8020-rule.jpgAs we wrap up the fourth installment of my Help Desk Adventure Series (I'm going to trademark that), I've described the journey from building out a help desk, defining SLAs, and incorporating workflow automation. Looking back, I think the one resource that was left out from this discussion was time. This resource is finite, difficult to find, and often buried in other daily tasks. Ever hear of the 80/20 rule? It's a slightly modified idea taken from the Pareto Principle: that we as IT professionals spend 80% of our time on trivial tasks, and 20% innovating (and providing some real impact). In some of my positions, it might as well be the 99/1 rule (or the 100/20 rule, in which I spent nights and weekends on the innovation part).


How did my team and I get the time to build out a new help desk system? I made a few "bold statements" to management to help get this off the ground and created some daily team exercises. Again - support from the upper echelons is critical!


  • The help desk, and related SLA and workflow creation, was considered an IT project with time allotments. We could budget team time towards the help desk and could give it priority in the queue.
  • The team would cover for one another when other issues arose. For example, I would spend time working issues on the call center floor so that a member of the team could focus on building a workflow. Broken concentration kills innovation.
  • I used the term "technical debt" quite often: this means that if we put off a help desk now, we pay for it with more work later. We wanted to pay off our operational debt quickly and efficiently.
  • A morning "red zone" meeting would be held at the start of the day. We'd review the backlog of work to complete and determine what we wanted to get done that day. It was also a great time to figure out how we could best help each other with various daily tasks, and communicate progress.


Knowing that it's very difficult to carve out time for any new work, I'm curious if you have any other tips to add to my list? How have you managed to free up time for your help desk creation, updates, workflows, or just general tasks that make your help desk better?