PagerDuty Blog

PagerDuty Service Standards helps organizations better configure services at scale

Service ownership, a DevOps best practice, is a method that many companies are pivoting towards. The benefits of service ownership are varied and include boons such as bringing development teams much closer to their customers, the business, and the value being delivered. The “build it, own it model” has tangible effects on customer experience, as developers are incentivized to innovate and drive customer-facing features that delight.

But the pivot to service ownership is difficult, especially for large companies with hundreds or even thousands of services. Everything from defining a service, its boundaries, and who owns it can be a behemoth undertaking. And ensuring that services are configured in a way that allows the organization to scale quickly is next to impossible across the entire technology ecosystem. However, gaining this level of visibility is crucial for better business outcomes.

Screenshot of service directory


To address this problem, PagerDuty is excited to announce the general availability of Service Standards for all plans. PagerDuty’s emphasis on service ownership through our service-based architecture has traditionally allowed individual teams to determine how to configure services. Now, with Service Standards, teams across an organization have both the visibility to understand what best practice looks like as well as the flexibility to standardize that knowledge across teams new to service ownership in a way that’s beneficial for both the team and organization. 

Service Standards help all teams ensure that their service configurations are adhering to service ownership best practices. This means that services are informative, integrated with the right tools, and supported by the right people. Service Standards provides both the visibility and means to institute standards across teams to not only embrace service ownership, but also to scale it across the organization.

Introducing Service Standards

When configuring services, teams throughout an organization will have different methods. Some services may have the information that all teams need to act quickly during an incident and others may not. This lack of uniformity can cause problems across the ecosystem, with information that’s lost or locked up as purely tribal knowledge. And, it’s next to impossible for managers and administrators to know whether the services they are responsible for are in good shape or not.

Service Standards can help individual engineers understand how to configure better services, while providing a guide for managers and administrators to scale these standards across an organization.

Set up better services with guidelines for success

With the shift to cloud, the number of services for any organization has grown exponentially, and a central governing and creation team isn’t often able to handle the load. To make things more complicated, service owners configure services in markedly different ways. From naming conventions, to descriptions, to whether they have the right people on call, services vary in the depth of information they provide.

Too often this results in a lot of rework. Imagine this scenario: Team spins up new services only to be blocked before they can enter production. They’re told to make a variety of changes and fixes to ship. And, since these requirements are often not codified or widely known, this is a mistake that the team might make multiple times, adding pain and toil to the service creation process. 

We hear this from customers all the time. In fact, one of the top questions we get asked is “what does ‘good’ look like?” The truth is, it often depends, but it’s always the case that ‘good’ is unique to each team’s particular way of working. 

With Service Standards, teams can standardize on what good looks like according to company policy. PagerDuty has provided nine standards that each service should fulfill to have the depth and context required for the service to be considered well-configured, all of which are able to be toggled on and off.

Screenshot of Service Standards pass or fail


Audit services for accountability

Service Standards also give managers and administrators the level of control they need to ensure that configuration requirements are met at scale. Administrators can determine visibility and decide whether to make these standards publicly available for the rest of the organization to view. They can also toggle on or off all nine standards depending on what the company needs. On a more granular level, administrators can apply these standards to only a subset of services for more flexibility. And, the service performance data can be exported out of PagerDuty and shared as needed to drive accountability and show progress.

Screenshot of Service Standards settings


Ready to try yourself?

Service Standards are here to help all organizations scale service ownership best practices. This feature gives engineers an understanding of what is ready for production and reduces the toil required to ship new services. For administrators and managers, Service Standards help drive accountability throughout the technology ecosystem and provide a way to assess progress. Over time, this improves incident response for first responders looking for quick context, and helps drive operational maturity at the organization level.

If you want to learn more, check out our recent webinar, “How to Standardize Service Ownership at Scale for Improved Incident Response” or read our knowledge base article here.

If you’re ready to see Service Standards in action, try PagerDuty for free for 14 days.