It’s unavoidable. Even the best DevOps teams will run into problems. 

Yep, that’s right—even yours. And you can expect it to happen more than once too.

So, what does that mean? Should you give up and let all of your hard work over the years come crashing down? 

Well, no. It just means that you need to start thinking about your incident management process better. Because if you don’t, you too could lose £80 million ($102 million) – as British Airways did during a 2017 system outage.

Fear not, though, because there’s no need to panic. Today, you’re going to learn not just why you need an incident management plan – but also how to create one that works. 

Keep reading to find out more and start taking action today. 

What Is Incident Management?  

Incident management is how you respond to problems with your systems. When you fix a system outage or security breach, these are both examples of incident management. 

Below is a quick overview of what incident management looks like. 

Identification: Before you can solve a problem, you need to find out what’s wrong. 

You can set up alerts, proactively check your systems, and listen to customer feedback. If an employee is experiencing an issue, you will probably receive details on this through a workplace ticketing system. 

Addressing the issue: After identifying the problem, your team needs to figure out the best way to fix it. You will need to decide whether one team member can solve the issue or if it needs everyone’s input. 

When the problem’s resolved, you can test to make sure it’s completely fixed. After that, you can close the ticket and move on to the next steps. 

Learning from what went wrong: Once your team has resolved the issue and closed the ticket, you need to figure out why each technical issue happened. This applies to every case, whether it’s a big system failure or minor outage. 

Along with looking at what went wrong, you should think about how you can stop these problems from happening again. 

It would be best if you kept all of your reports in a log on a secure database. This way, your team can access these folders in case something similar happens in the future. 

For a more in-depth look at the incident management process, check out this diagram.

The Importance of an Incident Management Process

Worse customer experience: Technical errors aren’t entirely unforgivable. However, you need to communicate these with your employees and customers fast. You must also provide regular updates. 

If the same issues happen repeatedly, however, you’re going to have bigger problems. Beyond getting annoyed, users will lose faith in your platform if they keep suffering the same issues. 

When they lose trust in you, the likelihood is that they’ll spend their money with a competitor instead. Bad for your company’s bank balance, and even worse for your industry reputation. 

Less time on your hands: If you don’t have an effective incident management process plan, all of your actions will lack direction. You will spend more time than you need working out how to address problems when they arise. 

Your team will also have no idea what they’re supposed to do. This will then lead to confusion and communication delays. 

When you spend all of your time dealing with problems that could have been solved quicker, you lose time in other areas. You won’t be able to focus on more critical projects, resulting in them not moving forward as fast. 

Repeated problems that you could easily avoid: This point links to the above. If you do not have a plan that involves a post-mortem assessment, you won’t know how to stop these problems from happening again. 

Everything becomes a vicious cycle. A problem arises, you deal with it and close the ticket. But two days later, it happens again.

And again.

Until finally, you choose to sit down and work on your incident management strategy.

How to Create an Effective Incident Management Process Plan

Think of every situation where something could go wrong. Think small, and think big. Because the events you don’t plan for are probably the ones that will happen. 

To get a bigger picture, talk to your team too. Let them share their past experiences and what they learned from them. Besides thinking hypothetically, you should also draw on lessons you’ve learned before. 

Once you’ve thought of every potential scenario, you can start planning for them. After doing this, your team will be better prepared and can work through problems faster.

Set up alerts. Yes, you should be proactive. But at the same time, you can’t catch everything. The last thing you want is to be unaware of an ongoing issue, which then gets worse and worse. 

The easiest way to catch technical problems is by setting up alerts. When you have done this, you will act faster and solve issues before they become problematic. 

When you set up alerts, you can also group them afterward. This will allow you to access files easier and save your team from needing to sift through thousands of tickets. 

Train your team. When you’ve put together an incident management process plan, you need to make sure that all of your team members know their duties when something happens. Everyone should know not only about their roles but also everyone else’s. 

After your plan is ready, set aside as much time as you need to walk everyone through the process. 

You will ensure that everyone can both complete tickets faster and carry out a full post-issue analysis. Your team will then run more efficiently as a result. 

Save Time on Your Incident Management by Putting Together an Effective Plan 

Your incident management process strategy is vital for dealing with problems effectively. You must automate your incident reporting as much as possible, consult your team and put together a full start-to-finish plan. 

After you have implemented the tips in this article, your team will respond to outages faster. You will then improve customer experience, reduce the chances of issues happening again, and have more time for important projects. Now you know the importance of an incident management process, why not find out our other blog posts on running more effectively as a DevOps team?