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This is an excellent question and one that prompted me to go deep and broad on this topic, including talking with software engineers and engineering managers at almost 100 companies for details of how they do oncall.

This issue covers:

  1. What is oncall? A short overview of how engineers carrying around pagers – by which I mean pager apps on smartphones – came about.

  2. The benefits of engineers being oncall. It should be little surprise that there are a few.

  3. Oncall downsides. There are plenty of these.

  4. Monoliths, microservices, tiers and oncall. How are these connected?

  5. Oncall approaches. Google, Intercom, LaunchDarkly, TravelPerk and Monzo: Five companies with decent oncall approaches. How do they organize it?

  6. Healthy oncall practices. Examples of companies with decent oncall approaches, and ideas worth considering.

  7. Regulations across countries. Which countries have oncall regulations worth knowing about?

This is part one of a two-part series about the huge topic of oncall. Next week, we will cover oncall philosophies across the industry and oncall compensation approaches – and numbers – from across more than 100 companies.

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