical difference because too many build process to support incidents (known as incident management) and not problems (problem management). There are some big differences, and having good processes in place for both can have big dividends.

Obviously, incident management is critical because major issues need to be addressed quickly or you can have large, negative business impacts. Even small things – like the CEO’s Blackberry going down – should be handled maturely and efficiently to help the IT shop appear effective and responsive. Having major systems out like email can really impact an organization.

Problem management can help identify longer range issues that can help avoid the firefighting and negative consequences of incident management. Problem management should include two prongs: 1) as a follow-on to incident management where a root cause analysis and set of recommendations is supplied and 2) as an ongoing effort to review potential risks and known issues encountered during normal operations or from outside the company.

If you are in a CIO or senior leadership position, make sure to as your operations team about incident vs. problem management and if they handle them differently. And, if they don’t give you a good answer, you should know… “Houston, we have a problem…”

READ MORE

Your Personality Is Showing

Your Personality Is Showing

There I was, minding my own business one evening, digging into my organization's SEO performance (as one does), when I came across something interesting. Search terms related to "MBTI" — or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel...

read more
Lessons From a Change Manager Who Hates Change

Lessons From a Change Manager Who Hates Change

Hello. My name is Monique, and I’m a change manager who hates change.   After years of receiving “consulting therapy” from various mentors, I am now able to say these words out loud and proudly. But for a long time, it felt more like an admission of guilt. I mean, who...

read more
Creativity as a Cure

Creativity as a Cure

The topic of creative solutioning has been front and center these days as we talk more and more about organizational adaptability in the face of dynamic and uncertain times. For example, I recently read about a project that got me thinking about specific priorities...

read more
Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company — Why Now?

Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company — Why Now?

Big news over here as we close out the year - we have been acquired by Pariveda, a 750-person consulting firm in 12 markets across North America! We are now “Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company” and I’ll be serving as the Managing Vice President continuing to lead...

read more
Thought Ensemble Joins Pariveda Solutions!

Thought Ensemble Joins Pariveda Solutions!

Dallas, December 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Pariveda, a leader specializing in solving complex technology and business problems, announces the acquisition of Thought Ensemble. With the addition of Thought Ensemble, Pariveda now provides holistic business strategy,...

read more
Thoughts on Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Thoughts on Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

It was about a year ago that we first started hearing about Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (SB19-085) and I knew it was going to be national news. We’d just gotten past the “Rocky Mountain High” jokes, and our lovely state was trying to break new ground...

read more
Disruption Is the New Normal

Disruption Is the New Normal

By nature, disruptors are not popular. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win, then they copy you.” We have all heard some version of this quote, and we have all seen it play out in real life. We've seen it with building...

read more
What Would You Say You Do Here?

What Would You Say You Do Here?

“I deal with the … customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills!” That famous Office Space quote from Tom Smykowski cracks me up every single time. I know Toms. I’ve been Tom. Change the quote to say, “IT Team” instead of “engineers,” and there’s a...

read more