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How do on-call schedules work in operations?

The feature described in this article is currently rolling out to some Jira Service Management Cloud customers. It may not yet be visible or available on your site.

On-call schedule management in Jira Service Management is an essential aspect of the response process and it helps you ensure that the right team members are available to respond to alerts when required.

When you launch your team’s operations, Jira Service Management automatically creates your first on-call schedule, routing rule and escalation policy. These schedules are designed to help admins and team admins quickly kickstart their on-call configuration and manage them with ease afterward.

A team’s on-call schedule consists of several fundamental elements. In the following section, we will delve into these essential components.

Schedules

An on-call schedule is a collection of rotations that define when different team members are responsible for handling incidents and alerts. Schedules can be customized according to specific team requirements, including timezone settings and rotation types. A team can have multiple schedules based on timezones, services, locations, or any other parameter that the team needs.

Schedule preview

As you define rotations and their parameters, Jira Service Management automatically calculates and displays who will be on-call and when giving you a clear overview of your team's on-call responsibilities.

A schedule consists of three layers. By having these distinct layers, Jira Service Management provides comprehensive visibility into the planned, modified, and actual on-call status, ensuring transparency and accuracy in managing on-call rotations.

  • Base: This is where the initial planning of the schedule is visible. It represents the original intended shifts and participants.

  • Overrides: This layer reflects the changes made to the base layer by overrides. When overrides occur, such as shift swaps or substitutions, the Overrides layer captures these modifications. Read how to override an on-call schedule.

  • Final: The Final layer, displays the actualized on-call coverage. It showcases the historical records of who was actually on-call during specific time periods, accounting for any overrides or adjustments made over time.

Rotations

Rotations are groups of shifts that take turns handling the on-call, following the same cycle, ensuring fair distribution and rotation of on-call duties. Multiple rotations with different participants, rotation durations, and time intervals can be defined within a schedule. Each rotation has a designated start date, while the end date is optional, allowing for flexibility in scheduling. When an alert is escalated through a schedule, all on-call users from different rotations are notified.

Shift

A shift represents a designated time period during which specific individuals, teams, escalations, or the absence of anyone (No one) are responsible for on-call duties and handling alerts. It is the smallest element within an on-call schedule and plays a crucial role in ensuring effective alert response and coverage.

Participants

Shift participants refer to the individuals, teams, escalations, or the absence of anyone (No one) assigned to a specific shift within an on-call schedule. These participants play a crucial role in determining who is responsible for responding to alerts during the designated time period.

Teams and team members as participants

Shift participants can be individuals who possess the required skills and knowledge to handle incoming alerts and incidents effectively. They can also be entire teams that collectively share the on-call responsibilities, allowing for collaborative incident response.

Escalations as participants

Escalations can be assigned as shift participants. Escalations represent a set of rules that define the order and recipients to whom alerts should be routed if the initial participants are unavailable or do not acknowledge the alert within a specified timeframe.

“No one” as participant

Jira Service Management provides the option to assign No one as a shift participant, indicating that there is no designated person or team on the call, during that particular shift. No one can also be used in the event of team changes when you want to retain the structure of the shift rotations. However, even when No one is assigned, Jira Service Management ensures that urgent alerts are still properly addressed by utilizing escalation policies or routing rules to direct the alert to the appropriate recipient.

Rotation timings

While creating rotations, you can define specific parameters such as shift durations, starting date and time, end date and time, participants, and shift frequency (daily, weekly, or custom). These parameters help in customizing the on-call schedule to suit your team's needs and preferences.

Shift durations in Jira Service Management provide flexibility in defining the time periods during which participants are on-call. There are five default duration types available, each catering to different scheduling needs:

  1. Monday to Sunday, 24 hours (Continous): This duration type covers all days of the week, operating on a continuous 24-hour basis. It ensures round-the-clock coverage throughout the entire week.

  2. Monday to Sunday (8 am to 5 pm): This duration type spans the entire week but is limited to the hours between 8 am and 5 pm. It is particularly useful for on-call rotations that only require coverage during regular business hours.

  3. Monday to Friday (8 am to 5 pm): This duration type focuses on weekdays, specifically from Monday to Friday, and covers the standard working hours of 8 am to 5 pm. It is suitable for on-call schedules that align with typical business days and hours.

  4. Monday to Friday (5 pm to 8 am): This duration type targets weekdays after regular business hours, starting from 5 pm and extending until 8 am the following day. It is designed for on-call rotations that specifically handle alerts occurring outside of normal working hours.

  5. Friday to Monday (Continous): This duration type encompasses the entire weekend, starting from Friday at 5 pm and continuing until Monday at 9 am. It ensures comprehensive coverage throughout the entire weekend period.

Custom shifts

In addition to the default duration types, Jira Service Management also provides the option to create custom shift durations. This allows users to define their own specific time periods and intervals for on-call shifts, tailoring them to their organization's unique requirements.

The frequency of these shifts can be assigned as weekly, daily, or custom. The selected frequency determines how the participants rotate within the defined durations. Whether it's a daily rotation, weekly rotation, or a custom rotation pattern, Jira Service Management ensures that participants are assigned on-call duties based on the specified duration and frequency.

All on-call schedules

All users can check their on-call status from their Your Work page in Jira or the Home screen on Jira Cloud mobile app. The On-Call Schedules widget on this page displays your current on-call status, whether you're part of one or multiple teams. If you belong to multiple teams or want to view other teams' on-call schedules without navigating to their operations, select View All from the on-call schedules widget.

 

Your shifts

This section offers a consolidated view of all your shifts at a glance. You may have multiple on-call duties across various teams, and the calendar will display all your shifts for the selected time period. Similar to your team's on-call page, Jira Service Management updates the schedule whenever you change the period range to ensure you're viewing the most current version of your shifts. If your shift starts or ends outside the selected period, you may need to switch to the next or previous periods to see the exact shift duration. Nevertheless, you can access all the rotations and schedules you're assigned to.

All on-call schedules

In this section, you can search for all schedules within your organization, categorized by teams and people. This allows you to easily identify who is on-call for specific teams and rotations at any given time. You can expand to view the schedule details or visit the team's page or operations page by selecting the team's name.

My schedules (for mobile only)

In this tab, you can search for your schedules and identify who is on-call for specific teams and rotations at any given time. Use this tab to view the schedules that you’re a part of.

My on-call times (for mobile only)

This tab gives you a calendar view of all dates in the month when you’re on-call. Your current status and upcoming on-call times are indicated at the bottom of the calendar view.

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