What’s a Good Workflow/Request Tool?

by Bob Plankers on June 13, 2008 · 12 comments

in LazyWeb,System Administration

Dear readers,

You folks are full of good ideas, so here’s my latest question. I’m rethinking workflow for my group of 20+ admins, so the customers we interact with have a nice single point of contact and the admins have a good idea of what’s in the queue for work. I’m looking for tools to help us. How we’ve lived this long without something to help us is a real wonder.

The tool needs to be able to accept email and web-based requests. It would be nice if it could have some logic in it so that the customer could help direct who gets the request by choosing the OS and (perceived) priority. It should be fairly lightweight overall. I don’t want to have to slog through a ton of pages to close a ticket, or spend longer on the administrivia than the request took to complete.

There’s the venerable RT. What else is out there that’s cool, easy to use and run, and helps more than it hurts?

:-)

{ 11 comments }

Ben June 13, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Have you seen the Mantis bug tracking system? Natively it’s geared toward software defect tracking, but my company has turned it in to a phenomenal workflow/ticketing system. See:

http://www.mantisbt.org/

Jon Martin June 13, 2008 at 2:29 PM

I have been using Spiceworks for request racking. It currently does not have the workflow you are requesting but it is low overhead, web and email enabled and free. How extensible the app is to be able to easily write workflow in I do not know but I thought i would put my two cents in. I will say that the feature requests have been taken into consideration with every new iteration. There is a 3.0 version coming out with some helpful new additions. Thanks for your blog. Enjoy reading it.

Dan C June 13, 2008 at 5:41 PM

I’m quite a fan of Trac for internal ticketing and documentation. Largely because it is so lightweight and incredibly easy to use that there’s no excuse not to log all workflow.

You can bolt in ticket creation by email. However it may not be quite so client facing friendly – which causes us to begrudginly maintain a seperate, much larger, Java based ticketing system elsewhere.

Jake June 13, 2008 at 6:15 PM

Second vote for Trac. Currently we are trying beat RT into ITIL compliance :-(..Not fun for anyone.

bob June 16, 2008 at 7:22 AM

even though ive tried several others i still think RT is the best choice. Its not as painful as it used to be.

josh42042 June 21, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Kayako – i love it

Brian K. Jones June 23, 2008 at 8:04 PM

I’ve used RT since 2001, when it was somewhat painful. In more recent years (2005 and on) the changes in new RT versions became more dramatic. RT is much faster, even with large numbers of tickets, and the features that were always there are a little less hidden. I still think someone could rewrite RT in PHP or Python and make it a whole lot easier for others to extend, but it does the job better than anything else I’ve found.

I’ve also used Trac, and my brain just seems to refuse to wrap itself around it. I’ve seen Trac implemented in a whole lot of different ways, but it seems like it really wants to enforce its own will upon you. I just don’t find the way it handles presentation to be intuitive in the least, whether it’s for ticket tracking, milestones, tickets, or even a simple wiki. My $.02. I know thousands of others who love it, I’m just not one of them yet.

Good luck in your search.

Greg July 7, 2008 at 2:09 PM

We’ve been using Numara Trackit! for a few years. It does everything you described in the Enterprise version. Not too bad of a system if you ask me. That being said, I’ve had my fair share of technical issues with it. Mostly revolving around a flaky host OS.

Stephen July 10, 2008 at 11:22 PM

Try http://www.fogcreek.com/FogBugz/. We use it internally for our help desk.

Bytevic July 19, 2008 at 6:54 PM

I’ve used, GLPI, is a great Ticketing System, and inventory system, the features of customize roles are simple and powerful.

Deaddy February 10, 2011 at 3:03 PM

I’m a great fan of Redmine and Trac. I used Trac for the same stuff at one of my jobs and I really liked the simple setup. However, we were a rather small Team (~8 people who did support, mostly Windowsclients and some unix servers).
However, now that I’m in a somewhat larger environment, I really prefer Redmine over Trac. Trac only supports single projects and you have to make a new instance for every new project. I don’t know how hard it is to use one userbase for both, however, Redmine natively supports LDAP, so I can setup one Redmine installation, that serveres different projects and authenticates the Users via our domain server. It also looks much better than Trac, which is in my opinion a huge plus when you’re facing costumers.
In regard to Mantis, Redmine iirc started out as a fork and it supports different workflows for every project. However we came to the conclusion, that the workflow isn’t that important, especially since the configuration of Mantis is really complicated, at least for the newbie I am.
So I really recommend Redmine. It’s easy to edit tickets, looks neat and administering it is also a pleasure.

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