How to Improve IT Processes with Opsgenie Postmortems

In today’s age of technological convenience, customers expect software, programs, and services to be available, all the time and functioning perfectly. But as IT veterans, we know that incidents and even the occasional downtime are inevitable for many DevOps, Incident Management, and IT Operations teams. 

Modern Incident Management is all about how you respond, manage, and correct these issues that will improve or degrade the customer experience, and ultimately, your bottom line as unhappy customers defect, or happy customers share their positive experience

As IT consultants and Atlassian partners, we have been iterating and improving our own incident management process over Coyote Creek’s twenty-plus years

Obviously, when an incident happens, we want to respond promptly, minimize the duration of an outage or issue, and help our clients and their customers get back to business as soon as possible- but we also want to learn from every one of these experiences. 

Learning from IT Incidents with Opsgenie Postmortems

At Coyote Creek, we analyze each of our incidents and use the information to help us implement improvements into our processes and the software we deploy and manage for ourselves and our clients. 

We do this with Opsgenie postmortem functionality. The postmortem captures all of the details of the event and presents them to us in a logical way so that we can have a birds-eye view of the process. 

Analyzing the incident management lifecycle after it’s completed is invaluable for us because it allows us to identify areas for improvement for the end-user as well as address areas where a negative impact occurred. 

What Should Be Included in a Postmortem Analysis

When creating and filtering data for your incident postmortem, you should include all the actionable data, rather than just a high-level overview or synopsis of the incident. 

Data points to include are:

  • Time Frame (dates, times, duration) 
  • Services and users affected 
  • Root cause
  • Impact and how it was detected
  • Automation of escalation routing 
  • Meantime for responders to acknowledge alerting

For additional help getting started with your incident postmortems, check out these incident postmortem templates provided by Atlassian. 

How to Create an Opsgenie Postmortem

Once an incident is resolved in Opsgenie, the system will prompt you to create a postmortem based on the incident. 

Next, you will add in the details of the incident from Opsgenie’s logs and of your own notes and link the relevant tickets from Jira or Jira Service Desk. Then you have the option to select “Export to Confluence” from the drop-down in the top right portion of the screen. We’ll go into more detail about why this is important later in this article.

Should you elect to export to Confluence, all of the details of your incident postmortem from Opsgenie will be displayed publicly in your Confluence account. 

As an added note, if you’d like to display the incident timeline of your exported postmortem (and we think you should) install the Opsgenie Incident Timeline app for Confluence from the Atlassian Marketplace before you perform the export.

The Best Postmortems are Blameless 

Including the right data is key, but the true test of a postmortem value is how your team members and stakeholders collaborate to utilize the information and make improvements to the software and service management processes. 

However, we want to caution that this is not the time to point fingers when it comes to errors, mistakes, and bugs. In fact, the blame shouldn’t be assigned at all. Instead, everyone should review the data objectively and offer thoughtful suggestions on how to be most effective and actionable with the postmortem data.

Assume that all associated team members had the best intentions at the time the error was introduced and with the information they had at the time. 

Additionally, providing an easy, straight forward way for everyone in the company to review the report and be involved in implementing the improvements. This helps all parties to have the context they need, particularly if you’re asking for them to make changes to their typical procedures.

Sharing Postmortems with the Entire Org

Additionally, providing an easy, straight forward way for everyone in the company to review the report and be involved in implementing the improvements. This helps all parties to have the context they need, particularly if you’re asking for them to make changes to their typical procedures.

Now Opsgenie users can share these postmortem analyses with everyone in the company by exporting it directly to Confluence Cloud. 

Getting Started with Opsgenie Best Practices

As consumers get more accustomed to the instant gratification that comes with technological innovation, they also expect that the tools and services they use every day will be available at all times. 

This just isn’t realistic. Sometimes, errors, bugs, and even outages can occur. Agile IT teams know that their success ultimately relies on how they respond to these events and, more importantly, how they learn from them. 

Opsgenie postmortem provides an excellent opportunity for your IT teams, as well as your entire organization, to learn from incident postmortem reports and make improvements that result in happier customers and better service. 

If you’d like to dive deeper into how Coyote Creek does Incident Management and Alerts,  as well as best practices for utilizing Opsgenie, please download our new whitepaper, Opsgenie: Modern Incident Management and Alerts for Remote Teams.