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Setting Up An Escalation Policy

Escalation policies determine set who is actually on-call for a given team and are the link to utilize any rotations that have been created


  • Only Team and Global Admins are able to make changes to Escalation Policies
  • Only users specified in the first step of an Escalation Policy will receive Timeline and Push notifications that they are on-call, and will log hours in the on-call report as being on-call.  If you would like users in subsequent steps of an escalation policy to receive these notifications and log these hours, follow this guide.
  • When an Escalation Policy is executed and a User is being notified, the User’s personal paging policy determines how they will be contacted.

Steps to Creating an Escalation Policy

Step 1: 

Navigate to the Escalation Policies tab of your team and select “Add Escalation Policy”

Step 2: 

Give the Escalation Policy a name

BEST PRACTICE TIP: Name the policy in a way that will make it easy to find when adding routing keys or creating manual incidents. For example, if the team name is Support then “Support: Primary” for an escalation policy name.

Step 3: 

Decide whether or not to “Ignore Custom Paging Policies”

If the “Ignore Custom Paging Policies” box is checked then the incident will page the on-call user via their Primary Paging Policy and ignore any custom paging policies they have set.

BEST PRACTICE TIP: We recommend checking this box if the escalation policy handles high severity incidents.

Step 4: 

Select a time delay for Step 1 of your escalation policy

The time delay you select for Step 1 will be in reference to either when the incident reaches VictorOps or from when the escalation policy is called out via another escalation policy.

All subsequent steps (Step 2, Step 3…) will have the time delay reference the previous step, not the incident’s beginning (i.e. if Step 1 has a time delay of 5 minutes and Step 2 has a time delay of 10 minutes then paging for Step 2 will not be triggered until 15 minutes after the incident reaches VictorOps).

BEST PRACTICE TIP: We recommend selecting “immediately” for the first step of an escalation policy – unless you desire a waiting room type functionality. Information on setting up a waiting room escalation policy can be found here.

Step 5: 

Select an Escalation Action for Step 1

Access the different escalation actions by clicking on the “Select an escalation” dropdown menu and then scroll down to see all available options

The blue plus box allows for multiple actions to be performed simultaneously within one escalation policy step if desired

Available Escalation Policy Actions

A number of escalation actions are available.  The different options are walked through below:

Execute Policy

      • This action provides the ability to invoke a different escalation policy

Notify the on-duty users in rotation

      • Our most common type of escalation action, this notifies the currently on-duty user(s) in the rotation you specify
        • Note: If there is no on-call user scheduled in a rotation at the time when this escalation action is triggered, the resulting behavior is that no page will occur in this step. The time delay before the next step will remain as configured. For example, if an incident triggers an Escalation Policy during off-hours and there is no one on call in the rotation to immediately page, the escalation policy will page no one and then wait however long is specified before executing step two.

Notify the next user in current on-duty shift

      • This will notify the user(s) scheduled to be next up within the current on-duty shift

Notify the previous user within the current on-duty shift

      • This will notify the user(s) that were on-duty previously within the current on-duty shift (or are currently in the schedule position to be the previous user)

Notify user

      • This will notify the user of your specification regardless of the time of day

Notify every member of this team

      • This will notify every member of the team that the escalation policy is created for regardless of the time of day. All users on the team will be paged for an incident, but only one user is required to ack the incident.

Execute webhook

Send an email to email address

      • This will send an email to the email address you specify

Step 6: 

Add additional escalation policy steps

BEST PRACTICE TIP: We recommend including multiple steps to assure that an incident is not missed.

Step 7: 

Save the escalation policy by clicking “Save” at the bottom of the page

Step 8: 

Attach the escalation policy to the desired Routing Key by clicking on “Set Up Routing”

Routing keys are a key link to connect incidents to one of your established Escalation Policies.  Please reference the Routing Keys article for more information.

If no routing keys are connected to the escalation policy then it will only be active if called out specifically in a manual incident or “execute policy” step of another escalation policy.

Note: Only Global and Alert Admins can configure and edit routing keys. Work with a user with these permission levels to assure your escalation policy is connected to the correct routing key.


Features and Benefits of using Multiple Escalation Policies

  • Flexible SLA Configurability: Create urgent escalation policies that notify many people quickly for high-priority issues and relaxed escalation policies that merely send emails to distribution groups
  • Waiting Rooms: Send incidents that often auto-resolve to Waiting Rooms to give them a chance to do so before alerting anyone
  • Schedule Views:  Surface the on-call schedules for each escalation policy via separate calendar links
  • Internal Team Rerouting:  Reroute easily within your team by setting up primary and secondary escalation policies
  • Flexible Take On-Call:  Take on-call for the primary or the secondary escalation policy

  • Flexible Manual Incident Creation:  Send a manual incident to separate escalation policies
  • Reuse Policies Across Teams:  Reuse globally available escalation policies across multiple teams

For more detailed examples on how to benefit from the use of multiple escalation policies, please see our Tips and Tricks for Multiple Escalation Policies article.

Updated on January 19, 2021

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