Supported On-call Schedules & Rotations

This document will help you create daily, weekly and custom schedules and will also help you understand how to create recurring or one-off schedules on Squadcast

Squadcast provides a completely customizable schedules feature where you can configure almost any regular or complex schedules that are followed by organizations today.

This document walks you through some popularly used schedules and how you can set them up on Squadcast. For more information on some basics of schedule creation on Squadcast, please go through this.

Squadcast Schedules is built to address any kind of complex shifts, even those that are not mentioned in this article. We'd be happy to walk you through setting this up if your use case is not covered here or is too complex. Do drop us a line here and we'll get back to you shortly.

Daily Rotations

Members of your team are rotated on a daily basis to handle on-call for a particular service. You can choose to add multiple users or a squad for the rotations.

  1. Go over to the Schedules tab from the navigation sidebar. Click on the + button on the right corner of the screen.
  1. You can name the schedule with the type of rotation it is or the service for which the schedule is created. You can add a description to the schedule that provides more context to the on-call schedule.

You can use letters, numbers and special characters in both these spaces.

  1. You can customize this further by adding a different colour to the created schedule. You can choose from one of the shown colours from the palate or you can add your own by typing in the appropriate HEX code.

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Default Schedule Colour

By default, the colour for the schedule will be #0F61DD

  1. To add rotations to the created schedule, click on the date from which you want your schedule to start. You can also drag from the start date to end date. This will then open a UI pop-up with the chosen dates.
  1. Time: Add the time for which the rotations will be active. Then choose the schedule for this holds good. In this case, we will choose "Daily Schedule".
  1. Repeats: For a Daily on-call schedule where the rotations happen on a daily basis, you need to check Repeats and then select Every Day . This now means that for every day, there will exist a new rotation based on the start and end times chosen in the previous section.

Since this is a recurring schedule, you will need to check/tick the Repeats box. This will ensure that the schedule created will go on forever until terminated by you manually.

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

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Note:

By default, the Repeats box will remain unchecked/unticked to create non recurring schedules.

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Calendar Visibility:

You will only be able to see 1 year ahead in time but the recurring schedules created will continue to function as configured irrespective of the viewing cycles.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on.

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Assignee Groups

You can add a User, multiple Users or a Squad in the Assignee Groups section. Each Group will function as a new rotation.

  1. Then you have to select the number of shifts after which you will want the on-call assignees to change. This will now ensure that every day, the rotation changes between the users added in the Group layers.

Your Daily on-call rotation is now configured.

You can update any of the rotation from a particular schedule by clicking on that specific event. You can then click on the Edit button on the top right corner of the UI pop-up and update accordingly.

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Note:

Only the Admin and Account Owner roles have the authority to create, update and delete schedules.

To update the name, description or colour of the schedule, click on the relevant schedule from the list on the right. This will then show a UI pop-up where you can update these details.

If you want to create a custom shift instead of a daily shift, select Custom and set the number of days accordingly.

The image below shows an on-call shift that repeats every 3 days.

Weekly Rotations

Members of your team are rotated on a weekly basis to handle on-call for a particular service. You can choose to add multiple users or a squad for the rotations.

Assuming, you have already created a schedule as discussed in the previous section, we will now create an on-call schedule with a weekly rotation.

  1. Click on the date from which you want your schedule to start. You can also drag from the start date to end date. This will then open a UI pop-up with the chosen dates.
  1. Add the start time and end time of the shift. Then choose the schedule for this holds good. In this case, we will choose "Weekly Schedule".
  1. For a weekly on-call schedule where the rotations happen every week, you need to select Repeats and then select Weekly--Particular Days Of A Week option .

Select all the days of the week on which this on-call shift will be active.

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Note: Repetition Cycles

You can choose a day of the week on which you will want the shift to repeat. This will have to correspond to the start date of the schedule.

That is, if your schedule starts on a 9th May 2020, which falls on a Saturday, you will have to include Saturday in the Repeats section. You can choose to add other days of the week along with this as well.

Since this is a recurring schedule, you will need to check/tick the Repeats box. This will ensure that the schedule created will go on forever until terminated by you manually.

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on.

  2. In the Change Assigned Group section, select the Every ___ Shifts option and type in 7 in the text box.

This will now ensure that every 7 shifts from the start of the schedule (Saturday), the rotation changes between the users added in the Group layers.

In this case, every Saturday, the Assignee Group will be changed to the next one.

  1. This creates a weekly on-call which will look like this.

Custom On-Call Schedule with Weekly Repetition

In cases where you need to create an on-call schedule for random days of the week. The rotations change on a daily basis and the schedule will repeat every week. This can be configured this way:

This directly jumps to the configuration part assuming that the schedule's name, description and colour and already configured based on the first section of this article.

In this use case, we will create an on-call schedule which will repeat every week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the shift will rotate on each of these days.

  1. Click on the date from which you want your schedule to start. You can also drag from the start date to end date. This will then open a UI pop-up with the chosen dates.
  1. Add the start time and end time of the shift. Then choose the schedule for which this holds good. In this case, we will choose "Weekly Repetition".
  1. For a weekly repetition, you need to select Repeats and then select Weekly--Particular Days Of A Week option.

As we want to repeat this shift on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only, we will choose M, W and F from the choices below.

Since this is a recurring schedule, you will need to check/tick the Repeats box. This will ensure that the schedule created will go on forever until terminated by you manually.

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on.

  2. Set no. of shifts to Every Shift .

This creates a schedule having on-call in some custom days of a week with a shift rotation on each of the chosen days.

Custom Rotations

  • Off-hours: Some teams use on-call schedules just for hours outside the regular working hours. This usually rides on the assumption that someone will always be available to respond to an incident if it were to occur during business hours.

  • Business/On hours: It's advisable to have dedicated schedules for people who will be on-call during business hours to help estimate and plan out other responsibilities that coincide.

For this use case, we will create a schedule with the following timings:
1 . Person A on-call from 9am to 5pm (Business/On hours)

  1. Person B on-call from 5pm to 11:59pm (Off hours)
  2. Person C on-call from 12am to 9am (Off hours)

It would help if you created two separate schedules with appropriate names, colours and description. Here, we are using on-call schedules named On hours and Off hours.

On-call from 9am to 5pm (On hours)

  1. To add on-call to the created schedules, click on the date from which you want your schedule to start. In start time, enter 9:00 AM and in end time, enter 5:00 PM and on the schedule, select On hours (schedule which we had created in the previous step).
  1. As we want our on-call from Monday to Friday, We will check Repeats and in the Weekly-- Particular Days Of a Week section and then select M, T, W, T, F.

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on.

  2. Select Every shift

We have now configured the On hours schedule. We now have to configure the two types of Off-hour schedules.

On-call from 5pm to 11:59pm (Off hours)

  1. To add on-call to the created schedules, click on the date from which you want your schedule to start. In start time, enter 5:00 PM and in end time, enter 11:59 PM and on the schedule, select Off hours (schedule which we had created in the earlier steps).

  2. Repeats: As we want our on-call from Monday to Friday, We will select 1 week in the Repeats Every section and then select M, T, W, T, F.

  3. Since this is a recurring schedule, you will need to uncheck/untick the Does Not Repeat box. This will ensure that the schedule created will go on forever until terminated by you manually.

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on. This will now ensure that every day, the rotation changes between the users added in the group layers.

We have now configured one Off hours shift for the respective schedule. We now have to configure the other shift under the Off Hour schedule.

On-call from 12am to 9am (off hours)

  1. To add on-call to the created schedules, click on the date from which you want your schedule to start. In the start time, enter 12:00 AM and in the end time, enter 9:00 AM and on the schedule, select Off hours (schedule which we had created in the previous step).
  1. As we want our on-call from Monday to Friday, We will select Repeats then Every Week and then select M, T, W, T, F.

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user or multiple users or squads in #2 Group and so on.

  2. Select Every Shift

We have now configured, the On hours and Off hours schedule. You can see this reflect in the Calender as is shown below.

Creating primary and secondary (fallback) layers to avoid gaps in the schedule

As schedules get more complex, it's easy to miss out gaps in schedules. Creating primary and secondary on-call schedules creates multiple lines of defense in cases like these and if the on-call engineer misses a notification. You can also add multiple schedules as progressive levels of an escalation policy to ensure a backup user will respond to an incident.

In this use case, we will create two fallback on-call layers: Level 1 for primary and Level 2` for secondary schedule.

Set the schedule to the appropriate escalation policy. Here we will create a new escalation policy and set Level 1 at 1 min and Level 2 escalation at 20 min.

Level 1

  1. To add on-call to the created schedules, click on the date and time from which you want your schedule to start and end respectively and select Level 1 as the schedule under which this rotation will fall.
  1. Since this created with the intent of it being a fallback layer, we want this layer to reflect everyday and at the selected time period. So, we will select Every Day

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on.

  2. Select Every Shift

This now creates the Level 1 calendar. We will now create the Level 2 calendar.

Level 2

  1. Time: Click on the date from which you want the on-call schedule to start. On the pop-up window, select appropriate start time and end time and select Level 2 as the schedule under which this rotation will fall.
  1. Since this created with the intent of it being a fallback layer, we want this layer to reflect everyday and at the selected time period. So, we will select Every Day

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on. This will now ensure that every day, the rotation changes between the users added in the rotation layers.

This creates the Level 2 Schedule as well. Now, when an incident comes, it will notify the on-call users/squads belonging to Level 1 after 1 min and users/squads belonging to Level 2 after 20 min of incident trigger time.

Follow-the-sun schedule

The follow-the-sun schedule is used by teams that may work internationally in different time zones, and ensures full 24/7 coverage.

In this use case, we show a user in the US to be on-call in PST (Pacific Standard Time) Business Hours and the next shift is handled by another member from their Australia team to be on-call during the US-off hours which corresponds to Australian working hours in ACT.
This is a popularly used schedule mainly to reduce fatigue on just one or a few people and also used the . advantage of multiple timezones to ensure maximum on-call coverage.

In this section, we will see how to create a follow-the-sun schedule between two people living in US (Pacific Standard Time UTC-8) named BoJack Horseman and Australia (Australian Western Standard Time UTC+8 ) named Todd Chavez .

We will assign 6AM PST to 5:59PM PST to BoJack Horseman and 6PM PST to 5:59AM PST to Todd Chavez which corresponds to 10AM AWST to 9:59PM AWST.

Create a Schedule by going over to the Schedules tab from the navigation sidebar and clicking on the + button on the right corner of the screen. In this case, we will name the schedule Follow-the-sun.

Creating the schedule for BoJack Horseman.

  1. Time: Clicking on the start date will pop up a window to create on-call. Assuming that our local timezone is PST, we will choose 6AM as the start time and 5:59PM as the end time. We will choose Follow-the-sun for which this rotation will hold good.

  2. We will set this as a daily schedule. For that select Repeats and then select Every Day

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. In the Assignee Group, we will select BoJack Horseman.

This creates an on-call for BoJack Horseman who lives in US. We now have to create another on-call for Todd Chavez who lives in Australia.
Creating on-call scheduling for Todd Chavez

  1. Time: Clicking on the start date will pop up a window to create on-call. Assuming that our local timezone is PST, we will choose 6PM as the start time and 5:59AM as the end time. We will choose the schedule for this holds good. In this case, we will choose "Follow-the-sun".

  2. We will set this as a daily schedule. Check Repeats and then select Every Day

If you want this to be a recurring schedule only upto a certain date, then uncheck/untick the Never box and choose the date on which this schedule will end.

  1. Rotation: In the rotation tab, we will select Todd Chavez.

This creates an on-call for Todd Chavez as well who lives in Australia.

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Localized Timezones:

The selected timezone will default to the local machine timezone. This is especially beneficial for geography-based on-call rotations.

The teams will be able to view any created on-call schedule in their local time.

Now, for BoJack Horseman, his schedule view will show up in PST.

And for Todd Chavez, his schedule view will show up in ACT:

Weekday / Weekend rotations with weekly hand-offs

You can create multiple layers within your schedule to accommodate multiple users that hand off every other week (for example, Person A who covers weekdays and Person B who covers weekends, who rotate on a weekly basis).

Create two Schedules by going over to the Schedules tab from the navigation sidebar and clicking on the + button on the right corner of the screen. For this use case, we will name the schedules Weekday and Weekend.

Creating on-call for Weekdays

  1. Time: Clicking on the start date will pop up a window to create on-call. We will select a day corresponding to Monday. By default the time is set to 12am to 11:59pm. We will go with the same.
    Select Weekdays in the schedule dropdown.
  1. Repeat: We will set this on a weekly repeat. Check Repeats and select Weekly -- Particular Days Of a Week:. Now select M, T, W, T, F as the week days on which this schedule will be active.
  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on. This will now ensure that every day, the rotation changes between the users added in the rotation layers. For, simplicity, we will add one user to be on-call in the weekdays.

This creates the on-call for weekdays. Similarly, we will have to create for weekends.

  1. Clicking on the start date will pop up a window to create on-call. We will select a day corresponding to Saturday. By default the time is set to 12am to 11:50pm. We will go with the same. Select Weekend from the schedule dropdown.
  1. Repeat: We will set this on a weekly repeat. Check Repeats and select Weekly -- Particular Days Of a Week:. Select S and S corresponding to saturday and sunday as the week days.
  1. Assignee Groups: You can add in the first user in #1 Group. Click on Add Group to add in the second user in #2 Group and so on. This will now ensure that every day, the rotation changes between the users added in the rotation layers. For, simplicity, we will add one user to be on-call over the weekend.

This creates the weekday and weekend schedule which will look like this:

Updated about a month ago


Supported On-call Schedules & Rotations


This document will help you create daily, weekly and custom schedules and will also help you understand how to create recurring or one-off schedules on Squadcast

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