ServiceNow Incident: Write a Short Description

This article discusses how to write a clear, concise short description within ServiceNow. Short descriptions are applicable to Contact, Incident, Major Incident, Problem, and Request.

Note: Do not change the short descriptions of automated tickets, for example those received from '[email protected]'.

Guidelines to Follow

  • Start with the location (technological and/or physical)
    • Technological location (Moodle gradebook, Parent Portal, etc.)
    • Physical location (Anderson Hall, Coffman Union, etc.)
  • Include the nature of the issue
  • Be concise (140 char. max--the length of a text)
  • Be clear
    • Use customer-friendly language
    • Avoid department specific language or jargon
    • Use easily understood technical terms

Example 1

Poor Short Description

"P/G receiving €˜Request Failed. Critical error.'"

Actual Incident: The Parent Guest Access web application is unavailable due to a critical error. Parents use this application to pay their children's bills and view their grades. Students typically access it via

Suggested Short Description

"Parent Guest Access web application is unavailable to due to a server error."

Example 2

Poor Short Description

"Mobile Theme Icons Do Not Load."

Actual Incident: When accessing Moodle via Nexus 7 or iPad, the browser is unable to load and display the icons which link to other parts of the Moodle course. The icons show up as a gray placeholder.

Suggested short description

"Moodle - icons used for linking are not displaying while in a mobile view."

Example 3

Poor Short Description

"Group policy error for students logging in"

Actual Incident: Instructor is teaching a class in Anderson hall 150. They are trying to have a class in there right now (9:15 - 12:15 - it's 9:27 "right now"). He called to say only half the computers will login. They are getting the error "trying to find a group policy."

Suggested short description

"Anderson 150 computers can't login: €˜trying to find a group policy' error; Class in session!"