How a Tree Trimming Company uses OneDesk to manage their operations

Although large companies generally gain stability in surviving growing pains, they face different challenges in managing their work across a large workforce. It is normal to see such companies divided into different departments, which then are made up of smaller teams. These smaller teams may each have their own lead or manager or, as is often the case, they may share leads or managers with other teams. This reporting structure can be both confusing and tricky to capture and navigate in terms of managing work. In cases where a company has grown massively very quickly, it can be even more of a challenge ensuring work is not lost without a system to track it. As one company came to us seeking a solution, it became clear that OneDesk’s ticketing system would provide them with some well-needed structure for managing their work.

Our client is the Operations team of a tree trimming company that is often contracted to ensure utility lines remain free and undamaged. Their work spans 15 different districts, with each district having multiple projects and crews working on them. In total, our client outlined 87 different projects that they currently have on the go. Each of their crews has a leader who oversees the work and any equipment involved, and actively fills out forms for work as it arises using their proprietary app. Our client previously did not have a ticketing system to manage their work, and by looking to OneDesk, they hope to streamline their processes and resolve some of the issues they’ve had around understanding who is working on what. Down the road, they also see other departments in their company needing a tool for both ticketing and project management.

Seamless integration into current workflows via API

As our client has a proprietary app that their teams use, it made sense that they were interested in ways to continue using it while enhancing their workflows with OneDesk. Fortunately we have a fully-featured API that developers on their Operations team can use to incorporate aspects of OneDesk into their own applications. The key reason that they were looking to use our API was in the creation of tickets. By leveraging OneDesk’s existing ticketing system and hooking into it via the API, our client can empower their crew leaders to log work on the fly from the forms in their proprietary application and even associate the work with the proper project and people. Because they already need to fill out these forms for internal processes, also sending this data to OneDesk for ticket creation allows the work to be easily tracked and managed.

Organizing the work with a flexible hierarchy

One of our client’s main concerns was around how their many different projects could be modeled in OneDesk. Because they do work in 15 different districts, it seemed like a challenge ensuring their 87 individual projects across all districts could be captured to an appropriate level. In OneDesk, all work items – whether tasks or tickets – can be grouped into projects, folders, and portfolios, with portfolios being the highest level in the hierarchy. All of these levels are optional, however, allowing our client to capture the levels of their work hierarchy precisely. Our suggestion was for them to use a portfolio to represent each of the different departments at their company. For example, the Operations department would have a portfolio under which either folders or projects would be used to represent the different districts they work in. Under these districts, work projects can then be tracked as OneDesk projects which can then hold multiple tasks and tickets. One distinction between folders and projects in OneDesk is that projects can have owners and hold particular details about the body of work, similar to a ticket or task. Conversely, folders are merely groupings that don’t have separate attributes. The ability to assign a OneDesk project to an owner translates well into our client’s ownership pattern for crews and their work.

Modelling the team’s organization and setting permissions

Due to the nature of their work, our client has a unique setup for their employee organization. For every project that they work on, anywhere from 1 to 6 crews might be assigned to it. Each crew is then comprised of up to 6 crew members or technical specialists, led by a single crew leader. In total, they have over 800 employees at the company. Being able to group their employees is crucial to our client’s ability to manage them as users in OneDesk, and with the ability to create teams, it becomes simple and straightforward to capture the different crews they have. Teams are not exclusive, which matches our client’s organization where some technical specialists might be part of multiple crews. These teams can even be used in conversations on tickets and tasks to notify the entire group of people about a critical detail. Users in OneDesk also can have custom attributes, which our client identified as useful for highlighting different roles or specialities amongst their teams, such as field leaders. Another aspect that is part of OneDesk’s user organization is permissions, and for our client, this was an area that they were especially interested in. Access to particular projects or portfolios can be granted to specific teams or individual users. Permissions for read and write ability are based on the type of role the user is assigned for the project. Our client highlighted an instance where a manager would need to access, manage, and edit multiple projects, while crew leaders would need some management powers but not the full gauntlet. These translate nicely into the OneDesk project manager role and project lead roles respectively.

Gaining insight into who is working on what through custom views

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are one of the main ways companies gauge their efficiencies and look for areas to improve. Our client is no exception, stating that their managers are keen to have visibility into where work is allocated across the business. They need to know what districts require the most work, how the workload is being balanced, and whether certain specialists are taking on more tickets than others. By default, OneDesk offers a number of different views into the work data tracked in its systems—Gantt charts, calendars, tree views, and even a dashboard. These views serve as a great base upon which our client can then filter and group their work. By querying against certain attributes, our client can easily see the status of work across assignees and even include details like the estimated effort and cost. Grouping this data then by project or portfolio, our client can easily get a higher level understanding of how their crews are performing. These views can also be saved for repeat viewings and exported to be shared as reports to co-workers and managers not using OneDesk.

There is no right or wrong way to use OneDesk, and it became clear quickly to our client that this flexibility served them well in their unique setup. Using the various containers and grouping possibilities that we offer, it is easy for our client to capture all of their work in OneDesk, whether they are one-off support tickets or longer-running tasks. Pairing OneDesk’s ticketing system with their API was the ideal solution for maintaining their current workflows while also providing a much needed efficiency boost in their management of work. With the ability to mirror their organizational structure in OneDesk’s user management, our client can streamline their processes and tune permissions to their specific use cases. By leveraging our customizable views, our client ensures that they gain all of the right insights at the right times into how their teams are performing. Despite being a large company, our client can keep their finger on the pulse at all times and ensure their business comes out ahead.

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