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Episode Info: “Incidents aren’t solved just by machines. They’re solved by the people working on the machines.” - Jaime Woo. Starting the Zine Emil and Jaime met while working at Shopify and bonded over rock climbing. And while reading a climbing accident book they were inspired by the lessons shared and instantly made the connection to how those accidents related to software incidents. “When we think of post-incidents in companies…you always think of this very large document,” Emil says. “You think of who was involved, timelines, descriptions, stakeholders, etc. With the book, it ran the whole range. If it was a report from park rangers, they could go into very detailed minute-by-minute exactly what happened. And then, if it was a self-submitted report it could be something like one paragraph, two people were climbing, a rock fell loose, and they fell to the ground. That was the whole description.” In addition to these accounts the book would also have best practices and considerations to think about, or first aid techniques to keep in mind for similar situations. Emil talks about how these reports were a catalyst for their idea to catalog and share the post-incidents that were incident to them. Many have to do with running software in production, but some don’t. “You might think that is a bit grim,” Jaime says, “because you’re reading this book about how this thing happened to this person. And this feels weird to be so excited about all these bad things that happen. But, it’s important to have that learning. Someone already had to learn this lesson. If you don’t share that across the community, then there’s a real possibility that someone else will fall into this same trap.” Myths about Post-Incident Reviews Jaime talks about the myth that if you write a post-incident review that people will read it because it’s good for them. He says, “I’m right and there’s a lot of good lessons there, so when I put it out there, obviously people will take the time to read it…That’s just not the way it works. We’re all so busy. We’re all so overwhelmed. You can’t just write the post mortem. You have to think about how the post mortem is going to be used.” “That’s why when we printed the zine. We were saying, ‘hey, we put in a lot of effort, now just carry this with you! When you have time it’s right here for you! We made it easy for you to read and absorb and enjoy, so why not?!’” The key point, that Emil says, is that you need to have a culture of reading the reports. But, also you need to be writing reports that are fun to read. Goals for the Zine This really started as a passion project as Jaime talks about how they just wanted people to talk about these topics and more companies to release these post-incident reports. “Unfortunately we don’t live in a culture where admitting mistakes, or errors, actually makes us look stronger…But, you can’t learn if you’re always pretending to...
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