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Postmortem reviews/actions

Postmortem Reviews/Actions:

Postmortem reviews are systematic analyses of incidents or outages to identify root causes and prevent future occurrences. They involve gathering data, analyzing events, and developing action plans to address the underlying issues.

Key Steps in Postmortem Reviews:

  1. Incident Identification: Clearly define the incident or outage that triggered the review.

  2. Data Collection: Gather relevant data, such as logs, metrics, and eyewitness accounts, to understand the sequence of events.

  3. Timeline Creation: Construct a detailed timeline of events leading up to and during the incident.

  4. Root Cause Analysis: Identify the root cause(s) of the incident using techniques like the “Five Whys” or “Fishbone Diagram.”

  5. Action Plan Development: Formulate concrete actions to address the root causes and prevent similar incidents in the future.

  6. Communication and Documentation: Share the findings of the postmortem review with stakeholders and document the process and outcomes for future reference.

Examples and References:

Benefits of Postmortem Reviews:

Postmortem reviews are a crucial part of building reliable and resilient systems. By conducting thorough analyses and taking appropriate actions, organizations can significantly reduce the likelihood and impact of future incidents.

Tools and Products for Postmortem Reviews/Actions:

  1. Blameless:

    • Website
    • Description: Blameless is an incident management platform that helps teams conduct thorough postmortem reviews. It provides features like automated data collection, timeline creation, root cause analysis, and action tracking.
  2. PagerDuty:

    • Website
    • Description: PagerDuty is an incident response and on-call management platform. It offers postmortem features such as incident retrospectives, blameless RCA, and automated documentation.
  3. Honeycomb:

    • Website
    • Description: Honeycomb is an observability platform that enables detailed analysis of distributed systems. Its features include real-time tracing, profiling, and error tracking, which can be valuable during postmortem reviews.
  4. xMatters:

    • Website
    • Description: xMatters is an incident management and communication platform. It provides postmortem capabilities such as timeline reconstruction, RCA, and automated reporting.
  5. Postmortem.io:

    • Website
    • Description: Postmortem.io is a dedicated platform for conducting postmortem reviews. It offers guided templates, collaboration tools, and analytics to help teams analyze incidents and take corrective actions.
  6. RCA.sh:

    • Website
    • Description: RCA.sh is an open-source tool specifically designed for root cause analysis. It provides a structured approach to identifying and addressing the underlying causes of incidents.

These tools and resources can assist teams in conducting effective postmortem reviews, facilitating collaboration, and implementing actionable insights to prevent future incidents.

Related Terms to Postmortem Reviews/Actions:

These related terms encompass the broader context of incident management, system reliability, and engineering practices that contribute to effective postmortem reviews and actions.


Before conducting effective postmortem reviews and taking appropriate actions, several key elements need to be in place:

Having these elements in place sets the stage for conducting meaningful postmortem reviews that lead to actionable insights and improvements to prevent future incidents and enhance system reliability.

What’s next?

After conducting postmortem reviews and taking appropriate actions, several key steps should be taken to ensure continuous improvement and prevent similar incidents in the future:

By taking these steps after postmortem reviews, organizations can create a continuous cycle of learning and improvement, reducing the likelihood and impact of future incidents and enhancing the overall reliability and resilience of their systems.