IT incidents from active directory, account deletion, printer not printing, and monitor flickering to software development incidents such as application delivery and code merge issues can affect anything from a single user to an entire business. Both DevOps and ITIL (IT infrastructure library) incident management process flows can restore your day-to-day service operations. But, DevOps-centric organizations collaborate more effectively, diminishing the adverse effects of incidents on your business operations.
So, let’s go over the basics of both DevOps and ITIL incident management process flows to learn how they differ and how most teams are improving the system.
A successfully implemented incident management process flow can:
- Reduce the unplanned cost of your IT service staff by minimizing the number of incident tickets
- Decrease downtime with faster incident detection and resolution, reducing MTTA/MTTR over time.
- Increase productivity across your organization by restoring operations quickly
- Improve user satisfaction
- Decrease the impact on business and end users with enhanced monitoring
- Reduce lost incidents
The ITIL incident management process flow
ITIL offers a framework, adopted by multiple organizations to efficiently handle IT service delivery and meet their IT goals. The ITIL incident management process flow was designed to help teams automatically manage reported incidents and remediate issues faster.
The ITIL incident management process flow includes the following stages:
1) Incident identification and logging
First, an incident is identified – either by an impacted user who reports it to the service desk or via automated event monitoring tools (detecting an incident at an early stage, hopefully before it can affect the user). Once an incident is identified, the service desk logs it as a ticket along with relevant details like date/time, description and user information. After logging, each incident is assigned a category to track and analyze incident frequencies. The categorization also helps in prioritizing the incidents based on the level of urgency and their impact on business and users.
2) Incident investigation and diagnosis
High priority incidents are addressed first due to their impact on service delivery. This stage involves the analysis and testing of incidents. A technician from the IT service desk generally relies on the knowledge base, FAQs or known errors from the past for incident diagnosis and investigation.
3) Incident assignment or escalation
When the service desk fails to provide a quick resolution, the incident is escalated to 2nd and 3rd level support teams of technicians. With advanced skills to resolve specific kinds of incidents, the 2nd and 3rd level support teams should be equipped with the knowledge required to resolve an incident.
4) Incident resolution
Once the incident has been diagnosed and investigated by the proper people, they can identify a solution. Then, the IT team takes steps to implement the solution, test and confirm that service recovery is complete.
5) Incident closure
The incident can be considered closed once it has been resolved and both end users and internal teams are satisfied. The service desk then ensures initial incident details, documentation and categorization is precise for reporting and future reference.
DevOps makes incident management easier
Applying DevOps to your incident management process flow can improve software delivery and help you proactively enhance service reliability. DevOps tightens collaboration between software developers and IT teams – providing better visibility to processes and systems, helping you resolve incidents faster. Development time saved by the faster resolution of incidents can be used for building a resilient system and developing new features rather than simply responding to issues.
Let’s look at some of the areas where DevOps can improve the ITIL incident management process flow:
Incident management solutions often lead to alert fatigue. DevOps teams can collaborate and create visibility into monitoring and alerting tools – reducing the likelihood of multiple alerts being raised for the same incident. A DevOps culture can connect the needs of developers and IT to help redefine anomaly thresholds, create actionable alerts with real-time logs and metrics and accelerate incident resolution.
Incident response and resolution:
With the right tools and processes, DevOps teams can efficiently reroute the incident, loop in the required people and collaborate around the incident in real-time - all in one centralized solution.
Getting DevOps teams to take on-call responsibilities can significantly decrease downtime and improve system reliability. Since the DevOps team is responsible for both the development and upkeep of the application, they’ll have deeper insights into what might have gone wrong and know how to resolve incidents faster. A DevOps team shares accountability for the services they build, consolidates applicable alert context, collaborates in real-time and resolves incidents faster.
Making the process better with post-incident reviews:
Once an incident is resolved, DevOps teams will conduct post-incident reviews – a report with a consolidated list of what worked well and what didn’t, and which processes need improvement. It’s easier to collect data from multiple teams spread out in different areas of the organization (e.g. mobile, infrastructure, web, data, etc.) in a DevOps environment. The more insights you can collect from your post-incident review analysis, the better your incident management process can be.
Learn more about implementing DevOps on your own team. Download our free eBook, Why DevOps Matters, to see how you can easily tweak IT and software development processes to deliver reliable services faster.