Set Block-out Window for Users in OnCall-Schedule

Hi All,

We have multiple Teams with a overall staff of roughly 30 engineers in various OnCall -schedules. Those Engineers have holidays, Birthdays, Shifts that collide with OnCall Duty, etc.

Currently, PagerDuty schedules are “just” a Round-Robin going through the Members of the Schedule. All the above factors are handled by our team assistant by keeping a separate shift plan and adding Overrides. This results in our schedules consisting of a never ending override.

What i would like to see:

  • Add Block Dates to a users profile, where this user should not be added to any schedule.
  • Notify Users when their shifts are rescheduled

This way we could leverage the automatic scheduling feature.

We would be thrilled if this could be added. Any other takers?

Hi Luke,

I understand the unique issue you’re facing here. I’m happy to articulate a feature request around this for you, but I’d like to understand a bit more about the behavior you would like to see.

You said that you would like users to have the ability to create block dates, which would allow you to leverage automatic scheduling more. Is that what you would like happen when a user has blocked off a time frame for which they are normally scheduled? An automatic override with another user? Or perhaps just moving the rotation of existing users on a schedule up to fill the blocked off time? I could see that creating issues for the user(s) whose shift has now changed, which, in the end, creates more work for your management team.

Would a better option be to send a simple notification to a manager when a user has blocked off some time, informing them that coverage will need to be arranged?

Let me know!

Hi Tatiana,

Thanks for looking into this.

I understand and share your point that it’s a bad idea that a user can cause rescheduling for all teammates. This should not happen. In my opinion this is what overrides are for, so that both the overrider and the overridden can work it out directly.

In my request I am thinking more about things that are known well in advance like Birthdays, holidays or “late shift”. Late shift might be something specific to our case. The Idea is that someone covers the usual commute times from the office until the person on Call is usually at home and able to handle Incidents should they arise.

We plan our days off and OnCall-Prohibiting Shifts in 6 month blocks, 3-4 months in advance. So we now have finished the plan for the first half of 2021. I as a Manager would like to be able to tell the PagerDuty Scheduler the following:

Sarah

  • Is on Holiday 1. February - 6. February
  • Has late shift (covering until the person on Call gets home) 2. May - 9. May
  • Her Birthday is on 18. April

Paul

  • Is on Holiday 1. May - 7. May

Mary

  • Has late shift 12. January - 19. January
  • Has her Birthday on 31. March

In our case, all these occasions mean that these people shouldn’t be scheduled for on call duty. Currently, the only way we know of is constantly overriding the PagerDuty schedules, effectively not using the scheduler at all.

The management of the block dates would be handled by a Team assistant. The Users would not need to edit the block dates, although it would be good if they could see them in their profile for verification purposes.

If I’m not mistaken, the Scheduler rotates through the list of members infinitely, so if someone leaves the team or a new member is added, the schedule for the others will change anyway and the only way to influence the schedule is the order in which the members are added to the schedule or by creating overrides.

How about this:

  • The Scheduler plans 3 Months ahead (Offset defined in Schedule, Team or Account Properties)
  • Block Out Dates can be set by Users and Managers
  • Block out Dates are locked for users once the Offset in Step 1 is reached

In This case the Block Out dates need to be filled in at least 3 Months in advance. The Scheduler would do a rolling plan 3 Months ahead, respecting those block out dates where possible. If something unforeseen happens, the Override feature would be used. If the User forgot to enter a blockout date that he or she knew of it’s their responsibility to find someone covering for them.

This way we have relative planning safety for all members of the schedule and it would prevent the team assistant from going mad :slight_smile:

What do you think?

Best Regards
Luke

Hey again, Luke,

Thank you for providing the additional context. That’s pretty clear, and I have enough to put in this feature request for you. Would you like to be subscribed to it in case of updates? If so, shoot us an email at support@pagerduty.com and ask for me. That way I can subscribe you without you having to broadcast your email in the forum.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers,

Hi Tatiana,

Thank you very much. Mail is on its way.

Cheers
Luke