Marketing teams: Get a handle on your unplanned work with Jira Service Desk
There are hardly any teams in collaborative organizations that do not provide some kind of service to others inside the company. The obvious example is the help desk, but HR, legal, and even marketing teams respond to requests from colleagues and need to respond in some way. Let’s take the example of a marketing team. Most marketing teams receive requests for business cards, company t-shirts, brochures, a copy of the latest company presentation template. Other requests arrive as ideas or suggested changes to the website or to report problems with the website. The list goes on until the marketing team feels like they spend most of their time on reacting to this unplanned work, instead of working on their planned work.
Most teams trod along like this, handling these requests as direct emails to individuals on the team or through chat messages or perhaps there is an team email inbox (email@example.com). This is usually not a problem for small teams who can just respond to emails or chat messages, but there comes a time when requests volumes grows to unmanageable levels. When this happens, requests go unanswered, and your team develops a reputation for being unresponsive. That is not a good place to be.
It is at this point when a team needs some process and a tool to help manage this type of work, and this is where Jira Service Desk comes in. Yes, Jira Service Desk is targeted at IT help desks. It says so, right on the website. But for marketing teams that already use Jira, adding Jira Service Desk can be a life saver (well, at least a way of getting organized and setting up a system for becoming a more service-oriented team).
Side Note: There is an informative thread in the Atlassian Community addressing the question: Is your company using Jira Service Desk outside it IT? As of this writing there are 26 comments with people sharing stories of how their purchasing departments and staffing teams and compliance departments and employee training teams and even a UN agency are using Jira Service Desk.
In this blog, I would simply like to share with you how our marketing team set up Jira Service Desk to be more organized and more responsive to our internal stakeholders throughout the company.
Make it easy for your colleagues to get your help
No matter how much you may want to, you cannot stop people from asking you for help. In the real world, a marketing team gets requests like these every day:
- The product team wants to run an ad campaign for a product.
- The engineering team wants to publish a blog about a software release (or send an email to customers).
- The sales team wants to send schwag to customers.
- HR wants to publish a press release for an executive hire.
- The customer success team wants a customer story to be written about a new customer achievement (a testimonial).
We receive requests like these regularly, so we finally got our act together and set up a form for each on Jira Service Desk. Then we published those forms on our Confluence intranet…specifically on the home page in our marketing space so that everyone in the company could easily find it. Over time, we created numerous forms based on the requests we receive regularly. For example:
- General request
- Schwag Request
- Product Collateral Tasks
- Event Request
- Graphics Request
- Blog/Content Publication
- Customer Story Request
- Promotion Request
- Public Relations
- Social media & Communities Task
- New Business Cards
- General Website Request
- Website Fix
- Place an Ad
OK. So maybe we over did it just a bit.
Another Side Note: Think twice before you create too many forms and/or before you make the forms extremely customized. You might regret it and then want to undo the customizations. But that is a subject for a future blog post.
The point is that we wanted to make it easy for people to get what they need from the marketing team.
Make is easy for you to response and communicate status
Another reason for a marketing team to use Jira Service Desk is to improve communication and transparency between the team and requesters. You don’t want people to send requests to an anonymous, blackhole email inbox like firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no accountability, and it is nearly impossible to understand the status of requests. The beauty of Jira Service Desk is that each request leverages the workflow status and comments in Jira so that any progress made on a request is communicated openly between the requester and the marketing team. The person who requested business cards can monitor her request to see the status. And the marketing team member can comment on progress or change the step in the work flow to “in progress” or “on order” or “waiting approval” or “approved” or “cards on the way.” The point is, as soon as the marketing team updates the request, the requester can be notified immediately. Ah! Nice. No more emails that say, “Where are my business cards?”
Make it easy for you to track the work
Jira Service Desk also makes it easy for the marketing team to track the requests coming in. First of all, each request can be put in a queue and queues can be organized in many ways. You could have a queue called business card requests and have one person on the team monitor that queue. You could have a queue that shows all requests that have not been responded to in more than two days. You could even have a queue for requests that come from your CEO…for obvious reasons. Queues can help you triage the work to make sure the right work is getting done at the right time.
The second way to track your work is to run reports. You can easily find out how many requests are responded to in less than a day or how many requests have not been touched yet. The point is that you can know exactly how well you are providing service.
It’s about how you deal with planned work and unplanned work
The real reason a marketing team should consider using Jira Service Desk is to help you deal with unplanned work. And perhaps even more specifically to divide up your team’s work into two categories. The first category is your planned work, which is the work you do in marketing to help grow the business. You might run an agile marketing methodology like kanban or scrum in Jira Software to do that. The second category is unplanned work, which is the work you react to. This type of work, whenever possible, should be funneled into your Jira Service Desk so even that work can at least be collected, triaged, tracked, and resolved.
Doesn’t that feel good?
Get a handle on your unplanned work
If nothing else, Jira Service Desk can help you deal with the endless and overwhelming flow of requests coming at your team from all directions. I hope this short blog at least gave you some ideas for how that is possible.
Get the book: The Art of Agile Marketing: A Practical Roadmap for Implementing Kanban and Scrum in Jira and Confluence
No. These were not the only mistakes we made. We made many more, but you get the idea. One of the best things about using Jira to track all of your work is that you can configure it to suit how you want to work. The problem is that we don’t always know how we want to work until we start working. So let this be a lesson to you…that it is OK to make mistakes. Mistake are inevitable. It is better to start, knowing you will make mistakes, than we wait until you get it right the first time. Changes are, you won’t.
You can learn from even more mistakes we made in the book, The Art of Agile Marketing: A Practical Roadmap for Implementing Kanban and Scrum in Jira and Confluence. It will help you get started and also avoid some of the mistakes we made.