Why Situational Awareness Matters


With their unique interactive videos, Rapt Media is changing the landscape of online video for the better. You can see a great example of their video platform on our home page. We chose Rapt to help tell our story of how we make on-call suck less because we wanted to show how awful it was before our product came along. It only made sense to use Rapt as their office is located a few blocks down the street and we’re proud that they are also a customer of ours.

I asked Jonathan Woodward, the VP of Engineering at Rapt, to talk a bit about how his team uses VictorOps and what part situational awareness plays in that.

You’ve joked before that you hate our product and love our product.

Well, I do love the oak leaf logo but I don’t always like seeing it on my phone. However, the best notification of all is the one that I get telling me I’m not on-call anymore.

What does situational awareness mean to you?

It’s always knowing the status of everything without having to bug someone on my team to find out what’s going with a particular environment. I don’t have to ask - I can just see a “snapshot” of my entire infrastructure.

How does VictorOps help with that?

It’s the certainty of knowing that I don’t have to think about it. I have confidence that nothing is going to slip through the cracks. There’s redundancy in the system, which provides relief, and then flexibility within the on-call rotation, which provides sanity. Even if I miss a push notification, my phone will ring…and I appreciate that added security measure.

VictorOps provides peace of mind because I know that when I open the VictorOps app, I can see exactly what’s happening. It’s not just situational awareness though - it’s more like situational comfort. If there is a problem, I know exactly what I’m going to have to do and I know things aren’t super-critical.

What’s the value to adding a VP to the escalation policy?

It makes the rest of the team feel good knowing I’m part of the on-call escalation policy. We have a blameless culture at Rapt so it’s less about checking up on my team and more about being a contributing member. I become better at my job by having the ability to see how an alert affects us.

What else do you like about VictorOps?

The ease and simplicity of managing the tool. It’s simple to scale the team and bring more people into the on-call rotation. You don’t have to change anything, you don’t have to change tools, you just add another seat. This is going to be huge when we start to bring new devs into the process.

And if we do have to make changes, it’s not hard to rearrange schedules. The scheduled overrides feature is spot on in that it makes it very easy to cover if someone is going on vacation.

In conclusion…

VictorOps provides me the ability to piece together a series of events and gives clues about where to go to find the answer. That’s invaluable to me.

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Let us help you make on-call suck less.