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I'm using SharePoint online.

I'm trying to set up a "help desk" based on three categories of people:

  1. users: can submit their own issues, edit them (but not issues submitted by others), and view all open issues.
  2. workers: like users but can have tasks assigned to them; once a task/issue has been assign to them, they can edit it. However, they cannot assign tasks to others.
  3. supervisor: can do everything with issues/tasks, especially including assigning tasks.

I used the "issue tracking" web part and I tried various approaches of permission levels but I cannot get the "worker" category working.

Is there something I can do with permissions level to make this work. Alternatively, is there another web part (not offered by a third party but included with SharePoint) that I should use instead? Could this be done only using workflows and, if so, do you have any pointers to offer?

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Part of this can be done with custom permission sets. You could create a new permission set for workers that allows them to edit but not add items, for example. This won't get you all the way there, but perhaps it could be helpful.

All the requirements can be met via a workflow using the 2010 workflow engine. In a workflow, you can change the permissions of a list item. So, when an item is added or modified, you could adjust the permissions based on who it was assigned to etc.

That said, having a large list with each item having custom permissions is not great for performance, and can be a bit difficult to manage after the fact. (for example, you'll need processes in place to adjust permissions when someone leaves and tasks need to be reassigned).

As an alternative, since everyone can see everything, you could also rely on views to guide people to the right items, and version history and auditing to deal with staff that use the system inappropriately. For example, you could create a view for workers that only shows them tasks assigned to them. If they assign a task to someone else, their name will be in the "created by" field and in the audit trail.

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