Comparing Parent-Child Cases to Subcases

Within Dovetail Agent, we support both Subcases, and Parent-Child Cases.

A common question is: What’s the difference, and when would I use one vs the other?

So lets address that question here.




Subcases allow for multiple employees to work in parallel on a single Case.  You can “subcontract” pieces of the work to other employees.


For example, we may have a Case for a New Employee. As part of that, we can create 3 subcases:

  • Create a General subcase for setting up the employee’s network account and dispatch to the Network queue.
  • Create an Administrative subcase for ordering business cards and assign to the office admin.
  • Create a General subcase for creating the user’s account in the CRM system, and dispatch to a queue based on auto-destination rules.

All of those 3 subcases can be worked by different people or teams, and that work can be done in parallel.

Once all of the subcases are complete, the case can be closed.

Bonus: Use Task Manager to automate the creation and routing of subcases.


Parent and Child Cases

With parent and child cases, we can relate a group of similar problems with a root cause.  The parent case identifies the root cause. A child case is a customer problem that arises due to the root cause and is linked to the parent case.

For example, suppose someone knocks out a utility pole, which causes an internet outage for many customers.

Each customer may call into the call center and report the outage. We can relate all of these cases to a parent case, which is where the repair is being tracked. Updates on the repair are tracked within the parent case.  Only one case needs to be updated, thus removing duplicate work.





Now that we’ve covered what subcases and parent-child cases are, and how they’re used, lets highlight some of the main differences.

  • With subcases, there is only one customer involved. With parent-child cases, we have the same or related problem for many customers.
  • With subcases, each subcase is actively worked in parallel. With parent-child cases, typically only the parent case is actively worked.
  • With subcases, the main case cannot be closed until all General subcases have been closed. You can close the main case if there are open Administrative subcases.
  • With parent-child cases, you can close the parent case even if any of the child cases are open.
  • Subcases typically have a due date, where the case owner is looking to have that subcontracted piece of work completed by.


Wrap Up

So that’s an overview of subcases and parent-child cases – what they are, how they’re used, and some of the main differences.

There’s value in each, but they do have different use cases, which can sometimes be a bit confusing to determine.

If you’re need more guidance or have more questions, feel free to reach out – I’m always happy to discuss.


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