Prioritizing Problems: The Truth Behind ‘ASAP’ in Ticketing Systems


How would you address the perception that marking a work order as ‘ASAP’ implies an issue’s precedence over others, considering that ticket resolution typically prioritizes severity and submission time?


In the realm of work order management, the term ‘ASAP’ or ‘As Soon As Possible’ often stirs up a common misconception: that it signals an issue’s urgency over others, potentially disrupting the established prioritization system based on severity and submission time. To address this perception, it’s essential to delve into the operational protocols and the psychological underpinnings behind this four-letter acronym.

Firstly, it’s crucial to clarify the protocol. Work orders are typically triaged based on a clear-cut hierarchy of criteria, with severity at the pinnacle. A critical system outage, for example, would naturally supersede a minor software glitch. The time of submission follows, ensuring that older tickets are not perennially overshadowed by newer ones. This systematic approach ensures fairness and efficiency, preventing a ‘first-come, first-served’ scramble.

The Psychology of ‘ASAP’

The use of ‘ASAP’ can be seen as a cry for help, a signal from the submitter that their issue feels urgent to them. It’s a subjective expression, reflecting the individual’s concern or the pressure they’re under. However, it’s the responsibility of the IT department or the managing team to assess the situation objectively, weighing the actual impact and urgency against the organization’s broader operational needs.

Educating the Users

To mitigate the ‘ASAP’ confusion, education plays a pivotal role. Users should be informed about the prioritization process, understanding that while their issue is important, it will be addressed in an orderly fashion that considers the bigger picture. Regular communication about the status of their work order can also alleviate the anxiety that often leads to the ‘ASAP’ tag.

Implementing a Tiered System

Another solution is to implement a tiered system where users can select from predefined categories of urgency. This structured approach can replace vague terms like ‘ASAP’ with more descriptive options, such as ‘critical’, ‘high’, ‘medium’, or ‘low’ priority, which can then be mapped to the organization’s prioritization criteria.


Ultimately, addressing the perception around ‘ASAP’ in work orders is about balancing empathy with education. By understanding the human element behind the term and providing clear, structured channels for expressing urgency, organizations can maintain an equitable and effective resolution process. It’s about ensuring that every issue is given its due attention, without letting any single voice drown out the collective operational harmony.

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