Tara Calihman - January 27, 2015
One of the hardest things about managing on-call for your team can be creating the schedule for on-call rotation. Are you going to go with a standard weekly rotation cycle? Do you have coworkers in other parts of the world you’ll have to include on this rotation? And what about holidays or vacation time…are those even allowed in your current on-call schedule? Is it up to individuals to sort out any substitutions or on-call swaps?
We’ve offered some tips on how to take care of your on-call team and how to prevent burnout. But when it comes to actually scheduling on-call rotations, regardless of whether you have a large team or a small one, there are a few challenges that seem universal.
Managing different groups of people who need to be included in the on-call process can end up being a nightmare of confusing spreadsheets. With VictorOps, it becomes a much easier process.
You can set up a team including everyone, a team for each domain expertise (database, dev, ops, support, etc.) or create a team that is made up of just one person, depending on the size of your company. Teams need an escalation policy to define who’s on-call and what actions should be taken when an alert comes in. Additionally, in order to make scheduling a little easier, you can have multiple rotations for each team, with multiple shifts in each rotation.
Having teams located all around the world can present a unique problem when setting up on-call schedules. Taking into account different time zones in a scheduling capacity is a complex process.
We had to rethink our entire calendaring user interface when building out this feature, adding the concept of shifts and on-duty users. Now, a rotation can contain several ‘shifts’ and while you may be in an on-call rotation for a week, you may currently be ‘off-duty’ until your next shift begins.
What happens when you know your daughter’s championship soccer game is going to fall during the week you’re on-call? Fortunately, we’ve planned for that exact scenario at VictorOps….probably because we’ve built the tool we’ve been needing for years.
The beauty of the scheduled override is that it allows users to request on-call coverage for any planned absence. Admins can then assign another user to override on-call for that period and any incidents routed to the absent user will instead page the overriding user. You can go into your on-call week knowing that you won’t have to miss out on the important things happening in your life.
These are just a few examples of how the VictorOps on-call software can help you manage IT on-call (or really any on-call) schedules. It’s all rolled into our alerting, collaboration and post-mortem tool. But if you really want to see all the innovation firsthand, the best way is to scroll down and start your free trial.
What on-call scheduling issues are you currently facing? Tell us in the comments and we’ll show you how we can help!