How to get people to log tickets

By ITIL® from Experience©

A common challenge is to get technical people to log tickets in the ITSM tool. There are plenty of excuses for not logging incidents, service requests, problems or Request For Change (RFCs).1

Of course, for ITIL® certified people and the ITSM Tool implementation project, this is an aberration! A corner stone of ITIL® and IT Service Management (ITSM) is that every event is logged. Logging tickets means that they can be tracked, managed and reported on to enable continuous process improvement. But these arguments are lost on people who do not want to log tickets.

To help people log tickets, the following should be in place. It will ensure that expectations are well understood and enable people to align their behavior accordingly.

  1. Process documentation
  2. Training
  3. User support
  4. Process to report issues
  5. Managers must use the tool
  6. Performance objective

Process Documentation
First, it is imperative that a written process be easily accessible to all. Without it people cannot be faulted for not following it. Unfortunately, many process documents are simply guidelines and do not include work instructions. Step-by-step instructions must be provided. (see What level of details to include in a procedure). If proper instructions are not available many people will not meet expectations since they don't know how.

There is a common belief that because the ITSM tool is easy to learn, training is not required. Do not be fooled by tool vendors' claims that their tool is so easy to use that training is not required. Effective training is not only about technology; it explains why and how to use the tool to perform the process (see Do people need training if the ITSM tool is easy to learn). Training is also an effective method to communicate expectations and to impart skills to meet them. However, simply providing training is not enough.

User Support
People that attend training and willingly embrace change may not consistently log tickets. They may forget how to do it or stop logging tickets if they face an unclear situation. Thus, like any office productivity tool, people should be able to call the Service Desk for assistance. In addition, an escalation process should be in place so that the Process Owner2 can address process ambiguities (e.g. exceptions, ambiguity discovered during operations).

Process to Report Issues
A procedure to report issues should be in place and communicated to users. Then a process should: triage, prioritize, assign resources to integrate the change in the process documents and tool(s) as well as to communicate the change to users. One of the most efficient method to communicate how users can report issues or enhancements is during the training (see How to track issues and enhancements users have with the ITSM tool once it goes live). In addition, each process document should have a "Getting Help" section.

Managers Must Use the Tool
When Managers consistently re-iterate that logging tickets is important people have a compass and direction for their actions. It is critical that managers use the tool (i.e. walk the talk). At minimum, they should use it to get the status of tickets. They should also consistently ask people "what is the ticket number for this?" (see What does it mean to have CIO and management support). Consequently, managers need to attend the training.

Performance Objective
Every staff including managers should have an annual performance objective stating that they must use the tool. More specifically, managers must incorporate the tool in their daily management practice (e.g. HR, Operations), like using the tool to monitor workload. The tool should also be used during team meetings to review and prioritize tickets (see How to ensure that incidents and service requests are closed quickly when there is no SLA).

Finally, when people refuse to log tickets after being provided all of the above, then management may need to take disciplinary actions and involve Human Resources. All this takes effort. However, it is a small cost compared to the cost of failure.

Published on: 2016-10-02
Last updated on: 2017-03-06

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1. Examples of common reasons not to log:
  • I am too busy to log
  • If I take the time to log the incident I'm not working on its resolution
  • Do you really want me to spend my time to log when the Service Desk could be doing it?
  • It takes me more time to log than to fix it the issue, that's a waste of time
  • If I am stopped in the hallway to go and fix something, do you really expect me to go back to my desk to log it first then go back to see the user (See What is another term for User)
  • Why do you need to know what I'm working on, don't you trust me to be doing a good job?
  • This ITSM tool is too complicated...
  • I forgot how to do it
  • I was in a rush. I was going to do it later but I forgot.
2. Process Owner: The person who is held accountable for ensuring that a process is fit for purpose. The process owner’s responsibilities include sponsorship, design, change management and continual improvement of the process and its metrics. This role can be assigned to the same person who carries out the process manager role, but the two roles may be separate in larger organizations. Source: https://www.axelos.com/Corporate/media/Files/Glossaries/ITIL_2011_Glossary_GB-v1-0.pdf


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