Who Is A Problem Manager in 2023?

Catherine Pulsifer says, “A problem is only if you refuse to look for a solution. If you don’t take action to fix it, then it will remain a problem.”

This statement says much about the place of problem managers in every organization, especially those facing high competition.

This article will describe a problem manager’s definition, functions, and responsibilities. Still, before we get into the meat of the matter, it’s important to understand who a problem manager is.

Who Is A Problem Manager?

Problem management is a life cycle management process aimed at avoiding problems from arising, minimizing the impact of inevitable problems, and identifying solutions to avoid repeating issues. 

Problem management focuses on the root cause of a problem and works to resolve it proactively or reactively, depending on the situation.

As a result, we define a problem manager as someone responsible for detecting the possibility of a problem, preventing the occurrence of such problems, limiting the impact of inevitable problems, and creating solutions to prevent such problems.

The problem manager is an important member of an organization’s IT Service Management team. 

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What Are The Duties Of A Problem Manager?

Their primary goal is to prevent incidents from occurring as well as to reduce the severity of unavoidable ones.

Here are the two major duties of a problem manager:

  • The problem manager identifies, prioritizes, and allocates responsibility for problems before leading them through the complete solution process. 
  • Creating and administering a knowledge base to keep information about known errors and workarounds for use by the service desk and self-help portals is an important component of the job.

Daily Activities Of A Problem Manager In An Organization

Frequently, the day-to-day activities of a problem manager are mistaken, as many people believe them to be problem-solver. 

The purpose of a Problem Manager is not to fix problems alone, they are also in charge of analyzing incident trends, identifying recurring incidents, and determining where problem-solving efforts will yield the best results for the company. 

By performing the following roles, a problem manager works throughout the entire organization, leveraging other resources for knowledge, skills, and support in the diagnostic process:

  • Coordination – Problem managers must know the organization’s knowledge and skillsets to choose. They should enlist experts to solve a specific problem. In most organizations, the problem manager coordinates all parts of problem identification and resolution.
  • Communication – To offer a solution to the most appropriate team, the problem manager keeps an overview of the problem queue, updates the status, and keeps the stakeholder informed of progress.
  • Facilitation – A problem manager is a versatile position since they are always a critical member of any team formed to manage a large occurrence and to facilitate data collection and analysis, which leads to a long-term solution to any problem. 

Studying a long-term solution concurrently with the incident. Problem Manager requires the team’s efforts to fix the immediate damage.

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What Are The Roles Of A Problem Manager In An Organization?

The problem manager has the duty of putting together a big-picture perspective, collecting data from many sources, interpreting meaning, projecting likely outcomes, assessing impact, evaluating alternatives, managing a portfolio, and recommending problem resolution priorities. 

A problem manager must interact with various service management jobs to carry out these tasks effectively and efficiently. 

The incident management team, which is tasked with reviewing incident records to identify repeat issues, and the change management team, which implements permanent fixes to problems, are two of the roles with which the problem manager must work closely (the team name may vary from organization to organization). 

Problem managers must also understand the business goals by working with business leaders to understand the impact of problems to prioritize problems for resolution correctly.

The problem manager also performs other roles, which are discussed thus:

1. Improving services and solutions quality

Repeated problems irritate customers, and they impact the company’s customer satisfaction and retention. Hence, problem managers need to provide better solutions and improve services regularly. 

They can prevent repeat occurrences and eliminate any adverse effects if they prepare an organization to tackle its difficulties head-on and decide to employ a proactive problem management plan. 

This will enhance the quality and reliability of services, and solutions for users have improved.

2. Manage organizational risks

The problem manager has the duty of identifying, assessing, and reducing organizational hazards. 

In every organization, major incidents may profoundly influence an organization’s reputation and financial performance, whereas minor ones can considerably reduce productivity. 

How Do Problem Managers Manage Risks In Their Organization?

It’s impossible to avoid mishaps because human desires are insatiable and cannot be entirely met. 

Here are some risk managing ways employed by problem managers:

  • The problem manager determines the possibility and impact of prospective technical issues that the organization may face, determines the overall risk exposure, and develops appropriate remediation programs for current and future problems.
  • Allocation of resources to the appropriate quarter for efficient problem fixing.
  • Problem-solving is carried out by emergency teams that respond to crises on the fly. It may necessitate bringing together people from throughout the organization, frequently from business and technical disciplines. 
  • A smart problem manager will know who is most likely to have the information needed to identify a problem’s fundamental cause. 
  • Understanding subject-matter specialists’ skill sets, assessing their workloads, and effectively allocating issue-solving activities efficiently utilizes the organization’s most important resources in problem resolution.

Problem Manager’s skills

The value of the company’s issue-solving capabilities is enhanced by training a variety of people within the organization in the core problem-solving skills and allowing them to use and share these talents with other members of their teams.

Thus, to be a successful problem manager here are the must-have skills, knowledge, and competencies:

1. Consistency problem-solving tools

Most ITSM technologies have well-developed problem-management capabilities that may assist any team throughout the problem-solving process. 

Many of these tools go a step further by incorporating industry-standard methodologies directly into the toolkit, guiding employees through the actions they should take and when they should use them.

2. Technical knowledge

To serve as a translator between the business and IT, an issue manager must understand the foundations of technical aspects of problems. Still, they should not expect them to be technical specialists on every problem they manage. 

While the problem manager should have some technical knowledge, it’s more crucial that they know where to find it. 

A Problem Manager must be familiar with the company’s operations and find subject matter experts in each department, as well as the IT department, who can effectively address the issue at hand.

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3. Problem-solving skills

A problem manager’s most vital skill sets are critical thinking and root-cause analysis. As a problem manager, you need to appreciate the habit of taking a step back to analyze a problem analytically, using intuition, and determining who needs to be involved in handling the issue are critical talents.

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4. Business knowledge

A competent problem manager must have a thorough awareness of their company’s principal business. 

To effectively manage an issue queue, they must also understand the company’s goals, who the customers are, and the production of business value.

5. Data analysis and statistics

An analytical mind is necessary for a skilled problem manager. They must devote a significant amount of time and effort to comprehending happenings, reviewing reports, and evaluating data to comprehend the cause and effect of various scenarios. 

In problem-solving, statistical tools are frequently used to measure risk and evaluate potential solutions.

Basic Attributes To Consider When Hiring A Problem Manager

Not everyone has the necessary abilities and mindset to tackle problems effectively. Problem-solving necessitates a certain mindset and the ability to think critically about the challenges at hand before making any judgments, as his or her choices can save or destroy the day.

Here are some of the top traits to consider when hiring a problem manager:

#1. Ability to handle ambiguity

Problems are not always obvious on the surface, and what appears to be a problem may not be the underlying issue, necessitating a thorough investigation to determine the true issue. During a successful resolution process, many red herrings will arise. 

A smart issue manager will be able to spot these and examine them thoroughly before devoting time to researching potential dead ends. 

They recognize that many situations are not necessarily what they appear to be and will always seek confirmation before taking action.

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#2. Curiosity about how things (processes and system) works

Problem management is an important part of any successful organization’s framework. Thus, it’s no surprise that most companies locate their problem managers in the service management department. 

This gives them a lot of power over service management and governance processes, and it allows them to work closely with incident and change management teams. 

Curiosity is excellent quality for a problem solver since it is a driving factor that motivates them to ask “why” and “how” inquiries.

#3. An understanding of opportunity cost

Frequently, there will be more than one solution to a problem. An experienced problem manager will be able to assess which solution will provide the best opportunities for the organization and what is lost by not selecting other options. 

The problem manager must be able to articulate the opportunity cost clearly to allow the business to select the best from the multiple options.

#4. Experience in evaluating trade-offs

There is rarely a perfect solution to a problem, and resolving one issue may result in the emergence of a new one that is far more severe. 

A problem manager must be able to analyze the best solution for the company and comprehend that the firm may have to choose between two bad options. 

A smart problem solver can identify which is the lesser of two options.

#5. Experience/training in risk-management techniques

Risk management is an important part of the problem manager’s role. They must be able to assess quickly the risks of taking no action or implementing any number of possible solutions. 

The problem manager must identify the risks clearly and define the mitigating and corrective actions to be taken to minimize the risk to the business.

#6. Data and statistical analysis experience

A problem manager will spend a significant amount of time analyzing statistics, incident queues, and repeat calls. 

Prioritizing the problem queue is about much more than the number of calls logged for a single issue. The problem manager must consider the cost of each outage and must next weigh these figures against the expense of finding a solution to the problem. 

What are the tools employed by problem managers for job efficiency?

Problem management is a data-intensive function. Technology can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of problem-management processes and help problem managers direct organizational resources to achieve maximum benefit. Some of the key tools problem managers use include:

#1. Data analysis and reporting tools

A huge variety of data analysis and reporting tools help the problem manager assess the problem and incident queues, understand the impact on business operations, and justify investments in fix recommendations. 

Many of these aiding tools are already in use throughout the organization. 

Problem managers should seek to leverage whatever data is available to the benefit and growth of the organization.

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#2. Statistical analysis tools

Statistical methods will be useful for analyzing both structured and unstructured information needed in problem management. 

Problem analysis is a complicated task, and many variables will affect the value of the gathered information.

#3. Incident management system

Your incident-management system, which is likely part of your overall ITSM solution, will provide the most expensive dataset to support problem management. 

Artificial-Intelligence capabilities available in many systems can further assist the problem manager in managing large volumes of incident data.

#4. Configuration management database (CMDB)

An accurate CMDB is an essential tool for problem managers. The Problem Manager must refer to the CMDB to understand dependencies and assess the risk of current problems and the potential effects of any identified fixes. 

Root-cause-analysis processes that probe cause-and-effect relationships are often heavily dependent on data from the CMDB.

What Is The Salary Of A Problem Manager?

The average problem manager’s salary is $76,889 as of the first quarter of 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $65,901 and $88,178. 

Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years one has spent in the profession as well as the financial capacity of the employer.


The importance of the post of a Problem Manager can never be overlooked in an organization, as every organization has the likelihood of having a problem and will always need a skilled office that can give expert advice to prevent the occurrence of such problems, reducing the impact of unavoidable problems and finding solutions to prevent the recurrence of such problems. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a problem manager?

To become a Problems Manager, you will need experience in risk management or a process used to identify and analyze potential risks to an organization.

Is problem management a good career?

Problem management can provide a good career path for anybody with the right skills, knowledge, and attributes

What is the salary range of a problem manager?

The salary range of a problem manager typically falls between $65,901 and $88,178 as of April 2023.



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