One of the most important things for individuals and teams is to choose tools that enable them to work more effectively. Yet many teams jump right into using a project management tool without thinking about the best way to organize their work.
Soon after, they find themselves overwhelmed with work and constantly getting urgent requests to put out fires. The problem isn’t that people don’t want to do the right work - it’s that many teams are actually using the wrong tool. Project management is not a one size fits all solution, and in many cases it’s the wrong tool for the job.
For teams to figure out if they should be using a project management tool, they need to ask this important and deceptively simple question about their work to determine if it’s completion-driven work:
“Does every item of work being requested have to be completed?”
For example - an IT team needs to fix every broken laptop, a legal team needs to make sure every contract is reviewed, and a sales ops / finance team needs to make sure each discount is approved. In contrast, an engineering team will always have a backlog and won’t ever finish all of their work.
If there is any portion of your work where every single piece of work that is requested needs to be completed, that work should not be tracked in a project management tool. How should the work be tracked then? Spoiler alert, a ticketing system is actually the best tool for the job.
Over the last decade there has been an enormous proliferation of freemium project management tools such as Trello and Asana. As a result, most teams across organizations use project management tools to organize their work and try to be productive. Project management tools are great for priority-driven work, organizing tasks to focus on the important ones and purposefully never finish others. Engineering teams have developed complex methodologies such as Agile and Scrum to ensure they are getting the most out of project management tools and prioritizing the work in their backlog.
However, a large number of teams using project management tools have made a fundamental mistake. They’ve chosen a type of tool and therefore a work management style that doesn’t align with the goals of their team. Project management tools don’t work well for completion-driven work. Work that has to get done gets lost, and the team falls back on prioritizing based on who is screaming at them the loudest - the worst case scenario for an organization.
Instead, completion-driven work should be tracked in a ticketing system. A modern ticketing system will provide an order of magnitude better system of accountability, reporting, and user experience. Managers can track response times, resolution times, and SLAs on work that needs to be completed for the organization to move forward. The team can prioritize work based on these metrics instead of the loudest voice in the room.
Ticketing systems have historically been focused on support teams, either customer support or IT support. However, as more organizations around the world have adopted software to improve how they collaborate, ticketing systems have evolved to become more flexible and affordable for teams across the organization. The move towards messaging in the workplace, combined with message-based ticketing systems, has made it easier than ever for anyone in an organization to interact with a ticketing system.
A ticketing system is simply a better tool than a project management system for teams in Security, DevOps, Sales Operations, Finance, Legal, and many other operations teams at today’s technology companies that may not be currently using a ticketing system.
In order to understand this, it’s important to understand the core work management philosophy behind project management tools vs. ticketing systems.
Forward-thinking organizations are already managing the majority of their completion-driven work with modern ticketing systems. They’re seeing improvements in team performance, company efficiency, and employee engagement.
Over the next few years, we will see this shift continue to accelerate as more companies move their workplace communication to messaging and their team collaboration to message-based ticketing.
Hopefully this has given you a new perspective on how your team manages work. If you’d like to try out a modern ticketing system, start a free trial of Halp today.
Initially, as a team just starting to put support processes in place, sorting and managing service requests was quick and easy. A short message was all the Support team needed to process a change request or set up the company Google calendar for an employee. But as the company grows and more people come on board, you soon find yourself working through piles of tickets, sifting through company inboxes, and pinging your Support team so they can follow up on those 3-day-old issues.