RT-Users Digest, Vol 38, Issue 3

"If, for the sake of argument, Best Practical were to rewrite RT, what
would you want to see in the new product?

Think big."


I think I’d start by not looking at the system as a simple ticketing or help
desk system. What it really could become (and is close in a lot of ways
already) is a generalized IT Management System (excluding for the moment
financial concerns). I saw asset-tracking come up: great, but also project
management elements, and development management efforts would be great to
see too (did I mention multi-company support for my consulting company
friends?)… if not all in RT 4, at least in a roadmap and strategic
direction. I believe RT is really strong contender for this sort of
management system because it has enough of the core elements that various
functional expansions could take it in a lot of interesting ways.

At our company (a retail company) we use it for our help desk, but also to
track our development activities (though they are minor) using the
Subversion integration, custom fields and some ‘duct tape’ code to automate
some processes. We have tried to use it to schedule tasks for more
complicated projects and we’ve come close, but not quite made it work. We
also run into some issues when our development work gets more
sophisticated… which makes sense we’re turning what is now a help desk
system (basically) into this more generalized sort of thing.

The reason I believe RT has the potential I think it does is 1) IT tends to
be task/request driven. Requests come in and they may be for a new piece of
hardware or reporting a bug with an application… both start with
’requests’ typically, though their life cycles are quite a bit different.
The other possibility is projects; but those, too, tend to get devolved into
specific tasks, assigned to specific people, which look a lot like ad hoc
user requests with status reporting, time tracking, etc. RT has a good
existing ‘responsibilities’ management process in its queuing support and
also has good communication capabilities due to its email and 'people’
association capabilities. So I already have division of labor and some
efficiencies in communication at the core. If you start to extend this so
that requests have ‘natures’ (understanding that one can turn into another)
that can guide lifecycle (or should I say workflow) rules you start to
provide a tool that can more deeply manage IT activities. A request nature
might be support that later becomes development such that I can assign
development attributes and processes to them… or spawn other 'requests’
more readily to facilitate that part of my IT organization. Maybe it
becomes a request for a WAN project that has hardware orders, IP address
allocations, etc. and the associated requests become such that appropriate
attributes and workflows get assigned to those. The custom field system
gets you close to a lot of these, but a more ‘out-of-box’ way assigning
functional value and data validation is needed.

I know a lot of what I’m talking about is vague, pie in the sky kind of
stuff, but once you premise yourself towards thinking in this way: not how
to manage a specific IT function but how to manage an IT organization, I
think you start laying the groundwork for making RT something it very likely
can become: a full fledged IT management application. You also set the
stage for those new ideas to come forward.

Steven C. Buttgereit
Director of IT, Enterprise Applications Group
Party America-----Original Message-----
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Subject: RT-Users Digest, Vol 38, Issue 3
Message: 3
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 13:54:43 -0400
From: Jesse Vincent jesse@bestpractical.com
Subject: [rt-users] RT 4
To: RT Users rt-users@lists.bestpractical.com
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If, for the sake of argument, Best Practical were to rewrite RT, what
would you want to see in the new product?

Think big.