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Transforming Problem Management

Services financiers


The Global Problem Management team for the Group Technology and Operations (GTO) division of a major German bank—providing IT infrastructure and application support.


After establishment of a Global Problem Management team in 2010, GTO wanted to standardize the problem process due to inconsistency in the approaches used by Problem Managers during Root Cause Analysis (RCA) sessions. There was no common structure or format for RCA, creating confusion about the nature of the problem and the objectives.


Kepner-Tregoe (KT) worked with GTO and the Problem Management team to design and implement a program to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of Problem Management. Using Value Stream Mapping, KT and the Problem Management team identified bottlenecks in the initial investigation and corrective action phase that were consuming valuable time. The program initially focused on increasing the efficiency of the Problem Management process by using a LEAN approach to remove waste, reduce redundancy and add automation to the process. A Problem Analyst support role was created to manage the many support functions previously completed by Problem Managers.

Service requests now pass from one engineer to another with maximum efficiency, and the engineers have a systematic process to crack even the toughest problems. —Customer Support Leader, IT

The final part of the transformation tackled the quality of problem investigations by introducing KT Clear Thinking processes for investigating problems. The structured KT approach provided consistency to GTO and its customers as well as clarity in setting objectives and performing root cause analysis. A key part of improving problem investigations was the creation of a plug-in for ServiceNow which codified the KT processes within the ServiceNow Problem Management support tool.

We have been able to solve customer problems in half the time where we’ve engaged and used the KT process. —Global Program Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt, Hardware/Software Computer Company

My backlog has been reduced over 65%. I can spend more time on other customer issues. — Customer Support Engineer


The transformation program reduced the number of incoming incidents by 60% in year one, and by 55% the next year. It also won the Pink Elephant ITIL Project of the Year award in 2011.

Problem Managers were now aligned to specific business lines, giving them broader understanding of the technology and applications. GTO improved its overall governance of the Problem Management process; focusing on quality, delays and consistency, and the Problem Managers, now trained in Kepner-Tregoe Problem Management, had a foundation for consistent, evidence-based problem analysis.


  • 40% reduction in the average time to complete problems
  • 39% improvement in overall productivity of problem managers
  • 55% reduction in the average length of a problem record
  • 59% reduction in total backlog of past-due tasks

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