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How Mature is Your Incident Management?

Amanda Boughey January 22, 2018

DevOps Monitoring & Alerting

The path to streamlined incident management is different for everyone. We all care about minimizing downtime, keeping customers (and bosses) happy, and creating a firefighting experience that isn’t totally miserable. But what you prioritize—and how you ultimately streamline your incident management—will differ between teams. At VictorOps, we’ve divided incident management maturity into four stages: Reactive, tactical, integrated, and holistic.

Consider these questions to establish which stage you’re currently in:

  1. Are communication and collaboration expectations outlined?
  2. Are the roles of every team member defined?
  3. Do you have processes in place for incidents—from occurrence to review?
  4. Is your team consistently learning and improving?

If you can’t answer all of these questions, or if you answered no to more than a few, your organization is likely in the reactive phase.

If that’s the case, focus on becoming a tactical team by:

  • Setting up a comprehensive on-call rotation schedule
  • Investing in the right monitoring tools
  • Defining your team roles and collaboration expectations

If you have the answer to most of these questions, but still feel there’s room for improvement, you’re likely in the tactical phase—which makes sense, that’s the most common phase for organizations.

In order to grow from tactical to integrated, focus on:

  • Tracking your incidents from beginning to resolution
  • Creating and using runbooks
  • Automating as many processes as you can
  • Taking advantage of ChatOps tools
  • Reviewing your incidents as a team to learn for the future

If you had solid answers to all (or most) of the questions then you’re likely integrated or holistic—well done! Processes and tools are always changing and improving, so don’t get comfortable. Focus on continuous learning within your organization—as well as within the industry. Continuing to stay ahead of the curve should be most important to you.

Don’t stress too much if your organization isn’t in a mature state right now. Maturity takes time—and it’s important to keep in mind the ultimate goal isn’t always being holistic. Many organizations are successful at the integrated phase—and those currently in reactive see large improvements by focusing on being tactical.

Start your journey by learning more about incident management.

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