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You’ll always want to be more proactive than reactive when it comes to incident management. But, unknown unknowns will always exist, so it’s important to understand how to best handle outages when they occur. Building a collaborative DevOps team and implementing SRE will help you respond to outages quickly and fix issues faster.
Collaboration begins with one thing—understanding. And a deeper understanding comes from improved visibility. More information and context upfront will allow your people to easily comprehend the outage and take action. Added visibility will speed up both incident response and remediation.
By association, added visibility creates more observable systems. Better system observation leads to better alerting, incident detection, and overall incident collaboration. Finding ways to take raw log or error data and turn it into actionable insights will simplify internal workflows and communication when you’re hit with an outage.
Once you’re able to more effectively observe your system, you can start working on the processes outside of the technology. Ask yourself questions about your response. What can you do to better respond to outages? How can you improve communication once an alert comes in? How can you know about an outage more quickly?
Adding integrated SRE into your feature development will produce more stable releases and prepare your teams for an outage when it does happen. Give cross-functional teams more exposure to applications in production in order to improve team-wide system understanding. Stress testing, running chaos experiments, or even implementing game days can expose areas for improvement. Simply allowing your team to explore the system and try things will give your team the confidence and understanding they’ll need when an outage happens.
Saying you’ll be able to prevent outages is naive. But, establishing workflows for SRE and offering a range of integrated chat tools will result in a more responsive approach to DevOps outage collaboration. Improved visibility, confidence, and exposure are a good place to start. But, you also need to optimize communication and collaboration. Figure out how your teams are currently working, how that can be improved, and how you can leverage technology to benefit collaboration.
Automate as much as you can. Setting up automation that can escalate, route, and provide contextual alerts to the right person at the right time will speed up incident response and resolution. Don’t make your teams spend time figuring out what to do, try to provide this to them as quickly as possible. Supplying runbooks, log data, charts, and incident history with automated contextual alerts will immediately give DevOps teams what they need to respond to an issue.
Allow people to customize alerting policies and chat through their preferred methods of communication. Don’t fight how your team wants to work. That being said, working to centralize communication from Slack, email, and SMS can improve incident visibility and make collaboration easier. Added visibility allows people to chime in on an incident when they may have previously been unaware. Finding the right balance between communication options and visibility will drastically improve outage responsiveness and collaboration.
VictorOps centralizes contextual alerting, monitoring, and communication. Sign up for a 14-day free trial to see why DevOps teams are choosing VictorOps to improve outage collaboration.