I remember it well, a warm summer evening in June. I had planned to take my wife Kaleisha out on a date to a nice pizza restaurant in the area. We had gotten all dressed up and looked stunning for our date. We had just arrived to the restaurant and just before walking in my phone began to buzz. “Bzzzzz…, Bzzzzz…”. My anxiety levels skyrocketed. I knew what it was, and had just hoped this wouldn’t happen to us, especially on our date. Looking down to my phone, my worst fears were confirmed: there was a incident being reported, and I was the primary on-call. It was at this point, I regretfully had to cancel the date with my wife and rush back home work work the incident.
I felt tethered to my desk, not dare walk out the door, much less have a life while I was on-call. What made things worse was that my team had terrible on-call management. Literally everyone on my team was notified every time there was an incident, and you just hoped the primary responder would answer (in a timely fashion). If they didn’t you hoped the “nice guy” on your team would take the call.
This system led to many problems:
- Everyone was effectively on-call all the time, with a “primary on-call” by name.
- I never gave out my real phone number. I actually purchased a separate “work phone” that I hardly ever answered and only used for on-call.
- If the primary on-call didn’t answer, it was a game of hot potato to see which nice guy would answer the call first.
- I became exhausted and overwhelmed of always being on-call and spammy alerts.
- Our customers received a poor support experience with calls long response times or even dropped incidents.
I knew there had to be a better way and that somehow I could fix my problem. The solution was simple: Make meaningful alerts, intelligently route them, and provide layers of backup. This would solve the problems my team was having.
- There would truly be a “primary” and “secondary” on-call, and they would be accountable.
- I wouldn’t need 2 phone numbers, because I would only be notified when I needed to be.
- If the primary on-call couldn’t answer, there would always be an official backup secondary on-call.
- I wouldn’t be so exhausted from spammy always on-call alerts.
- Our customers would get a better support experience and faster response times when incidents occurred.
I looked for a solution. Many existed, but all of them were hard to use and really expensive. Being motivated to solve my problem and a software engineer at heart, I set out to fix my problem. Thus, PagerTree was born.
PagerTree is the simplest solution to on-call rotation. Using on-call schedules and escalation rules your team will get meaningful alerts delivered to the right person every time. With PagerTree, your team will be more effective and likely to answer calls and your customers will receive better support when incidents do arise.
Say goodbye to bad on-call, and hello to smart on-call.
If you haven’t signed up already, sign up today! With PagerTree, your on-call situation could be so much better.
Credits to theawkwardyeti.com for the funny comic.