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How to Continuously Improve Your Incident Management Practices

Jason Hand March 10, 2017


Continuous improvement is central to all DevOps efforts. At VictorOps, we’re seeing businesses of all sizes and resource constraints **seek ways to help drive innovation **in their organizations. When we empower our teams to continuously learn, their ability to adapt and grow becomes a differentiating factor, contributing to their organization’s success.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

A cultural characteristic of any organization currently embarking on their own DevOps journey is one of a “growth mindset.” Without the ability to leverage feedback loops to learn, improve, and innovate, market leaders quickly find themselves falling behind.

It is our aim to enable teams and businesses to recover from service disruptions as quickly as possible and to continuously improve their on-call and incident management efforts, further advancing them in the modern world of complex systems engineering, operations, and support.

A Roadmap for Improvement

A Maturity Model is a recognized means by which an organization can measure its progress against established industry benchmarks and behaviors. Progress along the journey strengthens the organization, regardless of whether it has achieved “expert” level in any one or more categories. Identifying “where are we now?” helps to establish the next logical step in an organization’s journey toward success.

The VictorOps Incident Management Assessment (IMA) is a skills analysis tool to help IT teams and organizations understand their current domain and the obvious next step toward providing increased availability of service, not to mention a roadmap toward continuous improvement. We have built a series of questions designed to assess your organization’s incident management practices.

The value proposition of the Incident Management Assessment is to help identify language and behavior patterns you may observe in yourself or others as they cycle through the lifecycle of an incident. When you complete the survey, VictorOps will send you a detailed “Expert Analysis” of your current on-call and incident management efforts. It will include actionable suggestions on how to continuously improve from novice to expert.

Language and Behavior

Throughout the 25-question survey, there will be some subjective elements and room for interpretation. Your results will likely fall into different maturity categories within the model (‘Expert’ at ‘Detection’ and Proficient at ‘Remediation’ etc.). The behavior and language examples used throughout this analysis are commonplace in many organizations. Loosely based on actual behavior and language patterns observed and documented in large technology companies around the world, we expect that you’ll identify which survey questions most accurately describe your organization’s current scenario.

The (Dreyfus) Model of Incident Management Lifecycles

The maturity model closely follows the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition. Describing the lifecycle of incidents in the context of large-scale technology infrastructure, the model assigns “maturity” or skill levels (Novice, Beginner, Competent, Proficient, and Expert) as they relate to each phase (Detection, Response, Remediation, Analysis, and Readiness).

Your Results

Your custom analysis will identify which stage of incident management maturity your organization most closely resembles. The analysis is based on five stages of increasing skill as laid out in the Dreyfus model; Novice, Beginner, Competent, Proficient, and Expert.

In any given category, your organization’s level of maturity may match the business objects and service level agreements that govern your world. With this assessment of your organization’s current conditions, you can identify and achieve specific improvements.

IMA graphic

Many of our customers are well-versed in DevOps principles. As a result, language such as “best practices” and “root cause” are no longer part of team lexicon. Through a deeper understanding of “Systems Thinking,” those organizations have advanced well beyond most in their own incident management maturity related to service availability, and we believe strongly that you can continuously improve your own situation as well.

**Continuously improve your incident management process by providing deeper infrastructure visibility, improving team collaboration, and conducting thorough post-incident reviews. Check out our 14-day free trial to see why VictorOps is the DevOps-centric solution for incident management.

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