Starting an on-call rotation can be like opening a door into the unknown. You don’t know if it will be a bad week or if it will be an especially bad week. You don’t know what to expect. Thinking that historical information from past on-call rotations might yield useful insights, Etsy’s Operations team set out to quantify the on-call experience, identify what made it difficult, and use those data to reduce the incidence of pain points in an attempt to make being on call more bearable.
In this presentation, we’ll briefly discuss our motivations behind quantifying the on-call experience including:
We’ll highlight the methods and tools we’ve used to gather and present data such as:
Regular reviews of on-call reports lead to improving the experience, including a 30% decrease in the number of un-actionable alerts over the course of nearly a year (image: Alert Overview for Year-to-date). The reports identified problems for which we could now take action and correct, including:
While we can’t eliminate the anxiety an engineer may feel when going on call, we have surfaced several unknowns about the experience that are actionable. It is our hope that sharing what we’ve learned will help others gain visibility into their own on-call rotations and give them a better idea of what to expect.
Ryan is a Senior Operations Engineer at Etsy. He loves to solve puzzles, play with his kids’ Legos, and learn new things. Like the harmonica.
Operations all day and night. Previously at Last.fm, now at Etsy.com
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