One challenge faced by every MSP is ensuring that service and project tickets are started, worked, and completed in a reasonable amount of time. Some MSPs have mastered this; others not so much. It’s common for MSPs to have a lot of neglected tickets- tickets that haven’t had any recent activity despite being ready to work.

Here are the three biggest problems that lead to neglected work.

1. Lack of visibility into which tickets are neglected

If you can’t easily see which tickets are neglected, you can’t focus your attention on them to move them forward again. PSA software such as ConnectWise and Autotask are bad at this- they make it difficult to see which tickets have recent activity and which tickets don’t.

2. Lack of process for dealing with neglected tickets

If you don’t have a process for dealing with neglected work, you’re not going to be able to fix it, even if you do have visibility into which tickets are neglected (see problem #1).

An MSP needs two processes for dealing with neglected work:

  1. Clear expectations for how technicians identify and handle their own neglected work. For example, technicians could be trained to check for and address neglected work first thing every morning, before starting new tickets.
  2. A regular method for the service manager to identify neglected tickets that are either unassigned or have been missed by the assigned technician. The service manager can assign the ticket, re-assign it to a new technician, or make a plan with the technician about how he or she will deal with the neglected ticket.

3. The team has too much work in progress

Having too much work in progress is a major root cause of neglected work. It can even affect MSPs that do have visibility into neglected work (see problem #1) and have processes in place to deal with it (see problem #2).

As an example, consider a team where each technician has only 1 or 2 tickets in progress at any time. Techs have a habit of finishing a ticket before starting a new one. In a team like this, tickets never become neglected because the amount of work is always manageable.

In contrast, think of a team where each member has 15 tickets in progress. It’s impossible to juggle 15 tickets at once, so inevitably some of them will not be touched by the technician for a long period of time.

The most effective way to avoid having too much work in progress is to encourage two practices:

  • Avoid pushing work to technicians- for example, by a dispatcher assigning work to be done at a specific block of time in the day. Instead, allow technicians to pull work from a queue of prioritized tickets when they are ready.
  • Encourage technicians to focus on finishing work that’s already been started. Set expectations for the maximum number of in-progress tickets and provide visibility into the current number for each technician.

Is Neglected Work Killing Your MSP?

You don't have to sit around watching tickets become stale. Take back control using the techniques in the No More Neglect whitepaper. We teach how to define neglect thresholds, use built-in ConnectWise or Autotask tools to identify the tickets that violate those thresholds, how to track useful metrics, and how to incorporate the reporting into your workflows so you can eliminate neglected work once and for all.