On-Call Group Scheduling: It’s about time!

Product Releases / Scheduling
Iain Rose ON Feb 05, 2015

xMatters is very proud to announce the single largest update to our product in years. We’re excited to roll out the brand new xMatters On-Call Scheduling and Group Administration interface.

Wait – why did we do this?
One of the initial motivations for rebooting groups was to simplify the process of maintaining groups and group memberships using tools such as EPIC or one of our Data Sync integrations. Along the way, our ambitions expanded beyond data sync optimization as we discovered an opportunity to build the – straight up, hands down – best on-call scheduling engine for a communication platform available on the market today.

So, this release is about time. It’s about reducing time to respond to and time to resolve critical incidents. It’s about the time when your staff are on-call or off-call. For more detail, read about on-call group scheduling and our Winter Release Overview on our Support website.

Simplified group creation
We’ve made creating an on-call group as simple as possible. We’ve reduced the steps needed to create on-call groups so that you can send messages to groups of people quickly and easily. And, building out your group with shifts and escalations is easier than ever.

Always know who’s on call and how to contact them
The new Group Overview page is the landing page you’ll see after creating a new group or viewing an existing group. This page summarizes the following key group information in an easy-to-consume format:

  • Who’s on call right now
  • How to contact the primary on-call member of a group
  • When the next shift change occurs
  • Who supervises a group
  • How many members belong to a group

Best of all, you can access this information in one place without having to navigate through complex menus or option lists.

See Who's On Call

See Who’s On Call – Click for a larger view

Manage shift schedules using our new drag-and-drop schedules
The new drag-and-drop calendar might be our favorite tool since we launched the xMatters mobile apps. This calendar allows you to build your shifts visually which means that you can easily:

  • Spot scheduling gaps (and eliminate them!)
  • Identify empty shifts that don’t have members
  • Configure and validate your shift recurrence rules
  • See who is or will be on call at any time from now until… well, forever.
Shift Schedules

Shift Schedules – Click for a larger view

Build and preview shift escalations using our new drag-and-drop timeline
The new timeline view is your visual toolbox for creating shift escalations. Its simple drag-and-drop interface allows you to create escalation rules and quickly see exactly how and when on-call members will be notified. The timeline lets you add members to shifts, set your escalation orders, and add escalation delays. You can then validate the final configuration against a visual representation that even your grandma can understand.


Timeline – Click for a larger view

See who’s on call now (or next week or next month)
The calendar comes in three fresh flavours. View your shifts using a daily, weekly or monthly view:

Three Calendar Views

Three Calendar Views – Click for a larger view

Create and preview rotation rules
You’ve probably guessed that simplification was a primary focus for us during this project.

To that end, we’ve simplified the way rotation rules are configured. The names of the rotation types have changed slightly, but the way they work to reduce alert fatigue and distribute events across your on-call teams is the same.

You’ll never be left wondering who’s your primary on-call member for a shift on any date you choose. You can use our daily, weekly or monthly calendar to click any shift on any date and see an accurate and up-to-date timeline view of the escalation rules that will be in effect during that shift:

Yup, it’s backward compatible with existing groups
This new interface is 100% backward compatible with existing group schedules. It’s also backward compatible with EPIC, User Upload and Data Import jobs, Data Sync integrations and our existing web services.

In fact, requirement #1 throughout this project is to not touch any existing customer’s group data. While keeping that data intact, we’ve focused (maniacally?) on providing much better ways to display and interact with existing group configurations.

Again, you can find more detail about on-call group scheduling and our Winter Release Overview on our Support website.