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​Precision in Practice: Designing Optimal Work Requests - Part 1

​Precision in Practice: Designing Optimal Work Requests - Part 1

There are many factors that go into understanding the work that is requested by your end users or work needed for your equipment reliability. How that information is received and input into a work request is the backbone of good work processes. In the first of this three-part series, we will review why these particular items are important to support your Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with the end user. We will also look at some suggested items to include in a work request that will aid in routing the work to the right person to complete it. These points will align your work execution strategies to perform against these SLAs and provide analytics to support the outcomes that were defined by the stakeholders.

Work Request Information as it Pertains to SLAs

SLAs define the parameters around which end users require their work to be completed—along with the means by which the facilities technicians will perform that work. These key components are needed within your work request so the outcome will yield the best results. Measuring your success based on this information will ensure that the data you are collecting is providing the technicians with a path of completion that is efficient. Concurrently, the metrics will also allow for your technical group to understand how they are performing against the SLAs. The SLAs truly define this alignment with standards of practice which are imperative for a comprehensive, yet understandable, means of completing work.

Let’s ask ourselves first what an SLA looks like. What are the parameters that we should be aligning so that the work request can provide the information that a technician might need?

GOAL (SCOPE): With any process, you need to know what the definition of the process is. This is often referred to as the goal or scope. The goal of the SLA is to supply the end user with an understanding of what is going to be done to accomplish the steps both of you outline to complete the work. They identify key metrics as well that may be reported on if define properly.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Description of work request, long descriptions.

MEASUREMENTS & PERFORMANCE: As described above, if the scope is aligned properly, it will help define the metrics by which you will be aligning towards. The scope provides direction on the metrics which can then be developed into tasks that are within reach, then be defined as parameters that you achieve as the work is completed.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Timeline of the work accomplishment, failure coding.

SCOPE REVIEW TRIGGERS: Scope changes occur within the normal operations of maintaining assets. This requires review of scope when those changes occur. This will affect the description of the work request and possibly create a need for other work defined to complete the task. Here we will define the levels at which scope change affects the overall nature of the work request. These thresholds will then align the person-power that is required to achieve the SLA.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Description of work order, child work orders, estimate duration, timeline dates.

DATA SOURCE: The defined data source from where the metrics will be developed needs to be understood within the SLA. This source of record should be your CMMS system. Therefore, the source is where your work requests are input. This action will maintain the integrity of the data by incorporating domains or classification of work in your CMMS. This can be applied to the work request as it is created thereby making the data consistent for reporting.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Classification of work, job plans, failure coding.

REFERENCES: This section should align any pertinent information that aids in the completion of the work, i.e., drawings, O&M manuals, pictures. With these references, the metrics will be more closely realized. Leverage these resources by instituting reference materials within the work request. The knowledge base of your technicians is GOLD!! The better equipped they are to complete the work the better the outcome of the SLA.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Attachments, long-description comments, pictures.

WEB ADDRESS: Where will the stakeholders be able to view the SLA and work procedures? This is an important cog in the process of SLA adherence and work request management. This depository should be able to be accessed by all parties at any time. That ensures that collaboration efforts stay consistent with the intent of the SLA. Review processes will be easier in the future when you provide this information in one location. A standardized web page allows for this to take place.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Attachments, job plans.

Sample SLA:

SLA 0.0

Goals and Objectives


To achieve best-in-class safety performance, in protection of our staff and campus visitors, which will comply with BOCA, OSHA, cGMP, GMP, ASHRAE, ISO and site maintenance standards.

Provide scheduled, timely, safe, and cost-effective maintenance services that conform to business standards and practices.

Provide timely, safe, and cost-effective maintenance services that conform to business standards and practices.

Foster an environment of no unplanned disruption of service delivery.

Provide reliable asset performance during the projected life span of an asset.

Provide proactive maintenance culture in managing maintenance and repairs.

Provide timely reactive/emergent maintenance techniques in managing corrective and scheduled maintenance.

Provide a safety culture that strives for no accidents and no recordables.

Measurements & Performance

Customer Satisfaction

Safety: Year-over-year improvement of OSHA recordables & no lost time employee engagement.

Work Order Performance:

  • PM completion compliance - (90%)
  • Non-PM completion compliance - (90%)
  • Backlog (4 weeks)
  • Failure code input compliance - (95%)
  • Schedule compliance - (90%)

Response Level:

In Scope:

  • Reactive/Emergent: within 4-8 hrs
  • Urgent: 1 - 2 days
  • Corrective: 2 - 30 days
  • Preventive: within 30 days

Out of Scope:

  • 14-45 days based on operational need or contractor availability

Scope Review Triggers

A request for scope review will be required when an in-scope work change occurs or if time allotments listed under activity level are exceeded or reduced.

Additional change order triggers for this service are:

  • Total number of work requests (related to building structure)
  • Work on process that is not related to enclosed defined scope.

Data Source

Maximo CMMS


Standard operating procedures and work instructions

EHS compliance and safety procedures

MSDS safety data sheets

Sustainability, energy and engineering design standards

Applicable campus standards, policies or procedures

Master plan

Web Address

Work Request Information as it Pertains Work Execution Process

Now that the SLA is defined and documented, the process by which the SLA is to be completed—and whose responsibilities for the path of work—can then be defined. These pieces of information will be integral to your work request needs. These parameters will define the structure of the work request so that it is easily identified, designate who will take care of what part, and specify how the work request will close. The information collected at the work request stage incorporates all this to fit the SLA and process needs.

How is your work being requested? Is this done by phone call, email, or word of mouth. Work intake is defined as a means to request work and how that work is processed. The work execution management then stipulates that intake to be routed accordingly. Work execution management can be divided up into five simple steps:

  • Work Intake – collection of the information to complete the work.
  • Urgent or not?
  • Planned or not?
  • Execute the work.
  • Close the work.

This methodology should look a little something like the chart to the right. With this methodology in

place, you can now align your work request intake more robustly with some suggested fields that will follow this path to completion.

Defining the work execution path in this manner also allows you to understand responsibilities for that work to be performed. These responsibilities or responsible parties will need comprehensive information to complete that work effectively and efficiently. When designing the optimal work orders these factors can truly make or break the process. With this process outlined, your SLAs will now be streamlined to provide you with profound targets to achieve and the correct information to capture to provide that feedback.

Investing in a process allows you to align the stars and focus on where the real work needs to be done. This process identifies your gaps as well to support the SLA more robustly. This process mapping will then give you the tools to answer the six basis questions, this being the 5WH Principle.

Who? – Who is requesting the work? Contact information is crucial here to align with the SLAs and support the stakeholders. The other who will be who the technician will be to complete the work. A request for work will require someone to complete it, therefore it is practical to identify who will be the one to do so.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Requestor, phone number, email address, assignment, resource.

What? – The person requesting work needs to define the work that is being requested: Is it urgent or not? Would this request require a project or is it just normal maintenance on assets? Focus on this portion of the work request is very important since it will define the scope of the request. Work required on an asset should align with the scope as well. This aids in reporting repairs against an asset to support its uptime.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Work request description, long description, priority, asset.

When? - The work needs a timeline of completion. Based on the SLAs developed, you must align these dates with those for which you have resources. Work should be planned and scheduled as much as possible so that you have the right person-power, materials, and vendor support that may be needed from the WHAT section.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Target startdate, target end date, scheduled start date, estimate duration hours.

Where? - Work requests must require a location, or an asset. Requests that are submitted most likely identify what needs to be done, however, sometimes forget the WHERE portion. It is imperative that you

complete the steps of information gathering by getting a location where the work will be taking place. Typically, a CMMS program looks for an asset first, taking its location into account. If that information is not available, it will need a true location. Most CMMS systems can allow for the fields to be REQUIRED. This gives you the best solution since it will need to be input to proceed.


Why? – There is a reason that the work is required. There may be some regulatory need, financial need, or asset need. This requirement is essential to understand the breadth of the scope and description of the work request to inform the technician of what they are encountering.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:description, long descriptions, failure code, classifications.

How? - The scope, timeline, and place have now been defined. With those pieces of information solidified, understanding exactly HOW the work will be conducted will be the last important piece of the work request. This part challenges us to focus our execution of the requested work. There will be times that this work will be reactive, and time is of the essence. There is still some planning to be done to support the work being completed. Outside of reactive needs, all other work should go to the planning department to align with resources.

WORK REQUEST INFORMATION:Classifications, materials, safety measures, priority.


The above has laid the groundwork for building a successful work request. Identifying the 5WHs based on the needs of your SLA and work processes. Focusing your attention to the parts of the process that have been described will allow for a more consistent work request to be developed and used for completing work. Engagement of the workforce in this development effort is crucial to the success of the work request. They are the people that will be using them the most. If we can align them with the layout and information gathering there is a more positive vibe in adherence to completing the work in a timely manner. This affect will foster synergy within your organization, providing commitment to the SLAs you have developed with the end users.

Our next topic will be Creating the Optimal Work Request, along with steps to implement it into your CMMS.

References:, et al. "Uptime Elements Body of Knowledge". (2017-2019)

Michael Guns

Michael Guns, Jr., CRL, CEFP, CMRP, is a Senior Maximo Consultant for JFC & Associates. He is responsible for implementation and development of IBM Maximo and EAM processes for a robust maintenance and reliability portfolio. He is an advocate for the maintenance and reliability community by extending learning opportunities to align those strategies to fit different business models and implement them. He also owns and operates Electranet Enterprises, an Electrical/Data Communications and Maintenance Information company, where he has provided reviews and services for local companies since 2004.

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