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The help desk life cycle, AKA Incident Management, is the process that you define during your ITIL® Incident Management Process. The Help Desk Ticket Life Cycle is important because by defining it you can:

  • service your customers,help desk service funnel vs help desk pipeline
  • plan your resources,
  • define your acceptable backlog and
  • set the stage for customer and staff expectations.

You need to plan your Help Desk Ticket Life Cycle. A good way of visualizing the process is to use a funnel.

  1. Service requests come in the top of the funnel.
  2. Actions deliver the services.
  3. Completed requests come out the bottom.

As you plan your funnel, you will try to achieve an ideal where all service requests are handled immediately thus turning your funnel into a straight through pipe failing when you realize that to service all requests in this fashion requires too many people, resources, and money.

The funnel starts to constrict at resources and processes.

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As you design your funnel, allow for backlogs. Define the backlogs in your ITIL® Strategy and determine acceptable values for the backlog of issues based on issue type. You may arrive at the following conclusions for a type. You have mission critical requests and non-mission critical issues.

Mission Critical Requests, levels one through three. A mission-critical request with a level of importance of one would be the most important issue. Backlogs are as follows:

  1. One: no backlog acceptable
  2. Two: 1 hour backlog
  3. Three: 4 hour backlog

Non-Critical Requests, levels one through three to signify levels of importance. A non-critical request with a level of importance of three would be the least important issue.

  1. One: One day backlog
  2. Two: One week backlog
  3. Three: Semi-permanent backlog state

The Service Process

The complications that you build into your Help Desk Life Cycle will slow it down. This is OK but must still allow the process to function in the worst-case scenario. If the Help Desk Life Cycle breaks when it is needed the most then it must be re-engineered until it works. The minimum amount of process should be in place and result in quick and efficient service to customers with a minimum of resources. See how this can be accomplished with TeamHeadquarters.

This is the delicate balance between service, cost and resources. If cost is no issue, then your organization can build a service pipeline. If cost is an issue, then your organization can build a service funnel.

John McDonald is a veteran in ERP Deployment projects with over 20 years experience in ERP and Project Management. Follow @entrysoftware on Twitter. John has published the free eBook, The Basics of ITIL® Help Desk for SMB’s.

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