Incident and problem management can be quite simple. But to be so, it is fundamental to know the difference between an Incident and a Problem.

It is a fact that many companies do not manage incidents and problems because they believe it is a difficult and complicated process, or even simply because they do not know the difference between an Incident and a Problem. In fact, incident and problem management can be quite simple, especially when appropriate tools are used. But to do this, it is crucial that you know how to identify them correctly. Do you know the difference between an incident and a problem?

The difference between an incident and a problem:

An incident is any event that is not part of the standard operation of a service and that causes, or may cause, an interruption in service or a reduction in its quality.

On the other hand, a problem is the unknown cause of one or more incidents: in other words, an incident that does not have its root cause identified becomes a problem.

Incident management:

Incidents have a trigger event. In other words, “what was the triggering cause of the event.” And the key word is WHAT triggered the situation.

Incident management is focused on the here and now. It is highly tactical, reactive and is the response to a situation where a failure or interruption in the use of something occurred.

The purpose of incident management is to re-establish a service or remedy a certain situation as quickly as possible.

Problem management:

On the other hand, problem management is concerned with investigating and fixing. It is knowing WHY something happened, how to fix it and to analyze the situation until the problem is fixed.

The emphasis of problem management is on addressing the root cause of events and finding permanent solutions.

In essence, it is all about preventing future incidents. It is looking for the motive or the final cause of the problem.

A simple and practical analogy:

Let’s simplify this even more by using a very simple analogy.

Imagine an accident on the highway that passes through your city, involving several cars and victims, and the highway has to be closed.

In this case, the rescue services, fire department, ambulance service responded to the event. In other words, they responded to the INCIDENT. The objective of these teams is to go to the site, provide the necessary help and reestablish the operation of the highway that had its use interrupted.

But, like with all accidents, we want to know WHY it happened. And that’s where the work of experts and related bodies comes in, involving a complete investigation to identify the cause of the accident. Was it caused by speeding? Illegal passing? Highway infrastructure problems?

After clarifying the PROBLEM, pertinent actions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of another accident, or even eliminating altogether the possibility of it happening again.

Let’s deepen our knowledge?

Now that it has become easier to understand the essential difference between an incident and a problem, how do we jump to the next step and delve deeper into how to manage them?

Start with the webinar Incident vs. Problem: how to differentiate and manage them, which discusses the differences between incidents and problems, as well as the identification steps and their proactive management. In addition, we also show how the appropriate tools can make this process simple and easy.

Watch the webinar now

Gus Oliveira


Gus Oliveira

Gustavo Oliveira é graduado em Administração de Empresas e em Economia pela Universidade de Massachusetts - Dartmouth (EUA). Gustavo possui experiência na indústria de software para excelência empresarial e também na área financeira e de desenvolvimento de negócios, atuando em grandes empresas nos Estados Unidos e no Brasil como analista financeiro, consultor de estratégia de negócios e consultor sênior de projetos.

You might also like:

Get free content in your inbox!

Subscribe to our Newsletter and get content about corporate management's best practices produced by specialists.

By clicking the button below, you confirm that you have read and accept our Privacy Policy.

Please, fill out the form to download

Required field
Required field
Required field
Please enter a valid phone number
Required field

By clicking the button below, you confirm that you have read and accept our Privacy Policy