Stuff Happens: How Slack and PagerDuty Work Together to Resolve Incidents Quickly

by Slack October 5, 2020 | 3 min read
IT incidents cost enterprises countless dollars in lost productivity each year. Here’s how Slack helps teams stay ahead.

Like death and taxes, IT incidents are inevitable. Issues like server outages and broken code are common—and costly. A single hour of downtime costs businesses more than $300,000 on average, according to Gartner. That’s why a solid incident management strategy is a must for any organization.

“People solve incidents, but we can’t do it alone,” says Ali Rayl, Slack’s vice president of customer experience. “We all need to coordinate across an evolving set of apps, data, and information in order to get ourselves through an incident to a positive resolution.”

Incident management 101: Using Slack channels to gather the right experts

One of the key apps Slack teams use to help resolve incidents is PagerDuty.

PagerDuty serves more than 13,000 companies in various industries, from fashion to finance. Its app for Slack connects the two platforms so that shared users can analyze and resolve incidents within Slack channels, without having to switch tools. This helps the appropriate incident response team members organize their data in one place and collectively determine the best course of action.

“When something is going on, when something is burning, you need to do things in real time,” said Rachel Obstler, PagerDuty’s vice president of product. “You don’t have the time to send questions up the ranks and wait for someone to respond, so traditional command and control just doesn’t work.”

She said it’s best practice to limit channel participation to the people who are actively involved in resolving the incident. Anyone else may be tempted to ask questions about why the incident happened, which creates distractions and wastes valuable time.

“The best person to solve an incident is the person who last pushed the code or the person who solved the last incident,” Obstler said. “They need to be able to work with each other in a collaborative way and solve the problem.”

The product and engineering teams at PagerDuty have worked closely with Slack and our mutual customers to create a Slack app that:

  • Drives incidents to rapid resolution
  • Improves communication and collaboration for incident teams
  • Ensures that incident history is available, for continual improvement

Based on these guiding principles, the PagerDuty app supports the following features:

  • Create, escalate, and gather more context about a PagerDuty incident, all from Slack
  • From a Slack notification, run a custom PagerDuty incident response play and add responders
  • Post up-to-date PagerDuty on-call information and timelines to a Slack channel

Finally, users can create Slack war room channels directly from PagerDuty—further streamlining communications and accelerating resolution.

Regardless of your industry or business, incidents are a matter of when, not if. But by having the right tools in place to resolve incidents quickly, you can reduce the impact on customers and internal teams alike.

Interested in learning more? Check out Slack’s speaking session from PagerDuty Summit. In this session, you’ll hear from Slack’s Alliance Manager, Don Baron, and PagerDuty’s Director of Product Marketing, Andrew Marshall, as they discuss how companies can use these tools to seamlessly manage and track a situation as well as collaborate across teams to quickly resolve an incident. Also, be sure to take a look at the following resources: