A swimlane is a temporary environment that is created to arrive at a conclusion based on a defined theory.
Blameless swimlanes are useful because they facilitate the focused triage of complex incidents by creating unique channels of communication for responders. Integrated with the Blameless App for Slack and Microsoft Teams, swimlanes help teams to arrive at a resolution faster via parallel, theory-focused streams of investigation.
Swimlanes are characterized by the following:
- Time: Each swimlane is allotted a time period to exist.
- Channel: Like an incident, a swimlane exists in its own dedicated Slack channel or Teams conversation.
- Focus: Each swimlane has a defined theory, an owner who drives the topic, and the ability to assign tasks to other users.
- Context: A swimlane is associated with an existing incident Slack channel or Teams conversation, but are separate discussions that can be closed and reopened as needed.
Adding a swimlane
Using the Blameless App for Slack
- To add a swimlane in Slack, enter the following from an incident channel:
/blameless add swimlane
- Complete the following fields in the Add Swimlane dialog box and then select Submit.
- Title - Enter a meaningful name for the swimlane.
- Owner - Select the user who is responsible for driving the swimlane discussion.
- Due in (hours) - Select the number of hours until the swimlane is due. If less than one hour, then select 0 and define the following field.
- And (minutes) - Select the number of minutes until the swimlane is due.
- Theory - State the general purpose of the discussion.
What happens next?
After selecting Submit, the Blameless App for Slack performs the following:
- Dedicated Swimlane channel: Displayed in the graphic below as _incident-175-sl3.
- Summary: Slack displays all the details of the new swimlane with links to related channels and owner.
- Functionality: From the incident channel, you can edit the theory, change the owner, or close the swimlane.
Using a swimlane
Let's introduce the dedicated swimlane channel.
- Start by navigating to the swimlane channel.
- In the graphic below, the _incident-175-sl3 swimlane channel is displayed.
- The same summary data appears in the swimlane channel that was in the primary incident channel, but there is now an extra option called Add Task.
Adding a task
The purpose of a swimlane is to provide an environment that supports communication that is focused on exploring a stated theory. It is a channel where small teams or groups of responders can work together on a singular goal.
To facilitate this focused approach, the swimlane owner may wish to assign tasks to colleagues in order to organize a cohesive work methodology. This is supported by the Add Task tool.
Let's see how it works.
- In the swimlane incident channel, select Add Task.
- In the Task Assignee (User) field, select a user to perform the task.
- In the Task Description field, enter a description of the task to complete.
- Select Submit.
- The assignee will receive both a notification message and will also receive an updated list of all current tasks, including the newly-created task, within a conversation thread.
Swimlanes can be opened, closed, and reopened as needed throughout the lifespan of the associated incident. If a swimlane exceeds its allotted time, it is assigned an overdue status.
Other swimlane slash commands available in the Blameless App for Slack include:
/blameless show swimlane: Displays a summary of the swimlane and available actions.
/blameless close swimlane: Closes the swimlane.
/blameless reopen swimlane: Reopens a closed swimlane. This also appears as a button when viewing the summary of a closed swimlane.
Recall that you can always enter
/blameless to view a list of common commands. In the Bot Help field, select Help - Commands to see a more comprehensive list of options available.