Missile Command (Jul/Aug 2021) Release Overview

The information in this article is the intellectual property of xMatters and is intended only for use with xMatters products by xMatters customers and their employees. Further, this intellectual property is proprietary and must not be reused or resold.


As Commanders know, triage, response, and a strong defense are essential to combating a missile attack or a major incident! This release celebrates Missile Command, in which you nobly defend your country from incoming missiles by lining up the crosshairs and firing your own counter attack. This game is truly all-systems go until the bitter end. Fun fact: In the original design, the six cities featured in the game represented major cities in California!

This release unveils a new Service Catalog to help you monitor the health of your systems and ensure you're prepared to successfully withstand any attack — or incident that comes your way. It includes sought-after goodies like incident change triggers and browser timeouts that preserve your unsaved changes, as well as a redesigned flow activity panel, canvas usability improvements, and more ways to effectively manage incidents from the mobile app when you're on-the-go.

Before you dive in to learn about all the improvements, here are some important dates:

  • Non-production environment access: Tuesday, July 27
  • Production environment access: Tuesday, August 17 (enabled between 10:00-10:30am Pacific)

Missile Command Training Webinars

For a guided Missile Command tour — including tips and tricks — sign up for one of our webinars.

Future feature release

As a special bonus, we'll also give you a sneak peek at an enhancement we're working on for a future release:

  • Custom user properties — define users in a way that makes sense for your organization.

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Jump ahead

In a hurry? Here's an overview of this doc if you want to skip ahead to something awesome:

Incident management

Our incident management capabilities help you bridge your tools and teams, facilitate collaboration, and automate manual processes with ease — while also providing data to inform and continuously evolve your incident resolution processes. In this release, we strengthen our incident resolution arsenal with a Service Catalog, add new ways to respond and collaborate on incidents, and expand the incident management features available in our mobile apps.

Service Catalog

Availability: Now in non-prod; Aug 17 in prod (for customers with xMatters Incident Management)

We recently announced the latest addition to our service reliability platform: the Service Catalog, a collection of the business, technical, and external services performed by, within, or available to your enterprise. In addition to letting you define services to match your organization's infrastructure and architecture, the Service Catalog also collects metrics on the performance of your services and the teams supporting them:


Service ownership

Defining who owns a service lets you identify which team in your organization is responsible for that service and who to contact if there's an issue. For ultimate transparency and efficiency, a service can only be owned by a single group, although groups can own multiple services. You can define which group owns a service from the Service Catalog or on a group's Overview page:


Service reliability & incidents

The xMatters platform lets you respond faster during a crisis, and by embedding services into our incident management capabilities, we're helping supercharge your response to digital service interruptions.

Impacted services

We've added a new Impacted Services section to the Incident Console that lists the services reported as impacted by the incident. You can click the name of a service to display its description, owner (and their on-call schedule), and information about active incidents involving that service. You can also see if any of the services reported as impacted haven't been added to the Service Catalog yet:


Report impacted services

To report or manage the services impacted by an existing incident, click Edit in the Impacted Services section of the Incident Console:


You can also identify impacted services as part of your automated incident resolution workflows using the Initiate Incident step. We've added an Impacted Services field that lets you feed in the names of services identified by your monitoring tools:


Suggested services

What happens if a service is reported as impacted through an automated incident resolution workflow, but it's not defined in the Service Catalog? No problem: we've made it easy by allowing the service to be added to the incident, and suggesting that you add the service to the Service Catalog. The Service Catalog also keeps a list of all the undefined services and the number of times they've been reported.


Service owners as resolvers

Once you've identified which services are impacted by an incident, you can easily notify the owner of a service to engage by searching for the service in the recipient selector. The results of your search include any matching services and the group that owns them, which you can select to add as a resolver:


If you're building your own automated processes, you can include the service as a recipient in the Create Alert step. When you specify an Incident ID, those recipients are added to the incident as resolvers:


When resolvers and stakeholders get notified about an incident, they'll be informed about which services are impacted, providing more context about why they've been notified:


Service performance

Although the Service Catalog includes metrics on active incidents, you'll also want to observe the performance of your services over time so you can make appropriate investments. To support this, we've equipped the Incidents list with a new Impacted Service column and filter, which you can use to identify the services that have been affected by incidents. And, we've also added impacted services to the incident export and Post-Incident Report.



What's next?

Over time we'll be adding more functionality to the Service Catalog and our platform to further enhance your service reliability capabilities. This may include things like runbooks, more advanced reporting and metrics to identify trends in service disruptions, plus upstream and downstream service dependencies — so stay tuned!

Incident response & collaboration

Effective response and collaboration are key to timely incident resolution. To support customers that spend a lot of time working in popular chat tools, we've added the ability to initiate custom incidents from Slack and to add Microsoft Teams meetings to an incident from the Incident Console.

Initiate custom incidents from Slack

Is Slack one of your main collaboration tools for working on incident triage and response? If so, you'll be happy to hear you can now initiate incidents using custom incident resolution workflows without leaving Slack!

When you use the /xmatters initiate slash command, the xMatters bot lets you select which incident submission form you want to use to initiate the incident:


Once you provide details about the incident and fill out any fields for the selected form, you'll need to select a conversation to post incident details in after it's initiated. The message that's posted to the conversation will include a summary of the incident information and a link to the incident in xMatters.


Add Microsoft Teams meetings from the Incident Console

You can now manually add Microsoft Teams meetings to an incident from the Incident Console. This is useful for workflows that don't automatically create collaboration channels when initiating incidents (such as the default xMatters Incident Management workflow).

You can create a new meeting or add the URL of an existing meeting:


Mobile incident management updates

In this release, our iOS and Android mobile apps play catch-up to the xMatters web user interface, with the addition of the incident timeline and more options for managing resolvers.

View the incident timeline

Want to stay informed on how incidents are progressing even when you're on the go? The xMatters app includes a new Timeline tab for incidents tap this tab to see a real-time record of all the incident resolution activities:


Just like in the web user interface, you can search for entries that contain keywords, filter by the type of record (for example, 'Updates' or 'Collaborations'), and sort by date. You can even add a note to the timeline by tapping Add Note in the top right corner of the screen.


Manage incident participants

Incidents in the xMatters mobile app also include a new Participants tab where you now have more options for managing resolvers. From here, you can perform the following tasks:

  • See everyone who's involved in the incident and their engagement status.
  • View the incident resolution roles assigned to resolvers.
  • Reassign the Incident Commander role to another engaged resolver.
  • Re-notify users or teams that haven't responded.
  • Skip the notification process for adding resolvers by marking them as engaged in the incident.
  • Stop notifying people to engage if you have all the resources you need.
  • Dismiss resolvers when you no longer need them to actively engage in resolving the incident.



In this release, our major focus was to continue making it easier to get integrated with xMatters, with more Flow Designer native workflows and new App triggers. We've also introduced incident status and severity change triggers, plus a whole bunch of Flow Designer usability improvements we think you're going to love.

New installable workflows (& triggers, too)

We continue our initiative to simplify the process for getting integrated with xMatters by making it easier to install and get flowing with our packaged workflows. Instead of having to download and import a .zip file, you can install these workflows directly from within xMatters just select the workflow from the list of available templates and click Install:


These workflows include new App triggers to accept the incoming signal, which are connected to a pre-built flow that creates an event (or alert) when xMatters receives a signal from the external system. When on-call resources respond to the notification, they have the option to initiate an incident. You then have the option to use Flow Designer's powerful visual interface to further customize or enhance the workflow's functionality to meet your organization's specific needs.

We're rolling out this simplified process to all our packaged integrations. For this release, we've updated the following workflows:

New App triggers

We build our workflows using steps just like you, and as we build workflows we release the triggers and steps that support them for your usage. That means you can take advantage of the following new App triggers to build your own custom signal handlers in xMatters:


Flow Designer

Flow Designer provides an all-inclusive visual canvas that allows users of all levels of technical ability across the enterprise to integrate and create incident resolution workflows with ease.

New & updated steps

A release just wouldn't be complete without new Flow Designer steps. In addition to all the new App triggers, this release also includes frequently-requested triggers related to incident activity.

Initiate flows when an incident's status or severity changes

The Initiate Incident step now includes Status Change and Severity Change triggers that you can use to trigger flows when an incident's status or severity are updated. For example, you could send a notification to escalate incident response when an incident's severity changes to Critical and close a service desk ticket when its status is updated to Resolved.

To access these new triggers, click + Add Triggers below the Initiate Incident step on the canvas:


Any triggers you add are displayed below the Initiate Incident step on the canvas. You can build individual flows for each trigger and merge flow paths for triggers that share a common path:


Usability improvements

Flow Designer may be the premier low-code automation tool for service reliability, but that doesn't stop us from looking for ways to make it better and more fun for users. In this release, we redesigned the Activity panel and made some really handy canvas and palette improvements.

Redesigned Activity panel

Availability: Late August

This release brings a new look to Flow Designer's Activity panel, along with several enhancements that will make monitoring and troubleshooting your flows a breeze.

Updates include:

  • Go full-screen: With more screen real estate, you can troubleshoot issues faster, and also see more successful requests.
  • Easily switch between flows: View the details for all your flows from a single screen!
  • Filter the list: View requests by date or time period, request status, or flow trigger.
  • View all successful requests: We've removed the 25 request limit for logging successful requests.
  • Full-length logs: We've doubled the log character limit so you won't miss any details when troubleshooting lengthier requests.


These new enhancements to the Activity panel have made it an even more powerful tool for monitoring and troubleshooting your flows. In the future, we'll be redirecting you here instead of the Activity Stream for built-in workflows and Integration Builder integrations.

Find a step in the palette

Got a step on your canvas you'd like to edit, create a new version of, or use in a flow... but then you can't seem to find it in the palette? Or maybe you're unsure what to look for because the version you're using was withdrawn, or the step was renamed on the canvas or in the palette?

Whatever the reason, you can now quickly and easily find any step in the palette just hover over the step on the canvas, click the new options menu, and select Find Step in Palette to highlight it in the palette:


If a step is no longer available in the palette because it's deprecated or withdrawn, you can locate a new version of the step, or open the step definition to view the deprecated version's settings:


Duplicate a step on the canvas

Estimated availability: Mid-August

Want to quickly create a copy of an existing step on your flow canvas, including its configuration? This is useful when you're building multiple flows on the same canvas that follow the same sets of steps. And, it's especially handy for saving you time duplicating steps with complex configurations, like the Create Alert or Post to Slack steps.

To make a copy of a step, hover over the step on your canvas, click the options menu, and select Copy Step. The newly created step appears below your original step:


Replace flow variables using drag & drop

Estimated availability: Mid-August

If you've ever copied or moved a flow, or changed one of its upstream steps, then you're probably familiar with invalid variables in your step configuration. Updating these variables can be a bit of a chore, but we've just made it a lot easier and reduced the chance of errors.

Instead of first deleting a variable from an input field, you can now simply drag the new variable you want to use and drop it on top of the variable you want to replace ta da!


Palette design improvements

We've made some additional design improvements to the palette to make it easier for new and power users alike to have a better experience building flows and configuring steps. These include:

  • A 'Got it' box to help guide new users, and more room to display the names of steps:


  • A more intuitive design for step versioning relationships:


  • Double-click action to edit a step's definition, plus helpful tool-tips if you don't have edit permissions:


User experience

Usability is the central theme for every new feature or enhancement we add but also for making the things we already have in place even better. Here are a few of the improvements we've recently made.

Browser timeouts that preserve unsaved changes

For web applications, if you forget to save your work before you step away from your computer, chances are you'll be signed out and lose your unsaved changes an incredibly frustrating situation, which we're happy to report will no longer happen to your xMatters account.

When xMatters detects that you've been inactive for a defined period (set by your xMatters administrator), you'll receive a prompt in your browser warning you your session is about to expire. If you don't take action your session expires; however, as long as your browser window remains open, you can sign back in and pick up exactly where you left off, unsaved changes and all:


User profile: redesigned Roles tab

Estimated Availability: Mid-August

In our last release, we redesigned the user profile in our web user interface to make it easier to find and manage user detail settings for yourself and users you supervise. We continue that work this release, with improvements for the interface for managing a user's roles in xMatters.

The new Roles screen makes it easier to add and remove roles, and understand which of a user's permissions are associated with each role:


Sneak peek: Custom user properties

An additional enhancement to the user profile that we're currently working on is a new Custom User Properties screen that combines custom fields and custom attributes into a single, intuitive interface. This will make it easier to create and manage user data, and to sync this information between HR systems and xMatters:


Filter users & groups by when they were created

We've added the ability to filter users and groups by when they were created, either during a specific date range, or a relative period (e.g., the "Past 30 Days"). This is helpful if you need to look up users or groups that were created during a specific period, or the ones that were most-recently added so you can finish off any remaining setup configuration tasks.



In addition to adding support for services to the incident export and Post-Incident Report, we've embarked on a multi-release endeavor to improve event reporting in xMatters.

All Events report improvements

To make it easier to manage events and troubleshoot signal-to-notification workflows in your system, we're working to consolidate the Recent Events and All Events reports into a single interface. We've started this effort by adding more event information to the All Events report and enabling event management features. We've also made it simpler to find information about a specific event and track down any unexpected problems.

Manage your events

To help manage your events in one place, we've updated the All Events report with the following:

  • Manage events: Suspend, resume, and terminate active events, control any related conference bridges, and add filtered subsets of users to new or existing groups for follow-up.
  • Monitor event activity: Get user delivery statistics, responses, and add comments all on a single screen.
  • Get an event's history:  Explore how an event unfolded using the event's log and timeline.
  • View suppressed events: See related events that were suppressed and link to the related workflow to easily manage suppression rules.


Troubleshoot signals, events, & notifications

We've also enhanced the All Events report's ability to connect you with the information you need:

  • If an event doesn't contain the information you expect, click the Request ID to view the related signal payload and review its input properties.
  • If outbound integrations aren't behaving as you intended, go directly to the Activity Stream from the related entry in the event log.
  • If users had device failures, drill-through to review a detailed list so you can help users clean up their device configurations.

Other product updates

Last release we gave you a sneak peek of our designs for supporting different user license types in the xMatters web user interface. This time around, we can give you a better look at what it actually looks like in production.

Support for Stakeholder & Full User license types

We've added support to the web user interface for Stakeholder and Full User license types included in Base and Advanced xMatters plans. If you've got this feature enabled in your instance, you can now define license types when you manually add or edit users or use the User Upload tool:


Since users with Stakeholder licenses cannot respond to xMatters notifications they receive, it's important to know who these users are when targeting them as a recipient or resolver, or when assigning on-call responsibilities. To help you clearly identify these users, we've added a Stakeholder label next to their name or device in the Recipients and Resolvers selectors, and in Groups:


If you need to view a list of users with specific license types, you can use the new License Type filter on the Users page to get this information:


xMatters REST API enhancements

We continually enhance our xMatters REST API calls to support new features and functionality, and to replace existing SOAP and older REST methods. These calls not only support customer integration needs, they're also the foundation for data access by our mobile clients, the web user interface, and other key xMatters services. In this release we focused on improving access to forms and scenarios and making enhancements to some of our existing REST web services.

New endpoints

Create or modify an incident
You can now programmatically initiate and update incidents using the xMatters REST API. Our new POST /incidents endpoint lets you specify the incident's summary, description, severity, and status. The authenticating user that created the incident is assigned as the Incident Commander.

Get incidents
The GET /incidents endpoint lets you retrieve a list of the incidents in your xMatters instance. You can use query parameters to search for incidents based on keywords in the summary and description fields, or by incident identifier; for example:

  • GET /incidents?search=database
  • GET /incidents?search=customer+portal&fields=DESCRIPTION

You can also use the endpoint to search for an incident by specifying its request identifier:

  • GET /incidents?requestId=92eb2567-38d0-40e5-8fbd-fa1f9e1454bd

Get a specific incident
To return a single incident, you can specify the incident's unique identifier or incident number:

  • GET /incidents/ab1d6091-7d58-41e2-af72-49c69b3d9b65
  • GET /incidents/INC-145

Add a timeline note
You can use POST /incidents/{incidentID)/timeline-entries to add a note to the timeline of an existing incident. The authenticating user who posts the note is recorded as the author of the note.

Create and modify forms
Ever wished you could programmatically modify or create a new form? The POST /plans/{planId}/form endpoint lets you do just that – you can create either a messaging form or flow trigger form, set its description, and specify whether it's enabled for mobile, the web UI, or for API use.

Get scenarios
Get all the scenarios! Until now, you could use the xMatters REST API to return the scenarios for a form in a communication plan, but what if you wanted to easily get all of the scenarios in your system?

You can now use our new GET /scenarios endpoint to retrieve all the scenarios in your instance. You can search for scenarios that contain keywords, as well as those which are enabled for the xMatters mobile app or the web user interface. For example:

  • GET /scenarios?search=Vancouver
  • GET /scenarios?enabledFor=MOBILE

Configure external conference bridges
Customers using third-party conference providers can now configure external conference bridges and add them to messaging forms using the xMatters REST API. We've added the following new endpoints for managing your external conference bridge configurations:

  • GET /conference-bridges – returns all external conference bridge configurations in your system.
  • GET /conference-bridges/{bridgeId} – returns a specific conference bridge configuration.
  • POST /conference-bridges – creates or modifies the configuration for an external conference bridge.
  • DELETE /conference-bridges/{bridgeId} – deletes an external conference bridge from the system, and from any form or scenario where it's used.

Updated endpoints

Get a form in a plan
We've just made a small (but handy!) update for retrieving a specific form in a communication plan. Instead of using the nested path /plans/{planId}/forms/{formId} to identify the form, you can now instead use the alias forms/{formId}.

So, while you can still get the recipients for a specific form in a plan like this...
GET /plans/{planId}/forms/{formId}/recipients
... you can now alternatively use the simplified path:
GET /forms/{formId}/recipients

That's much less of a mouthful! For more information, see Get a form in a plan.

We've also made some minor updates and clarifications to a few other endpoints:

  • GET /plans - Filter by enabled or disabled workflows.
  • GET /forms - Filter by the type of workflow the form belongs to (custom, built-in, or reserved xMatters system workflows).
  • GET /subscriptions - Clarified which operators accept single or multiple values.
  • GET /people - Sort people by username, target name, status, web login, last login, site, or roles — and in ascending or descending order. Also, filter by when a user was created.

What's next?

Over the next quarter we’ll be working on building out a set of API endpoints to support incidents in xMatters. We'll be starting with operations like reading and filtering incidents, updating incident status or severity, adding notes to incidents, and reading data from the timeline. We're also planning additions to our API calls for events, including support for attachments, scheduled messages, and more.

You can learn more about the xMatters REST API in our online help.

Early Access Program & feature delivery update

The goal of our current delivery model for xMatters On-Demand is to balance feature delivery with customer change management processes. This means providing visibility into upcoming changes for customers that want it, while allowing other customers to have a more standard non-production environment that matches production.

If you aren't familiar with the current model, we release features only visible to admins/developers at a faster pace than the quarterly release process. These features should not impact end users until a customer provisions them into their workflow. Customers can opt their non-production environments into the Early Access Program to see features and functionality enhancements that impact end users before they're released on a quarterly basis. All customer non-production environments are updated two weeks prior to official quarterly production release to allow for testing and training on new features.

We regularly reevaluate and improve our deployment processes to ensure they reflect industry best practices and customer feedback. For more information about our deployment process, see our On-Demand Deployment Process and Early Access article. We'll update that document whenever we make a change, and let you know about the change through other appropriate channels.

Learn more

These are the main features for this release but be aware that there are a number of other small changes and enhancements we're delivering to keep xMatters looking sharp. Detailed information and instructions for using these new features will be available in our online documentation.

We hope you enjoy this release! See you again soon...

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  • The Missile Command release is now available in production environments.