Every half year (starting from the beginning of 2016, so it's fairly recent), we set organisational goals for our staff. These are usually focused on internal structures and procedures which need to be improved in order to make it easier for our volunteers to do the work they do on the local level.
In my mail to our web discussion list a while ago, I hinted at some changes we've done to the backend of our work, and I want to elaborate a little bit more on this.
About a month ago, I introduced a new ticket system built on OTRS, which we've now started to make use of, at first for processes which only include staff, but which will eventually expand to touch upon other areas of our work too. The areas where we've implemented this ticket system is for merchandise order and internship applications.
To give some background, both of these areas previously depended on mail exchanges. Internship applications, as an example, went to a mailing list on which all staff were subscribed. People would read and comment (occasionally) and one of us would eventually get back to the applicant. We frequently lost track of applications, it was difficult to get an overview, and there were no follow-ups from our side to ensure all applications got a reply.
We've now put all internship applications into a specific Queue in our ticket system, and all incoming applications are automatically added there. When an application is added to the ticket system, a confirmation mail is automatically being sent to the applicant letting them know it has been received.
We also manage all communication with the applicant through the ticket system, so everyone from the staff can see who is working on each application (mostly me), and specific tasks can be delegated easily without losing track of anything in the process. This may not sound like much, but it's already been an excellent help to make sure we don't miss anything.
For our merchandise orders, this is now managed similarly. Orders which come in get an automatic confirmation from the ticket system that their order has been received. When there's a payment, there's also an automatic confirmation, and we can follow up easily on orders which are not getting paid. We can also manage the communication with the persons ordering in a way which is accessible to everyone in our office, so when someone goes on vacation, someone else can easily fill in and follow up on questions or ship merchandise.
Moving forward, I would want to implement more of our processes in this ticket system to make our internal work more coherent, and what I really like personally about having done this work so far is it will now be very easy to allow anyone in the FSFE: a volunteer or Fellow, to also access information in the ticket system which is useful for them. We haven't implemented any processes in the ticket system which include volunteers yet, but I can see us doing so for a lot of work around events and booths.