One of the things on my wishlist when hunting for a new project management system was the ability to create project-independent tickets. There was something similar available in activeCollab but it was a bit cumbersome. And other PM systems I tried (e.g., Collabtive, PHP Collab) did not have the capability to create tickets that were not part of an existing project.
Here is how I set up my system to function, and if anyone can suggest further streamlining of the processes, I am all ears!
- Client registers or logs in to Rukovoditel portal and adds a Support Ticket (so named so as to distinguish it from Tickets associated with Projects).
- Admin receives notification of new Support Ticket.
- Admin edits Support Ticket to assign it to support team member(s) and the client who submitted it.
- At this point, the client receives only notification of his or her new account, if applicable. Otherwise, the system is silent about the newly-created Support Ticket.
- Once the admin has assigned team members, including the submitting client, the system sends the client an email that his or her Support Ticket is assigned.
- Certain fields of the Support Ticket are hidden from the client: Assigned To, Type (Billable, Non-Billable, etc.), and Notes. These have been located on a tab called Internal.
- The client’s customized dashboard (Common Reports) shows only new, open, re-opened, awaiting client action, and awaiting developer action statuses; it does not show closed or inactive Support Tickets.
When creating the entity Support Ticket, I wanted to be assured that clients could not see one another’s Support Tickets. In order to do this, we have to add a User field to the Support Ticket entity in the form of Users, and make sure it is a series of checkboxes, NOT a dropdown. (I’ll explain why later!)
Then you can design the rest of your form to suit your needs (the beauty of Rukovoditel!), but here are the fields I am using, including some Global lists:
- Info Tab
- Email Address
- Department (Global list with a default value of “Support”)
- Priority (Global list with a default value of “Medium”)
- Status (Global list with a default value of “New”)
- Comment Box
- Internal Tab (hidden from client view)
- Type (Global list with a default value of “Billable”)
- Users (a field which displays all Users in checkbox format)
Here’s what the client sees on his dashboard.
Here’s what the admin sees on his dashboard.
Here is a new Support Ticket, client view.
And here is a new Support Ticket, admin view.
And here is the reason I did not use a dropdown box for the User field. Because it defaults to the first User on the list and I didn’t want to take a chance that User (an actual client) might be notified of me playing around in my project management system! So you’ll also see a dummy User, Aaron Aardvark. I created that User as a stopgap measure so that at least a null User would be the default chosen when a Support Ticket is filled out. This is before I realized I could use checkboxes!
Here are a few more screen shots of the Support Ticketing system in action.
And a few more niceties about Rukovoditel. You can (even in the free version) create backups of your database. I highly recommend you do this on a regular basis (there are Cron jobs for that), but also remember to do this right after you’ve done some fiddling with the back end of the site! Rukovoditel allows you to guide your clients, customers, users through your system by allowing you to provide meaningful tooltips and note boxes so that there’s no doubt about the information they need to provide when working in the system.
Please share your Rukovoditel customizations and custom entities in the comments. I’d love to hear more about how others are using the system!
Joni Mueller has been designing web sites for hire since 2003, when she first blew up her web host’s server by insisting on running Greymatter. Since then, Joni has designed for Blogger and Movable Type, TextPattern, WordPress and CMS Made Simple. She lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she’s not working on web design, she’s ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both.