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DevOps Journal: Article

Your Next Move During an IT Postmortem Review

Three simple questions to continual service improvement

[This article first appeared in APM Digest almost a year ago and has been re-posted on LinkedIn.  The general concepts still hold true when considering 3 simple steps for continual service improvement.]

Can a postmortem review help foster a curiosity for innovative possibilities to make application performance better? Blue-sky thinkers may not want to deal with the myriad of details on how to manage the events being generated operationally, but could learn something from this exercise.

Consider the major system failures in your organization over the last 12 to 18 months. What if you had a system or process in place to capture those failures and mitigate them from a proactive standpoint preventing them from reoccurring? How much better off would you be if you could avoid the proverbial "Groundhog Day" with system outages?

The argument that system monitoring is just a nice to have, and not really a core requirement for operational readiness, dissipates quickly when a critical application goes down with no warning.

Starting with the Event and Incident Management processes may seem like a reactive approach when implementing an Application Performance Management (APM) solution, but is it really? If "Rome is burning", wouldn't the most prudent action be to extinguish the fire, then come up with a proactive approach for prevention? Managing the operational noise can calm the environment allowing you to focus on more of the strategic aspects of your business.

Asking the right questions during a postmortem review will help generate dialog, outlining options for alerting and prevention. This will direct your thinking towards a new horizon of continual improvement that will help galvanize proactive monitoring as an operational requirement.  The areas to focus your questions on should correlate to the Reactive, Proactive and Predictive mindsets. For further insight, click here to read the 3 questions that you can use that build on each other.

Image: Chrisgj6/Flickr

More Stories By Larry Dragich

Larry Dragich is actively involved with industry leaders, sharing knowledge of Application Performance Management (APM) technologies, from best practices and technical workflows, to resource allocation and approaches for implementation. He has been working in the APM space since 2006 where he built the Enterprise Systems Management team which is now the focal point for IT performance monitoring and capacity planning activities.