How to Become an All-Star on Your On-Call Team
Whether you’re a seasoned IT veteran or an up-and-coming rookie in the field, it’s key that IT teams understand how to develop the most effective processes and plans for on-call schedules and rotations.
Let’s take a look at some best practices that IT pros can use to become all-stars on their on-call teams.
Ensuring That You Don’t Strike Out on Alerts
An on-call all-star shouldn’t rely on her email inbox to receive critical alerts. Instead, she should “bench” her email from the communication tool starting lineup, recognizing that it either misses or fails to provide timely IT notifications—a very lackluster performance!
In order to keep email on the sidelines, support teams need to adopt an incident alert management platform that includes a smartphone app and provides noticeable, persistent notifications exclusively for high-priority incidents. With this type of system in place, critical alerts are never missed, alert fatigue is reduced and burnout is decreased.
Selecting the Right Talent
Similarly to pro sports’ Draft Night events, where teams recruit talented college athletes to join their organizations, IT support teams also need to select the right people to make their on-field performances (i.e., incident resolution practices) even better!
For on-call scheduling to run smoothly, rotations need to be equipped with qualified IT support pros that have the proper capabilities with a mix of skill sets and experience. By selecting the most qualified engineers to their on-call roster, support teams can ensure that IT-related issues are swiftly managed during after-hours, weekends and vacation periods.
Also, creating an effective on-call rotation ensures that support team collaboration is both effective and streamlined. So, if Joe is sound asleep during the late-night weekend hours, he can rest assured knowing that Jill, an awake and qualified engineer, will be responsible for an escalated alert. Additionally, with an incident alert management platform, on-call teams and rotations can include IT support members from 175 countries and 24 different time zones.
Organizing On-Call Rotations for Heightened Team Performance
In pro sports, perfected team collaboration equates to a first place standing among other league teams. Much is the same with support teams that leverage on-call scheduling and rotations for heightened team performance.
IT managers are responsible for shifting on-call duties, determining who’s next in line based on engineers’ current workloads and schedules. This can be achieved through a digital on-call scheduler for shift determination based on predetermined times.
From there, heavily tasked engineers, who’ve been resolving service and IT-based alerts for hours, can forward their on-call duties to less stressed teammates. This way, support teams can ensure that all engineers get an equal share of the duties, while also maintaining flexibility to avoid being overworked.
Adding Audit Trails to Incident Resolution Operations
In an engineer’s world, an IT manager plays the role of head coach, ensuring that the on-call support team follows his incident resolution game plan. Fortunately, audit trails make a manager’s life easier as they provide:
- Instant visibility on incident notifications and escalations through digital timestamps
- Comprehensive information about an alert and its message details
- Timely details regarding when an alert was sent, received and addressed by an on-call team member
In the unlikely case that all on-call engineers fail to address an alert, IT managers can then adjust their incident resolution game plans by analyzing post-mortem reports. Similar to an NFL coach, who watches tape on an opponent that defeated his team, IT managers can use post-mortem reports to, (1) review important details, (2) discover any performance issues and (3) adjust these flaws in time for a future incident.
Additionally, these post-mortem reports include informative charts, detailing who addressed an incident and how much time he or she spent resolving the issue. Whether it’s a time-related problem or an engineer’s lackluster performance, post-mortems ensure that IT managers identify the workflow issues that hinder on-call team motivation.
By using these on-call best practices, IT managers can improve their incident resolution operations, while also empowering their engineers to become all-stars on their talented support teams.