Trouble ticketing systems and the future

August 25, 2011

Here's a theory about trouble ticketing systems: they should allow you to submit tickets that are dated in the future, or that only become active in the future.

Here's why. First, it's not uncommon to know now that you need to do something in the future (and further that you cannot do it now). Second, in many environments your trouble ticketing system is supposed to be your authoritative and official repository of known work; if something is to be done, you're supposed to put it in the TT system so that it can be tracked, monitored, and so on.

Now, you can certainly deal with known future events by using your calendar system to leave yourself a note that you need to make a trouble ticket next Tuesday. If that sounds silly when I put it like that, well, yes, it is. It's a workaround, and it also means that your TT system is no longer the complete repository of known work; some of it is floating around in people's calendars instead.

The corollary is that you can't really fix this by providing a tool that automatically submits tickets for people (and then driving it out of your calendar system). This only avoids the absurdity of manually copying information around from calendar to ticketing system; it doesn't make these future tickets actually visible in advance in the ticketing system if you want (or need) to see them.

The reverse corollary is that putting everything into the TT system and manually marking things that can only be acted on in the future is also the wrong approach (although it may be better than calendars in your situation), because it generally clutters up everyone's view with things that, well, they can't act on right now. Most of the time you only care about what you're going to do next Tuesday on next Tuesday, not before.

(Disclaimer: we don't use a trouble ticketing system here for various reasons, so I don't know if good ones already can do this. I polled some people I know and none of them had TT systems that really supported it.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2011-08-25 02:19:27:

In our environment, especially certificate renewal comes to mind. It can be done using calendar, but in TT, there could be status information - pending, finished, who did it and when..

From at 2011-08-25 13:55:51:

You can do this with RT by assigning a Start Date.

Why don't you use a TT system?

By cks at 2011-08-26 16:12:04:

Why we don't use a TT system got sufficiently long that I put it in an entry, WhyNotTTSystem.

Written on 25 August 2011.
« Why we have a problem with Oracle's Solaris support pricing
The problem for WSGI middleware »

Page tools: View Source, View Normal, Add Comment.
Login: Password:
Atom Syndication: Recent Comments.

Last modified: Thu Aug 25 00:59:36 2011
This dinky wiki is brought to you by the Insane Hackers Guild, Python sub-branch.