Interesting question. No, we don’t want to create bloatware with thousands features, complex UI and 100MB installation package. We have clear goal – help agile teams to complete projects in the most efficient way. In fact I think Help Desk/Customers Area is one of the most important modules, it helps to manage customers feedback. And customers’ feedback is the MOST useful thing you can get to improve your product, to make it really useful.
So it is all about Feedback Loop in software development. Help Desk module will provide the complete feedback loop. Check the picture below. In fact it is very clear and simple picture of any software development business (replace Help Desk Module with requests stack for example).
- You get feedback from customers (end users if you do product development).
- You handle the feedback somehow (Excel, cards, custom database application, office walls and floor, product manager’s long-term memory).
- You create features and bugs based on provided feedback and own vision.
- You implement features and bugs and deliver software to customers (expecting that they will be happier and they satisfaction will increase).
That is how almost any software development process works. Almost all Project management tools focus on Implementation (TargetProcess as well till TP 2.5 release). The tools do not care how requirements put in, the tools just manage defined requirements (user stories, epics, features). There are several problems with that approach:
- You should manage initial requests and ideas outside PM tool. This complicates things. You need integration and this will take additional effort and time and likely end result will be not the best you can get.
- Relations between initial request and resulted features often lost in space. You don’t remember who requested what, how many customers requested the same feature (and this information is very substantial, likely the request is important).
- Customers can’t check progress. All they may see is that “request XYZ accepted”. In the best case you may spend a lot of time and drop them emails with confirmation that request accepted and planned for release #12.8.
What is the conclusion? The conclusion is that you may do way better with integrated Help Desk on board. Many, many things will be automated. You will not spend hours writing emails and do status reporting. You will always have clear relations between initial request and final implementation. Support will be simplified and customers’ attitude will be improved. You will receive more testimonials with “excellent support!” words and you will have more new customers.
There are no reasons to not include Help Desk into TargetProcess. The only reason is more complex UI, but TargetProcess has Process/Practices concept and it will be possible to turn off Help Desk practice and stick with simple UI if you don’t need Help Desk. We use TargetProcess for TargetProcess development. We NEED that module ourselves! We receive 20-50 requests each day. We spent a lot of time on these requests and still we don’t have clear process in place. We’ll benefit from Help Desk and it means other companies will benefit as well (we’ve already have many requests for that module to be honest :)
Next release of TargetProcess will include Help Desk. It will close the loop between development team and customers (however if you don’t have good interaction with customers then TargetProcess will not help, it just saves time and automate several things).