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Creating an Incident

Incident Page

The incident page is setup to provide you with the capabilities to manage all aspects of your incident:

  • The top section provides an overview of the incident metadata
  • The side panel focuses on incident information such as title, description, type, timings, tags, and team for quicker access and readability
  • The main panel focuses on core incident usability around events, tasks, follow-up actions and communications
Incident Details page - Overview
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When on the Incident Details page, clicking on an Incident link will direct to the record on the same tab.

To open the Incident in a new tab, depending on your operating system, do the following:

MacOS

Hover over the desired link. Select CMD + Click sequence. A new tab opens.

Windows

Hover over the desired link. Right-click your right mouse button. A drop down list appears. Select the first action "Open link in new tab". A new tab opens.

Incident Header

Within the incident header you can view and adjust crucial incident properties and metadata. The incident header shows the following incident metadata and properties:

  • Incident severity
  • Incident status
  • Tasks (pending and completed)
  • Follow-up actions (pending and completed)
  • Incident commander
  • Incident war room and video bridge
  • Top level JIRA ticket for the incident (if you have JIRA integration enabled)
  • A link to the incident retrospective
  • An actions menu in the top right for additional actions regarding the incident itself. For example, see deleting an incident
Incident Details page - Header

Incident Sidebar

Within the incident sidebar, you can view incident information such as summary, type, timings, tags, and team info, along with other incident related timestamps in the web UI:

  • Created Timestamp
  • Updated Timestamp
  • Detection Timestamp
  • Customer Impact (start, end and duration)
  • Incident Impact (start, end and duration)
  • Resolution Time (start, last and duration)
Incident Page Summary
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The Resolution time section displays two timestamps, corresponding to the first time and the last time the incident was resolved, and the total duration (aka time to resolution) which is calculated as the difference between the last resolved timestamp and the incident creation date.

If this duration does not reflect the actual time to resolution period for this incident, you can manually change the last resolution date/time to the appropriate date and time, as long as it is higher than the first time the incident was resolved. However the last resolution time automatically resets each time users change the incident status back to the resolved state.

Editing the Title and Description

As noted above, items within the Incident Summary with pencil Icons can be edited. This includes the Title and Description that were initially combined as the "Executive Summary" field.

  1. Click on the pencil. The text field opens.
  2. Enter any changes.
  3. Click on the "Save" button or "Cancel" button as desired.
Title and Description fields

Changing Incident Type

Blameless allows the user to change the Incident type at any time.

Changing the incident type during an incident

If you change incident type during an incident the following will occur:

  1. You will receive a warning window confirming you wish to make the change.
  2. There will be an update to the time-list to indicate when a type transition occurs.
  3. The Incident remains in the same state as when it is changed.
  4. All completed tasks until that point are still complete, then the new tasks are presented.
  5. The Timeline is preserved.
  6. The Retrospective custom questions, tags, and Analysis section are overwritten.

You can also change the type at any time using the Blameless Bot commands. Changing the incident type will also create a new event in the incident timeline to capture the time of type change.

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Changing the type of an incident will not cause it to inherit the settings of that new type and severity. The settings for an incident are determined by the type and type when the incident is created.

Impacted Services

If the user has Pagerduty Integration enabled, they can see the list of the impacted services. Each service from this list links to the service details in your Pagerduty account.

The list of impacted services may contain Pagerduty services added manually at the creation of the incident, in addition to Pagerduty services automatically added to the incident if predefined in the corresponding incident type.

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At this time, impacted services added to an incident cannot be deleted. This list can only be defined at the creation of the incident.

Working With Tags

Tags provide a powerful mechanism for you to capture and label metadata for an incident which can later be viewed in Reliability Insights reports and queries.

Tag categories can be configured per incident type and severity from the Settings component.

Incident Details page - Change Tags

Tags support an optional list of predefined tag values. This allows you to lock down a list of tag options to a predefined list in order to improve data curation, consistency, and reporting.

Adding a tag value to a category's list of predefined tags restricts selectable options for this category. If a category has no predefined values, the input values will remain freeform.

For tag categories which contain predefined values, their tag input will now be a multi-select dropdown. For tag categories which aren't locked down to predefined values, their input remains as freeform input.

You can also change tags at any time using the Blameless Bot commands and Microsoft Teams.

Team

Members of the incident team are shown in the team section. Members that have been assigned to roles will be pinned at the top of the list, followed by the remaining participant members.

Clicking on the edit icon allows you to reassign roles, and remove team members.

Incident Details page - Edit Team

You can also assign roles at any time using the Blameless bot in Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Event Timeline

As an incident progresses through its lifecycle, Blameless will automatically capture events and add them to the incident timeline. You can easily see the progression of an incident and key events along the way.

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When viewing the timeline from Slack, only the following events will be displayed:

  • INCIDENT_CREATED
  • STATUS_FIELD_CHANGED
  • CHAT_HIGHLIGHT

Manually Capturing Events

Events may also be manually captured by highlighting important messages in the war room chat.

Adding Custom Events

Custom events may be added by clicking on the Add Event button in the top right of the Events tab.

Incident Details page - Add event

From here, users can input an event payload in text form, or as a file, and specify the time of the event.

Editing, Copying and Deleting Events

Certain events in the timeline can be edited, copied or deleted. Hover over these events in the incident timeline, and a menu with more actions will appear where you can perform additional actions.

Incident Details page - Event actions
OperationEvent types permittedDescription
CopyChat highlights
File uploads
Image uploads
Link
Custom events
Copies the event as text, or asset url depending on the event type
DeleteChat highlights
File uploads
Image uploads
Link
Custom events
Deletes the event from the timeline
EditCustom EventsAllows the user to edit the event

Event Types

Event TypeCapture TypeDescription
Start of Customer ImpactAutomaticEvent marking the start of customer impact. This event is defaulted to the incident creation timestamp, however can be edited as needed.
Incident CreatedAutomaticEvent marking the time of incident creation, captured automatically when you start an incident.
Detection TimeAutomaticThe Detection Time timestamp is automatically added to an incident and is initially set to the same time as the creation of the incident. It can then be manually updated and only set to a date and time earlier than the creation date and time.
Chat HighlightManualCaptured when chat text is manually highlighted during an incident.
Role AssignmentAutomaticCaptured when a role is assigned.
Retrospective State ChangeAutomaticCaptured automatically first when an incident is started, and upon every subsequent Retrospective state change.
Image Highlight/UploadManual & AutomaticCaptured when an image is manually highlighted during an incident, or automatically when an image is uploaded.
File UploadAutomaticCaptured automatically when a file is uploaded.
Swimlane EventAutomaticCaptured automatically when a swimlane is opened, modified, or closed.
End of Customer ImpactAutomaticEvent marking the end of customer impact. This event is defaulted to the incident resolution timestamp, however can be edited as needed.
Status ChangeAutomaticCaptured automatically when incident status is changed.
Severity ChangeAutomaticCaptured automatically when incident severity is changed.
Incident Type ChangeAutomaticCaptured automatically when incident type is changed.
Custom EventAutomatic capture via manually added eventCaptured when a custom event is added.
Pager EventAutomaticCaptured automatically when triggering a pager during an incident.
Link EventAutomatic capture via manually added eventCaptured when a custom event contains a link.

Tasks

Tasks provide a mechanism by which you can ensure that certain items are completed or suggested during an incident lifecycle. These tasks can be assigned to each phase of the incident, as well as to a specific role or owner.

As the incident progresses through each subsequent phase, the tasks for that phase will become available.

Incident Details page - Tasks Overview

Interacting with Tasks

From the Tasks panel, users can interact with Tasks:

  • Complete a task by clicking on the completion circle in the left margin
  • Edit a task by hovering over a row and clicking on the edit icon
  • Duplicate a task by hovering over a row and clicking on the duplicate icon
  • Delete a task by hovering over a row and clicking on the delete icon
  • Filter tasks using the toolbar filters

Bulk interactions are also available by clicking on the Bulk Select button in the Tasks toolbar. From this mode, you may bulk delete or bulk toggle task completions.

You can also interact with tasks at any time using the Blameless bot in Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Tasks can be configured per incident type and severity. Refer to the Checklist Tasks section for more information.

Adding New Tasks

From the Tasks panel, new tasks can be added during an incident by clicking the Add Task button:

Incident Details page - Add Task

Complete a Task

Completing a Task is simple: Complete a task by clicking on the completion circle in the left margin.

Who can complete a Task?

The task owner is allowed by default to complete his/her tasks, as well as any user who has been assigned an incident role which has full task permissions. This task permission (located in the Settings Section, would be typically assigned to the incident commander and is configurable on a per incident type basis but can be reassigned.

Deleting, reopen or complete tasks in bulk

Under the Task tab within the Incident, you can conduct actions in bulk.

Click on the "Bulk Select" button. In its place, a menu action buttons appears:

  • Delete
  • Reopen
  • Mark complete

Select the task(s) you want to adjust in bulk.

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When you select an associated check box, there is a count activated by Blameless showing the number of tasks that will be affected.

Required Tasks

Users can require specified tasks to be completed during an incident workflow, to help ensure teams don’t overlook a specific task(s) before transitioning to another phase of the incident management process.

  • From the Task settings, and for to the tasks you'd like to require, click on the asterisk to set it as required
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When a task is marked as required, the asterisk will be highlighted in red.

Required Task list

For incidents where the state is either Investigating, Identified, or Monitoring, users will be unable to transition the incident to a subsequent phase where required tasks have not yet been marked as "Complete".

Incident Details page - Required Task Transition Error

For required tasks that aren't complete while an incident is in the Resolved state, users will be unable to publish the corresponding Retrospective, leaving the channel unarchived.

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Users will not be allowed to move to the next status if there are required fields.

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For required tasks that aren't complete while an incident is in the Resolved state, users will be unable to publish the corresponding Retrospective, leaving the channel unarchived.

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Incidents transitioned to Duplicate status do not enforce required tasks.

Follow-up Actions

Follow-up actions can be added at any point during an incident. They can be added using:

  • The #todo or /blameless followup commands (refer to Blameless Bot commands)
  • On the Incident page’s “Follow-up Actions” tab by clicking the “Add Action” button

When adding a new follow up action, you will be prompted to fill out standard fields such as:

  • Summary
  • Assignee
  • Type
  • JIRA Project
  • JIRA Issue Type
  • Priority (of action)
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If the JIRA integration is enabled, the last three listed fields will also be shown, such as Project, Issue type, and Priority.

Incident Details page - Overview

Complete the Follow-Up Action fields

The follow-up action fields vary depending on whether the integration with Jira is enabled or not.

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All fields are Required.

Follow-up Actions with Jira Enabled

If the JIRA integration is enabled, the following fields must be provided:

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All fields are required.

  1. Enter the Summary describing the new action.

  2. Start typing the name of the Assignee. Blameless will autofill as you enter more letters.

  3. Select the Type. You options are:

    • Mitigation
    • Prevention
    • Process
  4. (Optional) Change the default Jira Project name to a different one. Blameless will autofill as you enter more letters.

  5. (Optional) Change the default JIRA Issue Type from the drop down menu. Your options are:

    • Task
    • Sub-task
    • Story
    • Bug
    • Epic (see below)
    • User defined Custom field
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Additional required Jira fields may show up further below, depending on the selected JIRA Issue Type. If selecting the Epic issue type, Blameless requires you give the Epic name.

  1. Select a Priority value.
  2. (Optional) Change the default value for each required Jira field.
  3. Click on the “Create Action” button.
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The default values have either been set globally (Settings > Integrations > Ticketing > Jira) or at the incident type level (Settings > Incident Workflows > Incident Types). Optionally, you can override the default value.

Not all required JIRA field types are currently supported. Blameless supports the following field types:

Supported system fields:

  • assignee
  • issuetype
  • priority
  • project
  • Summary

Supported types of custom fields:

  • Free-form text (string)
  • Date/times (date picker)
  • Single select option (i.e., radio button, single choice list)

Follow-up Actions with Jira Disabled

When users are creating follow up actions (FUA) from the Blameless UI and Jira is disabled, the follow up action can be assigned to a Slack user if the integration with Slack is enabled or to the Microsoft Team(s) if Microsoft Teams is enabled.

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Communications

The Communications workflow allows you to easily keep peers, stakeholders and public audiences in the loop as an incident progresses. Draft, preview and approve multiple communications easily via a streamlined workflow and publish across a variety of mediums including Slack or Microsoft Teams, email, SMS, and Statuspage.

Message content can be curated as needed or crafted as a subset of the current incident data available.

Internal Communications Workflow

The internal communications workflow allows you to update audiences via Slack or Microsoft Teams, email, SMS, and Statuspage using a standard draft and publish workflow.

Incident Details page - External Comms Lead

External Communications Workflow

The external communications workflow allows you to update audiences via Slack or Microsoft Teams, email, SMS, and Statuspage using a draft, approval, and publish workflow.

Incident Details page - External Comms Lead

Click here for instructions regarding the Administration of Incidents.