Discover how to expertly manage On-Call rotations for Incident Response with practical tips & best practices for a smoother incident management process to keep your services uninterrupted.
Navigating On-Call rotations can often feel like taming a storm of alerts and constant disruptions, leaving teams overwhelmed and stressed. Hence there is a need to streamline On-Call rotations and leverage concerned software to restore order and peace. In this guide, you’ll explore practical tips, best practices, and smart strategies to transform your Incident Management process. Let’s get to a more efficient On-Call experience.
An On-Call rotation is when team members take turns being available during business and non-business hours to handle urgent issues, incidents or emergencies. They need to respond quickly to any problems that may come up, ensuring that services run smoothly even during off-hours. On-Call rotation is common in but not limited to IT, healthcare, and customer support industries, where continuous service is essential for success.
On-Call rotation aims to avoid any unforeseen major incident or tackle them before they escalate to something serious and result in SLA violations. So, it’s the first step towards ensuring customer satisfaction & reliability.
With a diverse user base spanning across different time zones, some organizations would need a solution to ensure 24/7 support without causing burnout. Having ‘follow the sun’ schedule for an On-Call would help address the requirement. It is a strategy that ensures round-the-clock coverage and support for customers or clients in different time zones.
This arrangement involves scheduling On-Call responsibilities based on the working hours of different regions.
For example, if your company operates in multiple locations globally, you could divide the On-Call duties into three shifts: Americas, Europe/Africa, and Asia/Pacific.
The America shift would cover the working hours in North and South America, while the Europe/Africa shift would handle the European and African time zones, and the Asia/Pacific shift would take care of the working hours in Asia and the Pacific region.
This schedule helps ensure that there is always someone available On-Call. Here is a case study demonstrating flexible scheduling implementation by Klever’s On-Call team.
They’ve efficiently organized their on-call team into squads responsible for specific regions and time zones. Team members can set their preferred On-Call slots, enabling a fair distribution of responsibilities and a healthier work-life balance.
Being constantly available and dealing with critical incidents can cause high stress and burnout among On-Call personnel. Poorly designed On-Call rotations can lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety & reduced productivity.
On-Call engineers may receive alerts or notifications for non-critical issues, leading to unnecessary disruptions and wasted effort. They might experience lack of concentration during critical incident or while getting a feature out.
Ensuring smooth handovers and effective knowledge transfer between On-Call shifts can be difficult, risking miscommunication or incomplete incident understanding. Not all team members have the same level of expertise, and certain incidents might require specific skills, which can be a challenge during On-Call rotations.
During periods of high activity, such as holidays or product launches, managing On-Call rotations effectively becomes crucial to handle increased incident volume.
Continuous On-Call duties without proper recognition or support may negatively impact employee morale and job satisfaction.
Quick response times in various time zones can be challenging, especially when team members are located globally. Inadequate documentation and communication practices can also hinder incident resolution, leading to delays in MTTR.
On-Call engineers require fast and secure access to the systems and data for troubleshooting and resolving incidents. Without the toolset in hands, they’ll miss alerts, and which will result in higher mean time to acknowledge.
And these challenges keep piling up based on the nature of your IT Incident Management processes.
Addressing On-Call rotation challenges requires thoughtful planning, clear policies, and ongoing support to ensure that these rotations are efficient, sustainable, and beneficial for both the organization and its employees.
For an On-Call rotation schedule that covers all the key challenges & also promotes a healthy culture with best SRE practices, follow these:
For targeting all the above, here’s what you need to do:
When it comes to navigating the complexities of On-Call rotation, rest assured that Squadcast has your back.
With Squadcast's intelligent automation, you can effectively combat alert fatigue and streamline your On-Call processes. The platform offers routing rules based on event tags, ensuring that alerts reach the right On-Call responder promptly and efficiently. By defining tags for services and adding granular conditions, you have full control over how incidents are managed.
To minimize alert noise, Squadcast allows you to group and organize duplicate alerts using alert deduplication rules. This ensures that your team focuses on critical issues and reduces unnecessary distractions.
Assigning priority to incidents is made simple with P1, P2, and P3 and similar custom classifications. Critical incidents that demand immediate attention can be classified as P1, while still high-priority threats with a 24-hour response time can fall under P2. Less urgent alerts can be categorized as P3, helping your team prioritize their actions accordingly.
To avoid confusion during On-Call rotations, Squadcast's escalation policies come to the rescue. You can set up multiple layers within the policies and define time frames, ensuring that the right person receives the alert without disturbing additional responders during odd-hours. This flexibility accommodates multiple users who take turns handling On-Call responsibilities, making scheduling a breeze.
Squadcast allows users to customize notification mediums. On-Call responders can choose their preferred means of notification, whether it's through email, push notifications, or text messages, optimizing their response time and ensuring they stay connected.
With the Squadcast Slackbot, incident response communication is strengthened. Creating an incident or utilizing message actions is as simple as calling the Squadcast Bot into the relevant channel, making coordination seamless and effortless.
The concept of squads further enhances teamwork within your organization. By creating squads, you can directly assign certain incidents to specific groups within teams. This feature ensures that On-Call members are added to schedules and receive simultaneous notifications during critical situations. Squads serve as coordinated response units, acting as the final level of notification in an Escalation Policy when an incident remains unacknowledged. This robust approach guarantees effective Incident Management and promotes smooth coordination within your team.
Incorporating Squadcast into your On-Call scheduling brings a wealth of benefits, helping you optimize incident response, minimize alert fatigue, and foster collaborative teamwork. Discover the power of Squadcast and experience a better way to manage On-Call rotations and incident handling.
Squadcast effectively addresses On-Call challenges in a subtle manner, making it a great alternative to other On-Call alerting tools in the market. When compared to other competitors, Squadcast offers optimized pricing too. Check out Squadcast as a Pagerduty alternative and Opsgenie alternative.
Interested to know more about Squadcast? Here’s where you book a Squadcast demo!
There are many Squadcast’s On-Call rotation case studies that have cracked the code to manage On-Call rotations. Notable ones include:
On-Call engineers act as the frontline in detecting and resolving customer-impacting outages promptly. Establishing an effective On-Call rotation process is vital to achieve round-the-clock issue management and provide continuous support.
With the right approach, you'll be On-Callin' it like a pro!
Squadcast is a Reliability Workflow platform that integrates On-Call alerting and Incident Management along with SRE workflows in one offering. Designed for a zero-friction setup, ease of use and clean UI, it helps developers, SREs and On-Call teams proactively respond to outages and create a culture of learning and continuous improvement.