Introduction to Software Incident Management
Software Incident Management can be defined as a process of handling the incidents through the different lifecycle stages. The main element of this management process if an Incident, which is nothing but a discrepancy observed by the user, and informed to the concerned team/ individual for resolving the same, within a fixed time period. This process can be prompted by anyone in a workstream such as a user, the customer, the end-user, a technical team member, and sometimes even by the suppliers. An incident is often mistaken to a Service Request, where Service Request goes through Request Fulfilment and an Incident is handled using the Incident Management lifecycle.
How does Incident Management work in Software?
A typical Software Incident Management begins from a person or a team who uses the software and finds misbehavior in the software system. Sometimes, there can be issues observed in the legacy systems or even the third party systems which are integrated with the main software unit. Any and all related issues concerning the successful functioning of the software system can be categorized as an Incident. The users of the software will have access to raise the incident, usually using a software incident management tool.
These incidents are then directed to the person/ team who created the functionality if it is an ongoing development process. If the software is up and running, then the incidents are assigned to the team who are maintaining the software to be run without any glitch. All the incidents that are created go through a definite set of management lifecycle stages, in order to be addressed and resolved. Like any other management process, the Incident Management process also consists of multiple lifecycle stages, which are essentially imperative for a flawless incident processing flow, so as to ensure the quality of the software product.
Software Incident Management lifecycle
Software Incident Management Lifecycle is carried out in eight different stages of processing flow, which can have different names depending on the tool used for the Incident Management procedure. In the latest, technologically progressive, incident management tools, it is made easier by combining one or two stages, and by automating a few functionalities like the incident assignment to the team or for assigning the priorities.
The below are the common Incident Management Lifecycle stages,
- Defining the Tasks
- Time Limit/ Escalation
When a user finds a malfunction on a software product and/ or the integrated systems connected to the said software, an incident can be created by the user. The user can be from the internal team, the maintenance coordinator, the end-user, the client, or even the vendor. These incidents are kept in check, so as to know where and how to resolve if at all the same issue is identified in the future point of time. Traditionally, one has to log in to the Incident management tool to create an incident for the concerned software professional teams. Whereas, the evolving technological world has provided much simpler ways to create the incidents, such as via a phone call, an email, an SMS, a chatbot or using the query forms on the web page dedicated to the software in the form of a single sign-on or a self -service portal.
The successfully created Incidents are then categorized based on the issue type, which is then sent down for sub –categorizing for the respective area of technical expertise. A few examples for various categories an incident can fall on to are insufficient CPU memory, an IC chip failure, network connectivity failure, time lapse, screen inactive, window responsiveness, database connectivity failure, etc.
An Incident’s Priority can be assigned with respect to the functional consequences the failure can cause, the urgency for the incident to be resolved, the number of dependent systems, etc. It is attained by evaluating the properties of the incident against the priority matrix. The below are the commonly used levels for prioritizing an incident,
Based on the category and the priority set for an incident, the next step to assign the incident for a person or a team is carried out. The assigned person or team will hold the full responsibility from here on out until the incident is resolved during the incident management process.
5. Task Definition
Task Definition is created by the person to whom the incident is assigned, and it consists of the steps & various activities to be carried out for resolving the incident effectively. In this stage, the tasks can be made up of one or more activities, where a simple resolution might require only one activity and a complex issue can naturally have more than one activity.
6. Time Limit/ Escalation
After the assignment and task definition, the assigned person is responsible for defining a specific service level agreement or an SLA, which will indicate the time limit fixed for reaching a resolution for the incident. If the incident is not meeting the time limit or the SLA, an escalation is processed from here. Escalation can be defined as a process of taking matters to the next level either technically or hierarchically through the management tree.
The next stage in the incident management process flow is to attain the resolution for the issue logged as an incident. It can be resolved within the defined SLA by following the task, by the assigned person or team. If it is not resolved within the SLA, then it is escalated and passed through the appropriate alternate path. One can say that an incident is resolved when the issue is no longer seen in the software application, which can be a result of fixing the issue or the incident being obsolete.
Once the resolution is complete, the issue is re-checked or retested, after which the incident can be closed.
Software Incident Management is a process used for recording the different divergence detected on the complete module or complete software. It can also be defined as a technique to manage the unexpected disruption happening in the software application, which in turn can affect the critical functionality leading to affect the quality of a software product.
This is a guide to Software Incident Management. Here we discuss an introduction to Software Incident Management, how does it work along with lifecycle. You can also go through our other related articles to learn more –