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What are escalation policies?

This article highlights a new alerting feature that's natively available in Jira Service Management which is gradually rolling out to some Jira Service Management Cloud customers. It may not yet be visible or available on your site.

When a team gets equipped to manage operations, it gets an escalation policy set by default. When an alert is assigned to a team, all team members have access to the alert and can see it on the alerts page.  Jira Service Management uses the team escalation policy to determine which team member to notify by default. You can change this behavior and notify other escalations/on-call schedules by setting routing rules.

You have to be a team admin to be able to edit or add new escalation policies. You can create multiple escalation policies for the same team. When adding an escalation, designate a name, description, and rules for that escalation. Routing rules define which escalation will be processed when an alert is assigned to the team.

How do escalations work?

When multiple users or a team (with multiple members) are specified as the responders of an alert, Jira Service Management notifies each user at the same time according to their notification preferences. However, notifying users in a desired order is required in most cases, instead of notifying all of them at once. Escalation policies notify responders according to a given order. After an escalation is added as a responder to an alert, the escalation rules notify responders when the specified time is over and the state of the alert meets the specified condition.

Each escalation rule can have one of the following as its responders:

  • Members designated as responders

  • Teams
    If the escalation rule is configured to have a team as its responder, routing rules of the specified team are applied while determining the notification targets.

  • All members of a team

  • Admin(s) of a team or member(s) of a team
    Only the default rules can be a target of an escalation.

  • A random member of a team
    Because of randomness, if this step is repeated, the same member can be chosen consecutively.

  • On-call members of a schedule

  • Next member of an on-call schedule

  • Previous member of an on-call schedule

The default team escalation policy is a good example to understand escalations. Using this escalation policy, Jira Service Management sends notifications to the on-call user(s) first based on the on-call schedule. The on-call members can view and acknowledge or close the alert. When the alert is acknowledged or closed, the escalation policy stops. If the alert remains unacknowledged or open after a set duration, then Jira Service Management executes the second escalation step and notifies the next user in the rotation.

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