Best Practices for Incident Management on Slack with OpsGenie

by Jun 29, 2017 Serhat Can

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The OpsGenie Slack App is frequently a featured app in Slack’s App directory. The reason for this is our continuous focus on this popular integration. We want our users to have a seamless experience with it.

We at OpsGenie have developed some best practices for using our Slack app integration. This post discusses each of them to give you a clear understanding of how you can design and set up your ChatOps environment.

Install separate integrations for each team

Different teams of an organization will often have different requirements. One of the best ways to isolate teams on Slack and let them discuss focused topics is to provide them dedicated channels: the Integrations team might use an #integrations channel for its internal communications, while the Platform team might use the #platform channel for similar purposes. The same principle applies when you design your incident management channels. You can install OpsGenie’s Slack app on different channels for each OpsGenie team.

It is incredibly easy to add new Slack integrations with the Add to Slack button. Teams can install their own Slack integrations on separate channels. Team administrators can do this on their own —  without any need for account administrators to install a new Slack App.

Ask your OpsGenie users to authenticate themselves on Slack

By default, OpsGenie commands in Slack are executed as anonymous users. But knowing who is responsible for those commands is important for auditing and security purposes. So we highly recommend requiring your OpsGenie users to authenticate on Slack.

Your Slack integration page offers the option, Require matching a user, to solve this very issue. This option forces your users to execute the /genie connect command when they first attempt to execute an action in your Slack channel. After that, you will know who executed actions on Slack, which enhances your auditing capabilities and increases your security.

Use Slack buttons & interactive menus to execute actions quickly

During an incident, it is important to execute incident actions such as Acknowledge or Close as rapidly as possible. If you install Slack on your laptop and mobile devices, you can quickly access Slack to execute incident actions. Our Slack buttons and new interactive menus are great ways to execute alert actions faster than ever. They also let you avoid the time and trouble of switching between different tools and mobile devices.

Read this blog post to learn more about our new Slack interactive menus.

Don’t use Slack buttons for informational alerts

Some alerts are less important than others. We call these alerts “low_priority” alerts. Often,  low_priority alerts will not send notifications to users, although you can view them for informational purposes. The OpsGenie internal #business channel is a great example of this. All new trials information is sent to this Slack channel. These alerts are informative and do not send notifications to users, so including interactive menus for them would simply waste space in the channel.

It is better to hide Slack buttons for low_priority alerts. To hide Slack buttons, all you need to do is to deselect the use Slack buttons option on your OpsGenie Slack integration page.

Leverage slash commands for everything else

To avoid unnecessarily disturbing users, we expose only the most commonly-used actions through Slack buttons. Sometimes users require more than that, so we support a comprehensive list of actions through our /genie command in order to provide a better ChatOps experience for all users. Type “/genie help” in order to see an extensive list of actions you can perform using the slash command.

One great use of a /genie command would show you the on-call people for your schedules. To do that, you don’t have to open the OpsGenie interface: you simply enter /genie whoisoncall in your Slack channel, and your Slack App immediately displays the whole list.

More information is available in our Slack App Integration documentation.

Have some questions/suggestions or want to learn more about how to leverage our Slack App to improve your ChatOps experience? Feel free to chat with our Customer Success Team on OpsGenie.com or come visit our OpsGenie Community and Playground!