Sense and purpose of a ticket system
A ticket system is a software tool designed to simplify and make the collaboration of multiple stakeholders more efficient. Support requests, new features but also bugs as well as recurring maintenance tasks can be recorded, processed and documented in a central place. In addition, the responsibility and accountability as well as the current status of a task can be reliably read from the system at any time.
What systems exists?
There are a number of different free and commercial ticket systems on the market. Some of these are tailored to specific use cases and areas of expertise. In software development, the top dog is the very powerful, complex and not entirely inexpensive Jira system from Atlassian. Much simpler is the also commercial system Trello, which is strongly oriented towards Kanban and offers a good start due to its visual representation. Especially for frontend bug tracking, the system Bugherd is recommended. However, most commercial systems are now only available as a cloud service.
Those looking for an on-premise solution are better off with the free open source alternatives. At F7, we use the Ruby-based system Redmine. It can be customized through a whole range of plugins (RedmineUp) and usefully extended for agile working.
Basic principle ticket
Even if the systems differ in detail, in the end they work according to the same basic principle: A task is created as a ticket by a user (author) and handed over to a person (editor) or a team for processing. A task can be fpr example a bug, a feature or a support request.
The goal is to support efficient and effective collaborative work. In order for this to succeed, standardized form fields must be filled out conscientiously and completely by the ticket creator (author). These fields represent questions that serve to collect all relevant information for the successful completion of the task in the ticket. Specifically, these are:
- Ticket Title: Short and on point - What is it about?
- Ticket type: What kind of task is it?
- Priority: How important is the quick solution of the task?
- Description: What is it about in detail? What are the exact requirements? Which constraints have to be considered?
- Status: In which workflow status is the ticket currently?
- Assignment: Who is currently responsible for processing the ticket?
- Due date: When should the ticket be finished?
Especially when introducing a ticket system, it is often difficult to find the right amount of information and thus the right balance - but this settles down. Three basic rules may help here:
- As is so often the case: As much as necessary, as little as possible!
- One ticket, one task. The scope of the ticket must be kept small enough to avoid a series of independent subtasks.
- New requirement, new ticket! That means when the requirements of the ticket are fulfilled, the ticket is closed. New requirements are not added to old tickets. If it makes sense, dependencies can be defined by links between tickets.
The different ticket systems differ mainly in the way tickets are grouped and organized. Usually, there are superordinate projects in which tickets are grouped. Tags and categories can also be used for grouping. In addition, dependencies can be established between different tickets (e.g. ticket A blocks ticket B or ticket A must be resolved before ticket B may be processed). This is also helpful for tracking developments.
In terms of clarity, the systems also differ greatly due to different display options. Common is the listing by assignment to a person or group or the graphical representation by due date on a Gantt chart. On a Kanban board, tickets can be organized according to processing status and priority; grouping and displaying tickets according to sprints facilitates agile work.
In addition, modern systems offer individually configurable dashboards and themes that allow users to compile their own individual view of the project status.
Many systems allow ticket workflows to be defined. Workflows are standardized specifications on how to process a specific ticket type. In particular, they define how a ticket is allowed to change status. This is a very good way to ensure that agreed processes and quality standards are adhered to.
A ticket system represents potential for optimizing project work that should not be underestimated. It is important to establish clear rules for handling tickets and to consistently demand compliance. Defining standards and workflows helps to keep the quality of tickets high. This is extremely important because a poorly maintained ticket system is counterproductive and demotivating. If information in the system is not reliable, the whole system is doomed to fail and is just additional ballast.
A well-organized ticket system with conscientiously created tickets, on the other hand, raises project work to a whole new level in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and transparency, even for small teams and projects.
Not convinced yet? 10 reasons why a ticket system is better than e-mail's!