Recently, a friend of mine told me about his story in his company which provides technical support (IT) to the clients (mostly big companies). He was feeling quite frustrated and displeased with his fellow co-workers. In case you don’t know, the IT support industry works like this – a client which you are supporting is complaining about a bug or performance issue with one of the module in the payroll application. So, a representative from the client will launch a “ticket” to helpdesk and the helpdesk will be the one handling the “ticket“. For every ticket, there’s a deadline. The more serious/severe the issue is, the shorter the deadline will be. The deadline thingy will then lead to something called SLA or Service Level Agreement which is the agreed upon level of service (must deliver so and so within so and so time) between the client and the company during the support agreement sign off.

I might be wrong, but that’s what I could understand from my previous experience as a technical support guy.

What happens here is, for every ticket accepted by someone, there will be a chargeable time (the amount of time allocated for you to work on it). As usual, it is human being who assigns these “chargeable time” allocations. There is a possibility that a ticket which needs 10 minutes to finish can get a chargeable time of 3 days whereas a ticket which is so difficult that it needs 7 man days to finish, is allocated only 3 days. You see the problem? Nope, this is not the problem.

The problem happens when you have some selfish individuals in your team. My friend’s scenario is like this – 2 tickets come in. 1 ticket is a simple routine job which has a chargeable time of 2 man days whereas the other is a new issue which has a slightly longer chargeable time of 3 man days. Fact is, nobody has done ticket B before… So my friend was so lucky to get ticket B and ticket A has been assigned to another person. Ticket A, as expected, finished within the 2 days period (can actually finish in 1 day…but the person somehow dragged to 2 days). Ticket B, however, took more than 7 days to finish because nobody knows how to fix it. My friend became nervous due to the SLA, and informed the team leader. The team leader reassigned the ticket to another person who immediately responded by saying “This is a SHIT ticket, why give it to me?

Now, you see the problem. Who cares whether it is a SHIT ticket or not? It is a ticket no matter what and it is the team’s responsibility to fix it. It’s true that my friend failed to deliver the ticket, and he should be penalized for it but it is a completely new issue and nobody even cares to help. So-called teamwork huh?

What about the attitude when the person has been assigned the “Shit” ticket? His reaction is pure irresponsible. SLA will affect the team, and perhaps the entire company’s reputation. No matter how “shit” is the ticket, someone has to do it or the SLA will not be achieved. When that doesn’t happen, the team can bid farewell to their “bonus“.

I feel that sometimes, people just don’t see the big picture. True, we need to protect ourselves. We need to know what we want to learn and where we should be heading in our career path. However, if you are working in a team where the performance reflects the attitude and commitment of every single team member………then perhaps, you should really work as a team and not blaming people for assigning you with something you don’t like to do.

I’m just venting my frustration here. I somehow pity my friend who worked very long hours just to get the ticket fixed. He has no more chargeable time left…so why should he commit so much of his time? One word – Responsibility.

Hope it helps.

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