Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On-Call Best Practices

I've studied on-call best practices, and they all seem to come down to:

  1. Communicate. First think of yourself as in sales - you are selling your customers and co-workers that you are the buck stopper, and once you own problems, they WILL get fixed. Do whatever you have to do to cultivate that image, especially if you don't like the on-call portion of your job.
  2. Track what you do. You can bet your customer/co-worker/boss will, if they think you're slipping!
  3. Communicate. Tell people what you did.
  4. Track when you do it. This may seem to be a part of #1, above, but it really isn't. Using simple tools, like the calendar portion of your email client, is a pretty simple, integrated way to get this done.
  5. Communicate. The timeliness of your actions can make or break other peoples solutions, so don't be afraid to talk, talk, talk!
  6. Track how you do it. If you involve someone else, especially on the late night calls, a quick email outlining the steps you took while the issue is still fresh in your mind can (and will!) save you both later.
  7. Communicate. Telling others how to reproduce your success isn't being generous, it's being responsible.
I hope you see the pattern. :)