SRE Blog

Better living through reliability.

Postmortem Tip of the Day: Idiosyncratic Knowledge


Some postmortem templates include "Lessons Learned" as a filloutable bullet pointed section in addition to the "What Went Right", "What Went Wrong", and "Where We Got Lucky" sections. I actually don't really like this section and when I see it I wonder if it was a copy/paste error. Perhaps this was accidentally converted from the title of the other sections to its own bullet list by accident?? The whole postmortem is a collective lesson learned after all!

Any bullet points in the "Lessons Learned" are likely more well suited to actually go in the other sections anyway. Especially as this will add clarity to put more emphasis around the priority and urgency of those items.

But regardless this brings up a good point about postmortem content. For any idiosyncratic knowledge that doesn't lead to action items or is specific to the author, and doesn't have more broad applications to the larger audience, then it shouldn't go in the postmortem.

It's hard to understand sometimes what other people think is important or what might be unimportant. Some techniques to help you calibrate yourself to your peers, team, and management is to: