You have probably experienced significant pain points with your ITSM ticketing tool. These tools are supposed to make it easier for you to get work done. You (or your leadership) may even blame “the tool”, but tools are not really the problem. They are just enablers for how we interact with our processes and services. In the case of IT ticketing, there is often a lack of proper end-to-end solutions that are Lean and efficient. Let’s discuss why this even matters…

Have you ever been told, “just send a ticket and let them deal with it”? I have, and it goes against every Lean principle that I can think of! Pushing tickets to assignment groups is not an efficient way to manage work. This is what lean looks like:

Traffic Jam Analogy

IT ticketing can be a bit like traffic jams. Just because we put more cars on the road does not mean that we increase the throughput of cars (increase in cars getting from point A to point B). In fact, if we “push” too many cars onto the road, we actually slow traffic down and decrease the throughput. We have all experienced this before (think onramps on the interstate). There is a reason why some onramps have lights that control when cars are allowed to merge. IT ticketing is no different when implementing end-to-end solutions.

Lean promotes “pull” vs “push”: In a pull system (or process), work is performed based on actual demand for those services. In other words, assignment groups pull work based on their capacity and demand for their services. If we promote a push-ticketing system, then it becomes easy for teams to become bombarded with work (or tickets). The downside is that this causes bottlenecks, which actually decrease the throughput of work!

Lean promotes value-add activities: Lean encourages activities that add value for the customer, and discourages non-value-add activities. Such activities, or wastes, include waiting, defects (errors and rework), overproducing, excess motion or movement of ticket routing, and inventory (or tickets waiting in a queue). I remember analyzing a process where a team received hundreds of non-actionable tickets a week. This team would spend a couple of minutes per ticket to open then close the requests. In total, they were spending many hours a week and hundreds of hours per year simply opening and closing tickets, where no actual work was being performed. Meanwhile, downstream tasks were waiting on these tickets to be closed before performing their tasks. What a waste!

Lean promotes first time quality: Having the right information to do the job correctly the first time is very important to remember when creating proper end-to-end process solutions. In IT ticketing, this means ensuring that your tickets have the right information in them, are routed to the correct teams, and are properly measured and resolved at the onset (ever heard of FCR?).

Wrap-up to Part 1

Creating Lean IT ticketing processes can be tricky, especially in large organizations. In my experience, it takes great effort to extract tribal knowledge from people and create an ideal process solution. Stay tuned for Part 2 (Read Part 2 HERE) of this article, where I dive deeper into what it takes to create a Lean, mean, IT ticketing machine.


Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.

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Chad Higgins

Chad Higgins

Contributing Author

With 12 years of diverse project management experience, Chad brings a unique perspective to Whether it was at the start of his career as an ice cream store manager or more recently as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and ITIL leader in the telecommunications arena, Chad has always zeroed in on the kinds of changes that make a business function more effectively. Chad's formal background in process improvement complements his seasoned project repertoire. He's never found a team or process that couldn't improve in some area, and Chad is a firm believer that a healthy company culture is fundamental to any process improvement initiative.


PM for Today has helped me build my personal brand by enabling me to reach a larger audience that otherwise would not have known about my articles and by providing a centralized place for me to share my experiences and interests. My LinkedIn profile views have double since becoming a contributing author on and I love being part of something larger than myself.

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