On Call

Improving your team's on-call experience

Your engineers probably dislike going on-call for your services. Some might even dread it. It doesn't have to be this way. With a few changes to how your team runs on-call, and deals with recurring alerts, you might find your team starting to enjoy it (as unimaginable as that sounds). I wrote this article as a follow-up to Getting over on-call anxiety.

Getting over on-call anxiety

You've joined a company, or worked there a little while, and you've just now realised that you'll have to do on-call. You feel like you don't know much about how everything fits together, how are you supposed to fix it at 2am when you get paged? So you're a little nervous. Understandable. Here are a few tips to help you become less nervous.

Equitably distribute on-call responsibility and streamline incident response with Round Robin Scheduling

PagerDuty is excited to introduce Round Robin Scheduling. Round Robin Scheduling allows teams to equitably distribute on-call shift responsibilities amongst team members. Automatically assigning new incidents across different users or on-call schedules on an escalation level ensures that teams are resolving incidents as efficiently as possible. And, by balancing the workload across multiple users, there’s less risk of burnout.

SRE and the Practice of Practice

Part of the trepidation of being on-call is encountering unfamiliar emergency scenarios where we are surprised by suddenly not knowing how to do our jobs. We feel lost and alone, complicated by the world around us, powerless to resolve or even mitigate the problem. On-call need not be a solo affair full of fear and anxiety. There are ways we can employ practice and open collaboration outside of incidents to prepare us better.

The Human Side of Being On-call: 5 Lessons for Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Life While Being On-call

Within DevOps, we talk a lot about the on-call process—but what about the human side of being on-call? For example, what are effective ways of managing stress and anxiety during a shift? How can one manage life situations that make being on-call difficult—such as being responsible for watching the kids during an on-call rotation? And how can an empathic team culture help prevent burnout and turnover?

Ask Miss O11y: I Don't Want to Be On Call Anymore. Am I a Monster?

First, I’d like to say that pager duty isn’t something we should treat like chronic pain or diabetes, where you just constantly manage symptoms and tend to flare-ups day and night. Being paged out of hours is as serious as a fucking heart attack. It should be RARE and taken SERIOUSLY. Resources should be mustered, product cycles should be reassigned, until the problem is fixed.