YouTrack Server 2024.1 Help

Standard and Helpdesk Projects

YouTrack supports two types of projects.

  • Standard issue-tracking projects are typically used by development teams to track and manage the progress of software development projects. They focus on tracking issues, bugs, and other tasks and providing support for Agile development.

    This type of project can also be used by non-development teams for general project planning and task management.

  • Helpdesk projects are typically used by customer support teams to track and manage customer support requests and incidents. They focus on timely and effective resolutions to customer complaints and include features such as a knowledge base and SLA management.

When deciding which project is suitable for your team, consider the following guidelines:

  • You need to manage day-to-day work on a specific initiative and you want a platform where everyone on your team can work together to solve problems in a collaborative way. In this case, you should create a standard project for issue tracking using the default, Scrum, or Kanban template.

    This assumes that everyone on the team has a license to work with YouTrack and will be able to read, create, and update issues and articles there.

    To learn more, see Create a Project.

  • You have a customer-facing support team that needs to process incoming requests, questions, or complaints from people outside your organization. In this case, you should create a helpdesk project.

    This assumes that you have purchased agent licenses for all the users who will handle these requests, and the people who submit requests to the support team only need to view and respond to their own tickets.

    To learn more about this solution, see Helpdesk Projects.

There are cases where you have a group of people inside your organization who are responsible for managing requests from other employees inside your organization. For example, and IT service desk that is only responsible for handling internal support. In this case, it's up to you to decide whether you want to handle this using a standard issue tracker or helpdesk project. One factor to consider is whether you would save money by purchasing just a handful of agent licenses and take advantage of the ability to use an unlimited number of free accounts for reporters in helpdesk projects. However, if the internal users who would be reporters in this scenario are also using YouTrack for project management, you could accomplish something similar using a mailbox integration in a standard issue tracking project without the need to pay for additional agent licenses.

Each project type has its own core set of features meant to facilitate activities relevant to either type of project. Features that are irrelevant or have the potential to distract the project team are usually deactivated or hidden.

This page describes the features that are exclusive to standard or helpdesk projects. It also explains how features that are available in all projects can be tailored to support different project teams.

Features Exclusive to Standard Projects

The features listed here are only available in standard issue-tracking projects.

Feature

Description

Votes

The ability to add votes is only available for issues in standard projects. In helpdesk projects, tickets are generally only visible to their reporters and the agents responsible for resolving them, which makes voting irrelevant.

Issue Templates

The ability to generate an issue template URL to report new issues is only supported in standard projects. Creating new tickets in helpdesk projects is supported by setting up specific channels for interacting with external reporters, like email and online forms.

Build Server Integration

This feature is specifically designed for software teams so they can track which version of their product includes fixes for a specific issue. Helpdesk projects don't typically involve building software, so the settings for configuring this type of integration are hidden there.

VCS Integration

This feature is designed to help track which changes made to a codebase managed under version control contain fixes for a specific issue. In a situation where a customer reports a bug that requires changes to the software product, it's common practice for helpdesk agents to inform the customer that the development team will handle the bug in the ticket and create a separate issue so the development team can track the changes applied in their own project.

Features Exclusive to Helpdesk Projects

The features listed here are only available in helpdesk projects.

Feature

Description

Email Channels

Helpdesk projects have dedicated settings for configuring email forwarding and connections to email servers that convert incoming messages into helpdesk tickets. When used, agents can handle inquiries from an unlimited number of free reporters.

Standard issue-tracking projects can be configured similarly using the Mailbox Integration. However, users who create issues in standard projects require a standard user license and are billed as such. There is a particular option that can be switched on for mailbox integrations that lets you use a single user account as the reporter for all issues created from incoming email messages. Even so, this setup has certain limitations that are not present in helpdesk projects.

Online Forms

The ability to use an online form as a tool to submit support requests is exclusive to helpdesk projects.

Standard issue-tracking projects can accomplish something similar using issue template URLs, but new issues still have to be created directly in YouTrack.

SLA Policies

Helpdesk projects have dedicated settings for defining the business hours when agents are expected to handle incoming customer requests. These settings are used as the basis for defining a service level agreement or SLA. Dedicated fields in helpdesk tickets show agents when this SLA has been breached.

While it is possible to set up something similar in a standard project using workflows, all the conditions that define the working hours and response times must be defined directly in the workflow script. The fields that show users whether the response and resolution time are within the benchmarks defined by the SLA or are overdue must be configured manually as well.

Comment Templates

One feature available exclusively to helpdesk agents is the ability to insert pre-written responses into the comments they post in helpdesk tickets. This feature is not available for use with comments posted to issues in standard projects or comments posted to articles in the knowledge base.

Similar functionality can be implemented in standard issue-tracking projects using workflows.

Agent Signatures

Another feature that is only available to agents in helpdesk projects is the ability to store a default signature that is automatically added to public comments. This feature is specifically designed to ensure that communication with external customers always contains consistent and professional contact information.

As this feature is rarely used for internal communication, it is unavailable to standard users even when these users have access to tickets in a helpdesk project.

Revise Public Comments

Helpdesk agents have access to a special feature that lets them revise a public comment shortly after it has been posted to a ticket. This lets agents amend their comments before their response is sent to the customer over email.

In standard issue-tracking projects, everyone on the team has direct access to issues through YouTrack, where updates are applied in real time. If users choose to revise their comment text for whatever reason, they are free to do so any time they want.

CC Recipients

Helpdesk agents can add users to tickets as CC recipients. This lets these users receive notifications about updates to the ticket and add comments to the ticket when they reply to the email notification.

The only people with access to a ticket in a helpdesk project are its reporter, the CC recipients, and the agents and standard users assigned to the project. Access to issues in a standard project is generally broader, as anyone who has permission to create an issue in the project is typically granted permission to read issues reported by other users as well. When you want to restrict access to specific issues in a standard project, this can be done using the permission model and visibility settings. To learn more, see Set Issue, Comment, and Attachment Visibility.

Features Available for All Projects

These features can be used in issue-tracking and helpdesk projects. Many of these can be tailored in specific ways to make them more relevant to one type of project versus another.

Feature

Description

AI Assistant

The functionality supported by YouTrack's AI Assistant is equally relevant to standard issue-tracking and helpdesk projects. It is capable of generating summaries for both issues and tickets, and can improve the quality of content posted in comments, replies, and knowledge base articles for any project.

Workflows

Workflows are a powerful tool for automating updates and enforcing business rules. Even though you might have different business rules for handling issues and tickets, both can be regulated using workflows.

Many default business rules for issues and tickets are defined using workflows. For example, the workflow that automatically resolves an issue when it is marked as a duplicate or the workflow that automatically merges duplicate tickets.

Agile Boards

People use an agile board to visualize and track the progress of their work. Agile boards are typically used in software development projects, but they can be used for any type of project that involves multiple tasks and dependencies.

It can be beneficial for development teams to set up a board that supports a Scrum framework and can be equally useful for customer support teams to manage tickets using a Kanban flow.

Knowledge Base

Knowledge bases are a valuable resource for teams of any type. For software development teams, it can be used to store requirements and technical specifications and share best practices. Non-technical teams can use it for onboarding and to document their processes and procedures.

Customer support teams can use the knowledge base in a variety of ways as well, including troubleshooting guides, policies for handling refunds, procedures for handling specific use cases, and so on. If you grant public access to specific articles in your knowledge base, you can also use it to publish customer-facing documentation, FAQs, and other self-service content.

Reports

Reports are vital for both software development and customer support teams due to several reasons. Reports can help to identify recurring issues or trends in user behavior, which can inform the development team's work. If a particular bug is reported often, it becomes a high priority for fixing. For support, it can help identify common themes in support requests that can be used to prioritize development or focused educational training.

Time Tracking

Time tracking is a fundamental tool for software development and customer support teams, so this feature can be made available for use in all YouTrack projects. Many software development teams use estimations to track how much time they think it will take to complete a task and measure their performance against these benchmarks. Knowing which requests take longest for customer support can help you know when you need to refine troubleshooting procedures for specific topics.

Dashboards

Dashboards offer a visual, at-a-glance view of key performance indicators (KPIs) and real-time data analysis. YouTrack's dashboards are fully customizable, which means you can display data from any project in the system.

Software development teams can use dashboards to display project timelines, issue tracking, task completion status, and more, giving clear visibility into their efforts. Customer support teams can build dashboards that show data like average response times, resolution rates, and individual performance metrics.

Product managers can use dashboards to analyze KPIs from development and support, gaining deeper insight into the teams' overall performance. For example, if you're using the same set of values to categorize bug reports and support requests, you can display reports for both teams side-by-side on a dashboard. This can help you prioritize areas of improvement where the development team has the most problems to fix, and the support team has the greatest number of complaints.

Slack Integration

An integration with Slack helps your users consolidate work-related notifications in a single app, rather than receiving YouTrack updates in their email inbox or through the notification center. If your organization is using Slack for internal and external communication, Slack integration is a great way to consolidate your work in one platform.

The messages delivered to Slack are based on your notification preferences in YouTrack, so you can subscribe to updates for issues in your software development projects, tickets in a helpdesk project, or both.

Telegram Integration

Many teams use Telegram for internal team communication and to provide customer service. YouTrack's integration with Telegram is a handy tool that can be used with any project type.

The YouTrack bot for Telegram can be used by development teams to receive notifications for issue updates and update issues with slash commands. Customer support teams can use the bot to transform comments posted in Telegram channels into issues for the development team or articles in their knowledge base.

There are a few cases where a feature that was specifically designed for issue tracking doesn't make sense in the context of a helpdesk scenario, and vice versa. While there is nothing that prevents you from enabling these features in specific types of projects, it may be counter-productive to do so. These features are described below.

Feature

Description

Gantt Charts

A Gantt chart is a visual tool for planning that is typically used for project management. It lets the team define the scope of a specific project, place the tasks in sequence, and track the total duration of the collective effort.

Customer support work is typically reactive and not project-based. Support requests come in randomly and constantly throughout the day and often need immediate attention, which isn't conducive to the linear task planning of a Gantt chart. While there are no restrictions in place that would prevent you from using a helpdesk project as the basis for building a Gantt chart, it would make little sense and could potentially overcomplicate your support process.

JetBrains IDE Integrations

The YouTrack Integration plugin lets software developers connect the tool they use to keep track of software development tasks, bugs, and feature requests directly within the environment where they write and test their code. This is a very handy tool that helps software developers manage their tasks and link changes in the codebase to specific tasks or bugs in the issue tracker. However, it is best used when supported by a VCS integration, which is only available for standard issue-tracking projects.

While it's less common for customer support teams to directly interact with version control systems, there might be situations where it is helpful or necessary. For example, when the support team is responsible for updating or maintaining technical documentation that is managed under version control. Even in this case, it's usually better for the support team to manage documentation tasks in a separate issue-tracking project that can be integrated with a VCS.

Mailbox Integration

THe mailbox integration was originally introduced as a precursor to YouTrack's current helpdesk solution. While it is still possible to configure a mailbox integration for a standard project, advanced features that are exclusive to helpdesk projects are not available. Most importantly, helpdesk projects allow for an unlimited number of reporters. In a standard project, every user who submits a support request must have a registered user account.

If you want to process incoming email messages from external users, the best way to handle these requests is to create a helpdesk project and configure an email channel.

Even though the Mailbox Integration page in YouTrack shows email channels side-by-side with mailbox integrations configured for standard issue-tracking projects, the options for selecting how YouTrack assigns reporters to incoming requests is predetermined by project type. In helpdesk projects, the sender is always designated as the reporter for a new ticket. In contrast, standard issue-tracking projects with mailbox integrations can activate an option to use a single user account as the reporter for all incoming requests or create standard user accounts for requests from new reporters.

To learn more, see Mailbox Integrations with Standard Issue Tracking Projects.

Last modified: 23 May 2024