I get really annoyed when someone says to me “Oh, it’s okay, I’ll just email that to you so you won’t forget”.
I will forget. Because along with your emails, I get hundreds of others – from multiple monitoring systems, certificate renewals, server notifications, updates that are available, from systems available for testing, people telling me they’re away sick, people telling me they’re not available for meetings, people telling me there’s a car park available, internal communications from HR, calendar invites…the list goes on. So while your extremely important job may be extremely important, your email will most likely get lost in the sea of emails I received every day only to be spotted about 3 days after you actually needed it done.
That’s not to say I don’t check my email regularly or filter it logically (another blog post in the making just on that subject alone!), but I base my work time off my ticket queue – not my email.
If your job hasn’t made it into my ticket queue, then it’s relegated to be completed once I’ve finished the work that’s been submitted correctly, by people who have provided all relevant information, given a priority and a deadline to the job and it is sitting in my queue waiting for me to complete.
Ticket queues, for IT staff, are a fantastic way of being able to organise your work – from small groups, where I first started working, in a team of 6; to large groups, where I am now, where around 100+ staff all use the same ticket system to pass jobs to each other.
While I understand the need to email someone regarding a job (and I know I’ve done it before!) it helps if you use the system provided, simply so that you ensure that all the information that is required is given – otherwise it just involves a lot of back and forth, which can be extremely time consuming.
Part of the issue, I feel, is that some IT areas start as a “one man shop”. then, when it grows and you get more staff, there isn’t anything in place to support the extra staff load – and everyone is still emailing that “one man” (or woman!) to get things done because that’s the way they’ve always done it.
Seriously, if you’re in IT, even if you are that one man or woman, get yourself a ticket queue. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, it doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles. I was using RT (http://www.bestpractical.com/rt/) for a very, very, very long time. I’m sure my old work still uses it (and to be honest, I do miss some of it’s functionality…). I’ve used Jira. I’ve used HP OpenView. They’re all good systems that support ticketing and enable you to schedule your work and *share* your work.
I think that’s what I’ll end on – to be able to show what you’ve been working on, to be able to show how much time you’ve spent on certain tasks, to provide a chain of communications that shows every time you’ve told that client to restart their machine – there is nothing better than having a ticket system.