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Mean Time to Resolution


Definition: What Is Mean Time to Resolution?

Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) is a key performance metric used to measure the average time it takes to resolve an issue or incident from the moment it is reported until it is successfully resolved. This metric is crucial for assessing the efficiency and responsiveness of a system, process, or support team in addressing and resolving problems.

Other Meanings of MTTR

While MTTR commonly refers to Mean Time to Resolution in the context of issue resolution, it’s important to note that the abbreviation has other nuanced meanings in different domains.

Mean Time to Recover (MTTR):

In the realm of system reliability and maintenance, MTTR may also stand for Mean Time to Recover. This metric focuses on the average duration required to restore a system to normal functioning after a failure. While similar in acronym, MTTR for recovery pertains more to restoring overall system functionality rather than specifically resolving reported issues.

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR):

Another interpretation of MTTR is Mean Time to Repair, often employed in the context of equipment or machinery maintenance. MTTR in this sense measures the average time it takes to repair a malfunctioning piece of equipment and return it to operational status.

Despite sharing the same abbreviation, it is crucial to recognize these distinctions to avoid confusion, as each variant of MTTR serves a unique purpose in assessing different aspects of operational efficiency and reliability.

Why Is Mean Time to Resolution Important?

  • Efficiency Benchmark: MTTR is a good metric for evaluating the efficiency of issue resolution processes. It quantifies the speed at which problems are addressed, providing a clear benchmark to assess the overall effectiveness of support or maintenance teams.
  • User Satisfaction: Swift resolution times contribute to higher user satisfaction by minimizing disruptions. MTTR is a good metric for measuring user experience, indicating how promptly issues are resolved and ultimately enhancing satisfaction levels.
  • Operational Continuity: Low MTTR ensures minimal downtime, promoting continuous operational flow. This metric is crucial for maintaining smooth operations, as it highlights the organization’s ability to swiftly recover from incidents, reducing disruptions to the workflow.
  • Resource Optimization: MTTR helps identify areas for improvement in resource allocation and team effectiveness. It serves as a valuable tool for optimizing resources, pinpointing inefficiencies and allowing organizations to allocate personnel and tools more effectively.
  • Performance Monitoring: Enables real-time monitoring of support team performance and responsiveness. MTTR is a good metric for tracking ongoing performance, allowing organizations to identify trends, make proactive adjustments, and continuously improve their support processes.
  • Cost Management: Efficient MTTR reduces the financial impact of prolonged system disruptions. It is a key metric for cost management, as minimizing resolution times helps mitigate potential financial losses associated with extended downtimes and service interruptions.

What Is the Formula for Calculating Mean Time to Resolve?

In the realm of performance metrics, understanding the Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) is paramount for organizations seeking to enhance their operational efficiency. This metric offers a quantifiable measure of how swiftly issues are addressed and resolved, playing a pivotal role in gauging the overall effectiveness of support or maintenance teams.

The Mean Time to Resolution formula is expressed as:

MTTR = Total time to resolve all issues /Number of issues resolved

  • Total Time to Resolve All Issues:

This involves adding up the time taken to resolve each individual issue. This includes the time from when the problem is first reported until it is successfully resolved.

  • Number of Issues Resolved:

This represents the total count of issues that were successfully resolved within the specified timeframe.

By applying the mean time to resolution formula, you can calculate the average time it takes to resolve issues, providing a valuable metric for performance measurement.


Consider an IT support team that resolves three issues with respective resolution times of 6 hours, 8 hours, and 10 hours. The mean time to resolution would be calculated as follows:

MTTR = (6+8+10)/3=24/3=8 hours

This indicates that, on average, the team takes 8 hours to resolve an issue.

Caveats for Calculating MTTR:

  • Uniform Time Recording:

Ensure consistent recording of resolution times. Variability in how time is measured can skew the accuracy of MTTR.

  • Exclude Outliers:

In situations where extreme outliers are present, it may be prudent to exclude these from the calculation to prevent distortions in the mean.

When and How to Use Mean Time to Resolution

Knowing when and how to utilize MTTR is crucial for organizations aiming to streamline their operations and enhance overall service delivery.

When to Use MTTR:

  • Incident Response Evaluation: MTTR is particularly useful for assessing how promptly and effectively an organization responds to and resolves reported incidents. It serves as a key performance indicator in incident management.
  • User Satisfaction Metrics: Utilize MTTR as a metric for evaluating user satisfaction. Swift issue resolution times contribute to a positive user experience and higher satisfaction levels.
  • Continuous Improvement Initiatives: Incorporate MTTR into continuous improvement initiatives. By measuring resolution times, organizations can identify areas for optimization in their support or maintenance processes.

How to Use MTTR:

  • Monitoring Performance: Use MTTR as a real-time performance monitor for support teams. It enables organizations to track responsiveness and identify trends over time.
  • Setting Performance Goals: Employ MTTR to set realistic performance goals. Organizations can establish benchmarks based on historical data and strive to improve their mean time to resolution over time.
  • Resource Optimization: MTTR helps in optimizing resource allocation. By analyzing resolution times, organizations can identify bottlenecks and allocate resources more effectively.

What Is a Good Mean Time to Resolve?

Determining what constitutes a “good” Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR) is a nuanced evaluation that depends on various factors, including the nature of the organization, the type of issues being addressed, and the expectations of end-users. In essence, a good MTTR is one that aligns with the specific goals and service level agreements (SLAs) set by the organization.

Factors Influencing a Good MTTR:

  • Nature of the Issues: The complexity and severity of the reported issues significantly impact what is considered a good MTTR. More intricate problems may naturally require a longer resolution time.
  • Industry Standards and SLAs: Industry benchmarks and predefined SLAs play a crucial role in determining a good MTTR. Meeting or exceeding these standards demonstrates effectiveness in issue resolution.
  • User Expectations: Aligning with user expectations is paramount. A good MTTR is one that meets or surpasses the expectations of end-users, contributing to higher satisfaction levels.
  • Organizational Goals: The goals of the organization also influence what is considered a good MTTR. Some organizations prioritize rapid issue resolution to minimize downtime, while others may emphasize thorough and accurate solutions.

Benchmarking for a Good MTTR:

  • Comparisons with Industry Peers: Comparing MTTR with industry peers provides context. Understanding how similar organizations perform in terms of resolution times can help gauge competitiveness.
  • Historical Performance: Analyzing historical performance within the organization is crucial. Tracking improvements or identifying patterns of prolonged resolution times allows for informed decision-making.
  • Continuous Improvement: A good MTTR is part of a continuous improvement process. Setting realistic goals, monitoring performance, and adapting strategies based on feedback contribute to ongoing enhancement.

What Affects the Mean Time to Resolution?

Several factors influence the Mean Time to Resolution, impacting the efficiency and effectiveness of issue resolution processes within an organization.

  • Issue Complexity: More complex issues naturally require additional time for analysis, diagnosis, and resolution. The intricacy of the reported problem significantly affects the MTTR.
  • Skill and Expertise of the Team: The proficiency of the support or maintenance team members directly influences how quickly and accurately they can identify and resolve issues. Ongoing training and skill development are critical.
  • Availability of Resources: Adequate resources, including personnel, tools, and technology, are essential for efficient issue resolution. Resource shortages can lead to delays in addressing and resolving reported problems.
  • Effective Communication: Clear communication channels between users reporting issues and the support team are crucial. Miscommunication or delays in information exchange can impact the overall time it takes to resolve issues.
  • Process Efficiency: The efficiency of the issue resolution process itself is a key factor. Streamlining workflows, implementing effective escalation procedures, and optimizing procedures contribute to a shorter MTTR.
  • Tools and Technology: The availability and effectiveness of tools and technology used for issue tracking, analysis, and resolution play a significant role. Outdated or inefficient tools can hinder the resolution process.

Mean Time to Resolve and Other Metrics

While Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR) is a valuable metric for assessing how swiftly issues are addressed, relying solely on MTTR might provide an incomplete picture of the overall incident management and support performance. A holistic understanding of incident metrics involves considering a spectrum of measurements that collectively offer a comprehensive view of the efficiency, effectiveness, and user impact within an organization.

Why MTTR Alone Is Insufficient:

  • Limited Context: MTTR, on its own, lacks context about the nature and frequency of incidents. It provides a numeric value for resolution time but doesn’t necessarily reveal the broader incident landscape.
  • User Experience: While MTTR measures the resolution speed, it doesn’t directly gauge user experience during the incident. Metrics related to user satisfaction and feedback become crucial to evaluate the overall impact on end-users.
  • Process Effectiveness: MTTR doesn’t inherently reveal the effectiveness of the incident resolution process. Metrics related to first-time resolution rates and recurrence of incidents offer insights into the robustness of the support workflow.
  • Prevention and Proactivity: MTTR is reactive, focusing on resolution times after incidents occur. Incorporating metrics related to incident prevention and proactive problem management provides a forward-looking perspective.

Complementary Incident Metrics:

  • Incident Frequency: Tracking the frequency of incidents offers insight into how often issues arise. The high incident frequency may indicate underlying systemic problems that need attention.
  • First-Time Resolution Rate: This metric assesses the percentage of incidents resolved on the first attempt. A high first-time resolution rate indicates efficiency, reducing the need for repeated user interactions.
  • User Satisfaction and Feedback: Collecting user feedback and satisfaction ratings provides a qualitative understanding of how incidents impact users beyond just resolution times.
  • Incident Volume Trends: Understanding the trends in incident volume over time helps identify potential patterns or recurring issues that may require preventive measures.
  • Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF): MTBF measures the average time between the occurrence of incidents. It complements MTTR by providing insights into system reliability and stability.
  • Change Success Rate: Evaluating the success rate of changes can indicate how well the organization adapts and implements modifications without causing disruptions or incidents.
  • Escalation Rate: Monitoring how often incidents are escalated to higher support levels provides insights into the complexity of reported issues and the efficiency of the support team.

By integrating these metrics, organizations can gain a more nuanced understanding of their incident management performance. A proactive approach, considering prevention, user experience, and the overall incident landscape, ensures a well-rounded evaluation. Combining MTTR with these complementary metrics offers a holistic view that aids in continuous improvement and the delivery of a robust and responsive support environment.

How to Reduce the Mean Time to Resolution

Reducing Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) is paramount for organizations aiming to enhance operational efficiency and provide swift issue resolution. Employing strategic approaches can significantly contribute to achieving this objective.

  • Implement Robust Incident Tracking Systems: Utilize advanced incident tracking systems that not only record incidents but also provide real-time insights into the entire lifecycle of each reported issue. These systems help in pinpointing bottlenecks, streamlining workflows, and ensuring efficient collaboration among support teams.
  • Automate Routine Tasks: Identify and automate routine, time-consuming tasks in the resolution process. Automation can expedite repetitive procedures, allowing support teams to focus on more complex issues that require human intervention.
  • Establish Clear Communication Protocols: Foster transparent and effective communication channels between support teams and end-users. Clear communication ensures that pertinent information is exchanged promptly, reducing the time spent on deciphering the nature of reported issues.
  • Invest in Training and Skill Development: Equip support teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to address a diverse range of issues efficiently. Regular training sessions and skill development programs empower teams to resolve problems more swiftly and accurately.
  • Leverage Predictive Analytics: Integrate predictive analytics to anticipate potential issues before they escalate. By analyzing historical data and patterns, organizations can proactively address and resolve incidents, minimizing the overall MTTR.
  • Promote Knowledge Sharing: Establish a culture of knowledge sharing within the support team. Encourage the documentation of successful resolution strategies, creating a centralized repository of best practices that can be accessed and utilized by team members.
  • Set Realistic Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Define clear and achievable SLAs that align with organizational goals. Realistic SLAs help in managing user expectations and provide a framework for the timely resolution of issues.
  • Continuous Performance Monitoring: Implement continuous performance monitoring of support processes. Regularly review and analyze metrics, identifying areas for improvement and adjusting strategies to enhance overall efficiency.
  • Leverage Advanced Monitoring Tools: Utilize monitoring tools to enhance tracking capabilities. These tools provide detailed metrics and service level agreement (SLA) tracking stats within a support ticketing system. The alerting features can trigger incident detection, enabling proactive response and contributing to a decreased MTTR. Integrating such tools into the incident resolution process enhances visibility and accelerates response times.

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