Incident Postmortem

Evaluate a recent incident and what the team have learnt from the experience.

Best For

Team evaluation of an incident

When to Use

After the dust has settled

This template can be used in the new version of Metro Retro - sign up for Early Access.

What is the Incident Postmortem template?

The Incident Postmortem template is a collaborative board that helps a team discuss a recent incident, review what they learnt, and decide how to prevent it happening again.

Responding to an incident like a system outage is a period of high-stress and it is only natural that emotions come into play. However this postmortem template guides a team through a structured, objective evaluation with the aim of improving the team's processes.

A collaborative post-mortem works best when there is a good level of psychological safety in the team. You are here to explore the issue and improve the team as a unit, not to place blame.

The session starts with reviewing the facts of the incident (you may want to pre-fill these before the meeting). Then the participants are asked to add points to four sections:

  1. What went well - how did we adapt and react positively?
  2. Lessons Learned - what have we learnt from the experience?
  3. Future Considerations - what should we do to prevent the incident happening again?
  4. Ongoing problems - what is an issue that still needs to be addressed?

To finish the session, the team identifies improvements they can make to prevent the incident happening again, and takes these away as actions.

This session can take 45-90 minutes, depending on complexity of the event and number of participants.

How to run the Incident Postmortem in Metro Retro

  1. Start by pre-filling the 'What Happened' section with the facts of the incident.
  2. Present the template and the objective to the team. Review the facts of the incident together.
  3. Ask the team to write their points, feedback and ideas in each of the four evaluation sections.
  4. Review the points together section by section.
  5. Ask the team to group similar themes together and label them.
  6. Hold a voting round to identify the top issues.
  7. Ask the team to brainstorm potential solutions or actions to the top issues (suggested you limit to 3 issues).
  8. Hold a voting round for the brainstormed solutions, and take the top-voted as actions into the next iteration of work. Assign a person and due date to each action.

Pro-tips

  • You may want to add extra data and information to the board. Copy/ paste images or use the .csv import to supplement the board with information from external systems.
  • Add or remove any sections from the board as required - everything in the template is customizable!
  • Spend time setting the tone of the meeting. For example read the Retrospective Prime Directive together: "Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand."

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