Calculating priority automatically

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Some IT teams use an urgency-impact matrix to determine the priority of an issue. In this type of process, automatically setting the priority according to the urgency and impact values at the creation of an issue helps with issue triage. For example, you can set up your service desk with different queues for incidents of different priorities, automatically send incidents to the appropriate queue as soon as they are created. Auto-setting the priority when the issue is created also ensures that the appropriate SLAs are applied right from the beginning of an issue.

You can automation this process using workflow post functions and automation rules. 


By the end of this tutorial, you will automate the priority calculation after a change request is submitted according to the following matrix.

Table: Priority values

Impact Critical High Medium Low
Extensive Critical Critical High Medium
Significant Critical High Medium Medium
Moderate High Medium Medium Low
Minor Medium Medium Low Low

Before you begin

Make sure you have the following two custom fields of the type Select List (single choice), each containing the values listed the previous table:

  • Urgency: Critical, High, Medium, Low
  • Impact: Extensive, Significant, Moderate, Minor 

Automating the calculation

After step 1, the workflow transitions a change to Priority triage status as soon as an issue is created. You will also have 4 transitions to set the Priority to a value. 

With step 2, you will set up an automation rule that checks the value of the Urgency and Impact fields and fires off the corresponding transition according to the matrix.  

Step 1: Configure the workflow

  1. Go to the workflow that is used by your Change issue type. 
  2. Between the Create transition and your first status, add a new status and name it Priority Triage
  3. Add the following four transitions from this status:
    1. Critical
    2. High
    3. Medium
    4. Low
  4. In each of these transitions, add a post function

    1. Select the Update Issue Field post function. 

    2. In the post function, update the Priority field to match the transition, for example, the Critical transition will have a post function that changes the Priority field to Critical. Similarly, the High transition will have this post function to set the Priority field as High, and the Medium transition to set the value to Medium, and Low to Low. 

  5. Publish the workflow. 

Step 2: Configure the automation rule

After the post function is set, let's create an automation rule that triggers the appropriate transition depending on the urgency and impact selected during request creation. 

The rules should follow the following pattern:

  • When: Issue created
  • If, or Else if: Specify the urgency and impact value pair according to the matrix, e.g., 

    status = "Priority triage" AND Impact = "Extensive / Widespread" AND Urgency = Critical
  • Then: Transition issue, and select the transition that matches the value pair according to the matrix. 

Note: If your Urgency or Impact value is optional on the request type form or issue create screen, then there might be cases where these fields are empty. In this case, make sure that you add a Else if condition that caters for this scenario. For example, 

  • Else if

    status = "Priority triage" AND Impact is empty  OR Urgency is EMPTY 
  • Then: Transition issue, Low.

Learn more about IT service management (ITSM)

Get more tips and tricks for successful ITSM, view case studies, and learn how to take your service desk to the next level. Check out the ITSM resources on IT Unplugged.

Last modified on Aug 27, 2018

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