Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and does not reflect the views of, nor represent an endorsement by, my employer.
We use Jira in Special Collections to manage all of our tasks, including reference requests, web development, and collection processing. Our digitization unit also uses it to manage their workflows. For reference requests, we just use a simple contact form, which you can see here: https://specialcollections.nal.usda.gov/contact-us
That prevents researchers from having to learn how to use an issue tracker.
(please excuse our very ancient Drupal website)
We do of course also get a lot of requests (reference and otherwise) directly emailed to us. For those, we forward them to Jira and CC the person that should be assigned the task. We're only using a single project for everything right now, but if you have more than one, you can differentiate this by using a single gmail account and adding +sometag to the username portion address. I didn't interact with Atlassian during the 7-day demo, but they've always been quick to respond to problems and questions now that we're using it for real.
We've also been able to use Jira to automate parts of our monthly reports that we used to track manually, like items cataloged, time spent on/collections used for reference requests, and collections maintenance tasks. Using Ruby and the Jira API, I can pull all of that into an Excel spreadsheet or TSV file (I'm hoping to share the code for this soon).
The major downsides of Jira are the complexity and price. And I don't recommend self-hosting or you'll add a lot of administrative burden.
Before settling on Jira, we also evaluated both Redmine (which had previously been used by our IT department) and EasyRedmine. I don't think vanilla Redmine is terribly user friendly, but I liked EasyRedmine a lot. In the end it just wasn't quite customizable enough for us, though. If you don't need to do a lot of customization, I'd definitely recommend it (personally). The staff were also helpful/engaging during the 14-day demo period.
Our helpdesk uses RT, but it's suuuuuper barebones, at least from what I can see.
For general note-keeping and organizing of procedures (including how to use Jira :), we use a shared OneNote notebook. This is partly because I'm a OneNote-pusher and partly because it's already part of the standard workstation image.
Date: Wed, 11 May 2016 07:48:23 +0000
From: Ben Companjen <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Back-of-house software
First thought (or what should have been my first thought): what problem(s) are you trying to solve?
I sometime wish I had software that is better geared for service management (including incident management, CRM and documentation), but in our small organisation with three main services it has already been helpful to structure the information differently and get it together in well-known places. For the Dataverse service that I'm managing we use Google Drive/Docs, ownCloud and JIRA.
Incident and service request management is the most important process/business function that I think would benefit from software support. Emails, tasks and notes in various places aren't enough anymore to keep track of problems and questions. JIRA helps a little, but not all requests relate to software problems and I don't want to use it for every simple-to-answer question.
Have you asked your institution's IT service desk for suggestions? They might be able to support when you choose the same software. Our IT uses RT and seems happy with it. I'm hoping to get a queue for Dataverse-related requests in their system.
Hope this helps.
This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.