What is an Incident Post-Mortem?

A post-mortem is a process that is conducted to help you learn from past incidents. It involves a discussion or analysis after the occurrence of an event. As your systems grow in complexity, failure is always inevitable. In that case, remediation and assessment are often time-consuming and involved. For this reason, it becomes painful to repeat recurring mistakes. It is expensive to miss data whenever you need it. Most organizations always conduct a post mortem analysis that assesses whatever happens when they restore a service. Any resolution, in an organization setup, is never complete until a team has reflected and documented on it.

Conducting a post-mortem, however, is often a time-consuming task. On each post mortem examination, teams often spend more time to piece together the events of occurrence from different information sources. Streamlining the whole process is paramount in helping your teams get the best results from the time invested. While extracting more learning, spending less time conducting the post mortem process is a faster path to increased operational maturity. As a matter of fact, the values of post-mortem comes from helping the companies develop a culture around iterative and frequent improvement.

Different ways can be used by organizations to refer to the post mortem process. Other terms used in this industry include:

• Post-incident review
• Incident report
• Incident review
• After-action review
• Learning review
• Cause analysis

Streamline the Post Mortem Process

The specific details that surround the process of conducting the post mortem vary from one company to another. Regardless of the company’s process, the main purpose of conducting post-mortems is learning. The process to be followed, regardless of the systems under review depends on how the company executes such processes during the crisis. Additional company goals, including implementation and identification of processes and systems improvements, can be realized depending on the followed process.

An effective report from post-mortem, in general, tells a story. Post mortem reports must have the inclusion of the following:

A high-end summary of the proceedings

This question asks the customers and services affected. How long was the issue prolonged? Whose response was prompted in action? How was the problem fixed in the end?

What is an Incident Post-Mortem?

While we what ask ourselves what happened, we should also inquire to know why it ever happened in the first place.

A time-line of significant activity

You can centralize the paramount activities from incident details, chat conversations, and much more.
Why conduct post-mortems
The team is often focused on restoring the broken company service during the incident response. They should not, and can’t be wasting mental energy and time on thinking about how to conduct their services with optimum levels of action. They should also not figure out the cause of that outage. This is the reason why conducting the post mortems is imperative. This process installs a learning culture, drives focus, and identifies improvement opportunities that could have been lost.

Post mortems matter because you will establish the right organization’s culture if you learn together without failing forward with continuous and iterative improvements.