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Fix round robin and skip users who are out of office

New series of articles on Out of Office Assistant for Jira Cloud

Hello Community!

I’m Jaime Capitel, I work at resolution, a Gold Marketplace Partner based in Germany. And while I wear many hats, one of my favorite responsibilities is being product owner for one of our apps for Jira: Out of Office Assistant for Jira Cloud.

For everyone interested in learning advanced used cases of the app, I’m going to be sharing a number of tricks and examples with articles in the community just like this one.

Please note that there may be other alternatives for these tricks that don’t involve purchasing our app; I may be going into them in an additional article to provide the full picture.

But in the first place, we have a quite common trick that will help those of you who are auto assigning new customer requests with round robin.

How to fix round robins to skip users who are currently out of office

Let’s have a look at how to tweak round robin automations so that your time-critical issues are NEVER assigned to a user who is not working at that specific time.

Round robin assignments regularly fail because of this: a team member is sick or out of office, so their assignments are not acted upon until they come back.

In fact, in a team of a certain size, the probability of having the entire team available is actually quite low. More often than not, one or more team members may be unavailable!

The main idea is very simple:

  • Once the round robin assigns a request to an absent user

  • Out of office Assistant has a rule to reassign that issue to “Unassigned”

  • So that the round robin picks it up again and assigns it to the next user

As I mentioned, I will be using Out of Office Assistant for Jira Cloud, although there may be other alternative solutions to the problem, either in the Marketplace or as a custom development.

Let’s jump right into it. 

1️⃣ Update the Round Robin Automation:

Here’s what your automation rule should look like:

image-20230605-132253.png

This probably means you have to make 3 quick changes:

  • Change the trigger to "Multiple Issue Events" and include "Issue Created" and "Issue Assigned" events.

image-20230605-132114.png

  • "Re-fetch issue data" to ensure the rule evaluates the most recent assignee data.

  • Filter for unassigned issues with a JQL condition that includes “assignee IS empty“

2️⃣ Set Out of Office Rules: The next step is for users to create out of office rules before they leave. A couple of things to note:

  • The crucial part here is that the assignee must be "Unassigned".

  • These rules can be synced with the Slack status, or out of office events from Outlook or Google Calendar. Of course, they can also be manually activated before leaving​… or added by an Admin when someone in the team calls in sick.

3️⃣ Test the Automation: The last step is to test your new automation to ensure it works as intended. You should see this kind of interaction when the fix is working:

 

image-20230605-131915.png

Extending the use case to other auto assignment options

I hope that this fix works for everyone out there!

I have also been looking for a fix for the balanced workload, but that one’s tricky since the issue will be assigned again to the same person once unassigned. Anybody got any ideas?

4 comments

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Patricia Modispacher _appanvil_
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
August 21, 2023

Thanks for that interesting article! :) 

Jaime Capitel _resolution_
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
August 21, 2023

Thanks for commenting @Patricia Modispacher _appanvil_!

Michael Crane
I'm New Here
I'm New Here
Those new to the Atlassian Community have posted less than three times. Give them a warm welcome!
February 15, 2024

I am by no means an expert, or close to it. But we are using automation in our Cloud instance more and more. One thing we are looking at is round robin for tickets that come in. What we have experience with Out of Office is it can be confusing for some users to know whats going on with their ticket, especially if they miss an update. They may see the first update with the ticket getting assigned to someone that is out of office, and miss the rest. They then try and reach out to that first technician and get no response in return.

Is there a way for automation to "see" that Out of Office is turned on and skip that assignee and move to the next in the group? 

Jaime Capitel _resolution_
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
February 19, 2024

@Michael Crane thanks for the good question!

I'm no automation expert myself. However, from what I know, it's currently not possible to prevent the assignment, since the expression assignee.outofoffice.today=1 can only be evaluated once the assignee has been set.

That being said, we just released an improvement in the Out of Office Assistant app that should be helpful: Out of Office now displays the status of assignees in the JSM portal; and makes it way easier to see the status of the entire team from the issue view as well.

The release was pushed this morning and should be populating instances within the next 24 hours. Here's some examples of how it looks:

CleanShot 2024-02-19 at 23.09.16.png

In the case above, for example, you can see that an issue has been unassigned as a result of an Out of Office rule.

The "Available assignee" section displays users who are not absent, and allows to triage the issue to them with a click.

CleanShot 2024-02-19 at 23.12.34.png

In this case, you can see that a request is currently unassigned from the JSM portal itself.

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