How to get your oncall scheduling in great shape in 5 minutes?

We hope that the UI is easy to follow. If you'd like guidance to start using the Oncall Scheduler for a new rotation, these are the steps to take:

  1. Log in from the home page. If you're the first person to use the OncallScheduler from your company and email domain, click to create a new tenant.
  2. Click "Set up a Rotation" and fill in the form you get to.
    • If you're planning to have multiple teams around the world work together in a follow-the-sun pattern, you should create 1 rotation for each of those teams. It's important that you use the same time zone to define all those geographically separated rotations, so the handover times will be unambiguous even when time zones have different rules for switching between daylight savings time and standard time. E.g. if you have one team in San Fransisco, and another team in Bangalore: create separate rotations for the two teams, but pick 1 time zone (e.g. America/Los_Angeles) to use for both those rotations.
    • On the next page, you'll be able to break up the "How often does the shift pattern repeat" time period into multiple smaller shifts if you like. Almost all rotations repeat their shift pattern weekly.
    • The "First Shift Start" date should be some time into the future, to give time for the rotation members to enter preferences about how they want to be scheduled. The day you select is also the start of the repeating pattern of shifts the rotation will have. If you have a weekly shift repeat pattern, and you select a first shift start date on a Monday, your shift pattern will continue re-starting on Mondays into the future.
  3. Click "Next" to define how the shift repeat pattern (e.g. weekly) should be broken up into multiple working shifts.
    • If your tenant has sync configured with custom alerting services, you choices here may be more limited than described here, because that custom alerting system sync might not support all scheduling patterns.
    • When you first see this screen, only 1 shift is listed, and that shift only covers 1 day. If you intend to have shifts that cover the entire shift repeat pattern (e.g. the whole week), then keep selecting start and end days, and clicking "add shift", until the entire shift repeat pattern number of days is covered with shifts. If you try to add shifts beyond the number of days in the shift repeat pattern, you'll be stopped and get an error message.
    • If you intend to only have 1 shift for each shift repeat period (e.g. all shifts are 1 week long, when using a weekly shift repeat pattern), then just increase the "end day" to the maximum the page will allow.
  4. When you're done deciding what shifts there'll be within each shift repeat pattern, click "Create Rotation". This creates the rotation and lists it on the "Rotations" page. The rotation now has a schedule with shifts. But it doesn't have the most important thing: people.
    • If you clicked away from the rotation creation flow, you can get back to adding people by going to the "Members" page.
    • Enter a set of email addresses and submit them. These email addresses will be used both for authenticating these members when they access the Oncall Scheduler, and to send email to them. If you're in a rare situation of using different email addresses for those two things, email Support to discuss.
    • If you're just testing out the system and not really starting a rotation, use fake email addresses when creating the rotation, so people don't get meaningless meeting invites. Ensure any fake email addresses you enter are using email domains controlled by your company. If you add fake email domains to your tenant, someone else who controls those domains will be able to log on to your tenant, and take actions within it.
    • You can add members with email addresses under different email domains. If you add email addresses with email domains which haven't been used in your Oncall Scheduler tenant before, you'll get a question about wanting to add those email domains to you tenant.
  5. Once you submit a list of members, an invitation email goes out to them. The rotation starts out in an inactive state. It won't start auto-scheduling members into shifts yet.
    • In the Schedule page for the rotation, you can manually, as the rotation's administrator, assign shifts to members. Such manual assignments, before the automatic scheduling starts, is a good way to enter pre-existing schedules into the system. As you do this, the system will start sending out meeting requests to the people you schedule.
    • You should leave the rotation in this inactive state for a while. Talk to the rotation members to ensure they understand how the scheduling will work, and guide them to go to the "My off-duty dates" page to enter preferences for when they prefer not to work, and to manually go in and self-assign some shifts in the "Schedule" page.
  6. Configure synchronization of the rotation schedule into alerting systems (e.g. PagerDuty) from the rotation configuration page (⚙ icon to the right over "Members"). When this works correctly, the schedule in the alerting system should update shortly after a schedule change is made in the Oncall Scheduler.
  7. When the rotation members have had time to learn about the scheduling solution, it's time to activate automatic scheduling. To activate, press "start automatic scheduling" on the Schedule page for the rotation. From this point on, the system will keep the schedule full up to the auto-allocation horizon (default: 6 months out).
  8. Sit back and enjoy how the system mostly takes care of itself forever. The things you, as the rotation administrator, will need to worry about on an ongoing basis are: adding and removing members from the rotation (the system will automatically reassign shifts as appropriate using an email-announced bidding system when you remove someone from the rotation). Creating "block periods" for members when they can't work for HR-sanctioned reasons. Answering rotation member's questions about how the system works.