1 hr 10 min

Intercom’s approach to a great on-call experience | Brian Scanlan (Intercom‪)‬ Engineering Enablement by Abi Noda

    • Technology

In this deep-dive episode, Brian Scanlan, Principal Systems Engineer at Intercom, describes how the company’s on-call process works. He explains how the process started and key changes they’ve made over the years, including a new volunteer model, changes to compensation, and more.
Discussion points:
(1:28) How on-call started at Intercom(10:11) Brian’s background and interest in being on-call(14:06) Getting engineers motivated to be on-call (16:37) Challenges Intercom saw with on-call as it grew(19:53) Having too many people on-call(23:20) Having alarms that aren’t useful (26:03) Recognizing uneven workload with compensation(27:22) Initiating changes to the on-call process (30:08) Creating a volunteer model(33:02) Addressing concerns that volunteers wouldn’t take action on alarms (34:40) Equitability in a volunteer model(36:36) Expectations of expertise for being on-call(40:56) How volunteers sign up (44:15) The Incident Commander role (46:19) Using code review for changes to alarms(50:02) On-call compensation (52:50) Other approaches to compensating on-call(55:08) Whether other companies should compensate on-call(57:32) How Intercom’s on-call process compares to other companies (1:00:46) Recent changes to the on-call process(1:04:13) Balancing responsiveness and burnout (1:07:12) Signals for evaluating the on-call process ‍
Mentions and links: 
Follow Brian on LinkedIn or Twitter Brian’s article: How we fixed our on call process to avoid engineer burnoutGergely Orosz’s On-Call Compensation 

In this deep-dive episode, Brian Scanlan, Principal Systems Engineer at Intercom, describes how the company’s on-call process works. He explains how the process started and key changes they’ve made over the years, including a new volunteer model, changes to compensation, and more.
Discussion points:
(1:28) How on-call started at Intercom(10:11) Brian’s background and interest in being on-call(14:06) Getting engineers motivated to be on-call (16:37) Challenges Intercom saw with on-call as it grew(19:53) Having too many people on-call(23:20) Having alarms that aren’t useful (26:03) Recognizing uneven workload with compensation(27:22) Initiating changes to the on-call process (30:08) Creating a volunteer model(33:02) Addressing concerns that volunteers wouldn’t take action on alarms (34:40) Equitability in a volunteer model(36:36) Expectations of expertise for being on-call(40:56) How volunteers sign up (44:15) The Incident Commander role (46:19) Using code review for changes to alarms(50:02) On-call compensation (52:50) Other approaches to compensating on-call(55:08) Whether other companies should compensate on-call(57:32) How Intercom’s on-call process compares to other companies (1:00:46) Recent changes to the on-call process(1:04:13) Balancing responsiveness and burnout (1:07:12) Signals for evaluating the on-call process ‍
Mentions and links: 
Follow Brian on LinkedIn or Twitter Brian’s article: How we fixed our on call process to avoid engineer burnoutGergely Orosz’s On-Call Compensation 

1 hr 10 min

Top Podcasts In Technology

Acquired
Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal
Lex Fridman Podcast
Lex Fridman
All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg
All-In Podcast, LLC
Hard Fork
The New York Times
Darknet Diaries
Jack Rhysider
TED Radio Hour
NPR