PIR: Post-Incident Review and Why It’s Important

15 October 2018 | Articles, Atlassian

When your business relies on IT services, your users need to have the best experience while connecting with your products. But what if something goes wrong? By improving your IT Service Management (ITSM) and working on a good incident management plan, you can be proactive and avoid future problems that may impact your users’ and employees satisfaction.

PIR (post-incident review) is an important part of an incident management plan and may be a useful step to avoid major service interruptions from becoming recurring problems.

Why do I need a PIR?

When your IT team’s work is focused on an agile approach, retrospectives are necessary when facing outages. Incidents happen – but they can teach valuable lessons. After solving the incident, it’s time to evaluate what went well, what didn’t go well, and what the team learned from this moment.

It’s good to think that when you finish responding to an incident, it’s not the end of a disaster recovery, but the beginning of an improvement process.

How do I start?

Collaboration, transparency, and trust are the main pillars of post-mortem articles. Your team needs to collaborate, add all the information, and share their perception on the incidents. While building these articles, the team must trust one other while closing the incident and focusing on the future improvements.

You can add the PIR as a step of your incident management and implement a mindset of writing PIRs when you have major incidents. This way, you create a culture of learning from mistakes.

Here are some steps to build your PIR:

What better time than now?

Act as fast as you can. Schedule a meeting after the incident is resolved and start your PIR. It’s crucial to choose someone to be responsible for writing it and gathering all the information.
It’s important to build a timeline using detailed information to grasp a better understanding of the context surrounding the incident. Having the information fresh on your mind while writing the PIR will yield more clear details. These details, such as when the ticket was submitted, response time, time to resolution, and when the incident was communicated to the users, are valuable pieces of information when documenting the incident.

Templates are useful

Build a template to help you organize your review. It’s important to have a standardized process that can make your work easier. Try incorporating these sections on your template:

  • Meeting attendees
  • What occurred during the incident
  • Impact of the incident
  • Timeline of the event
  • Lessons Learned
    • What went well?
    • What can be improved?
  • Action items

It’s never time to blame. It’s always time to learn.

People need to be comfortable to provide their perspective on the incident and their insights to avoid similar future situations. When people are afraid of taking the blame, they can potentially avoid documenting specific items. This would likely lead to an inaccurate view of what actually happened.

Be generous and help your team understand while discussing the root causes of the incident and what should be done differently next time.

Reviews don’t improve services. Actions do.

Some people may have worked on a PIR in the past and claim they didn’t see value from it. This is why it’s so important to connect the post-mortem article with actions on a backlog to act on the insights you gain from the PIR. With clear tasks, goals, and the capacity to track your work, your team can start promoting changes that can reduce your incidents.

If it’s not available and well-promoted, it can be forgotten.

Document and share the post-mortem article with people who need to know these details. Make it visible, organized, and clear. Company stakeholders value usable information, your teammates can use the review to resolve issues faster and document them for future uses.

How Atlassian tools can optimize your PIR

When documenting an incident timeline, working on a single platform that can put together all the information makes the process of collecting data is faster and more efficient. Combining Atlassian tools, you can avoid context switching and connect the work between different teams and activities with greater ease and clarity.

For instance, look at how an Atlassian environment provides resources for producing PIRs based off a real-life incident like this one:

  • There’s a major outage on your application.
  • The application users start to open support tickets on your portal on Jira Service Desk.
  • Your IT team updates this service status on StatusPage so that the customers have real-time information for what is happening.
  • Your support team creates a war room on HipChat or Stride and involves your development team to understand how they can fix the bugs that were presented.
  • After solving this issue, it’s time to document what happened on Confluence and schedule a PIR meeting if the incident was critical.What is the visibility provided by the Atlassian tools for this incident?

What is the visibility provided by the Atlassian tools for this incident?

  • You have detailed information documented on Confluence.
  • You connect the information you get from the open ticket on Jira Service Desk like when it was opened, what was the incident, who was assigned to the ticket.
  • You know when and how the incident communication in Statuspage was managed.
  • The discussions and decisions made in the war rooms created after the incident in chat tools like Slack or Rocket.Chat can be tracked and listed on the PIR.
  • After all the discussions, decisions and reviews, it’s time to distribute the tasks, monitor their status and ensure that they are ready with JIRA Software.

PIRs are a vital part of any incident management plan and the benefits that Atlassian tools can provide to build those crucial reports for your IT team. If you want to evaluate how the Atlassian suite can help you improve ITSM or discuss best practices and processes to implement on your company, e-Core can help. Take a look at our ITSM solutions or contact a member of our sales team.

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