Ever wondered what the major cause of distress between an IT’s development and operations team is! It is the “incidents”.
Incidents are the production problems that may arise at any stage of application implementation. With the increasing use of DevOps, it is now entirely their responsibility to ensure that every defect that is being detected in the production must be categorized, addressed and prioritized.
Since IT is looked-upon to automate solutions to various businesses around the world, it itself needs the performance-enhancing tools to deliver best of their services. Incident management tool is one of such creativity from the best IT brains.
Situations that lead to an incident management tool
Not-so-good issues tend to happen pre and post-production of an application; some of them requires immediate attention while others can relatively wait to get addressed. For example, staff must be there on 24 hour & cross-time-zone basis for customer-facing DevOps.
With the trend of adopting DevOps in the industry, the things are getting pretty paced up. There can be a whopping reduction of 89% of the time in each production release. But this reduction can only be accepted if the outcome of the production met the quality metric. This means that it should be free of negative incidents pertaining to technical & business rules. So, a close watch is needed.
There are separate teams being designated to keep monitoring the production and report the incident as it occurs. This involved:
- Continuous testing at different phases of application production and implementation
- Monitoring the application throughout its lifetime for the occurrence of any undesirable incident
- Detect the site of the incident
- Categorise the incident on basis of priority, urgency, and impact
- Report the incident to the right level and responding personnel
- Keep the log of the incident occurrence and resolution cycle
- Maintain books for future references
This seems like a manual work which is prone to human limitations and errors. The following hindrances have led to the advent of incident management tools:
Inaccurate understanding of the incident
Once the incident has occurred, all the labor goes into understanding what might have gone wrong. The responding team will be able to provide the accurate solution if only the context of the incident is transcript well enough from the origination level. The personnel at this origination level might have missed some relevant initial analysis due to the limitation of a human brain.
Contextual information from the past records can be a hero here. Documentation, run books, images, logs, and a graph of metrics can be used to compose an accurate alert for the incident.
Unable to prioritize
Prioritizing the incidents is the most important task but too many incidents notification (referred to as alert fatigue)and lack of resources to handle them, can lead to a total miss of a critical issue. This can result in unacceptable cost, resource and time wastage.
Prioritization system is what needed in every automated application. One can base this system according to the functions and business logic of application & its client.
Lack of communication and escalation tools
Faster the incident is communicated, greater are its chances to get resolved in time. But at this need of an hour, one might struggle to reach out to the appropriate team, decipher the on-call personnel, use the effective communication mode (call, SMS, emails) and check out the next level escalating authority.
Integrate the tool with effective technology that would provide time bound notifications, the on-call team with their schedules and escalation level notification. Multiple channels like SMS, email, pop-up alerts, voice messages, schedule alerts, etc. can be induced by this tool.
IT applications are more often multi-located with different geographical teams working over them. It is utmost important to bring together each one of these teams to collaborate on the incident. To do this in person, it is a time-consuming process. Sometimes due to the urgency of the matter, the channel for collaboration is chosen wrongly, thus resulting in bottleneck situations.
Spreadsheets and emails are the traditional way of collaboration, which is now considered slower mediums, though. Instead, incorporate virtual chat rooms and slack channels into the automated incident tool. Multiple team collaboration with one notification can be a game changer here.
Poor post-incident resolution
The forementioned struggles may be the result of poor post-incident resolution task. Even a slight drift in recording the cause and solution process of an incident in past can result in ruining all future references. At the human level, there is a high possibility of occurrence of such events.
Documentation and log maintenance tools must be made part of every incident management tool.
Incident Management tools are the savior
A Forrester study reveals that about 70% of the time is spent in incident investigation and diagnosis phase, due to struggle in collaborating with other teams for resolving the incident. With DevOps reducing the significant percentage of production time, their integration with an incident management tool can be further helpful in increasing the percentage of work quality and delivery.