Calculating priority automatically

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Jira Service Management comes with some powerful automation tools. IT teams can set up their service project to calculate a request's priority automatically.

Removing manual processes gives time back to your team. Your team spends less time triaging and prioritizing requests. And, they spend more time resolving IT service tasks. Calculating the correct priority helps put requests into the correct SLA.

Some IT teams use an impact-urgency matrix to determine the priority of an issue. This page walks through an example for defining this matrix. Then, it discusses using these decisions to automate how priority calculation with these fields. 

At the end, you should know a bit more about automation and how it can help you remove all sorts of manual processes. Automation frees up your agents' time and makes your service desk more efficient.

Create a priority matrix using impact and urgency values

Work with your team to determine how your service desk prioritizes incidents. Below is a sample matrix for how our team thinks about priority. Yours may differ depending on your resources and other factors.

Here's an example matrix:


Extensive / WidespreadHighest priorityHighest priorityHigh priorityMedium priority
Significant / LargeHighest priorityHigh priorityMedium priorityLow priority
Moderate / LimitedHigh priorityMedium priorityLow priorityLowest priority
Minor / LocalizedMedium priorityLow priorityLowest priorityLowest priority

Note that the priority values listed above are just examples for this tutorial. You can also create priorities that are specific to your service desk. See Defining priority field values and Associating priorities with projects for more details.

Before you begin

Make sure you have the following two custom fields of the type Select List (single choice), each containing the values listed in 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. Highest
    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 Highest transition will have a post function that changes the Priority field to Highest. 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, for example: 

    status = "Priority triage" AND Impact = "Extensive / Widespread" AND Urgency = Highest
  • 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 Sep 17, 2020

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