PagerDuty Postmortems allow users to learn from major incidents by providing a summary of events that transpired, how the response was handled, and what resolution steps were taken. It offers the ability to curate a timeline of activity in PagerDuty and Slack, allowing further analysis to determine follow-up actions for similar situations in the future and, ideally, help prevent them altogether.
Creating a postmortem
Postmortems can be created either from the Postmortems catalog or directly from a resolved incident.
From the Postmortems catalog (found in the Analytics menu of the PagerDuty web app), you can either create a new postmortem or edit an existing one.
To create a new postmortem, select New Report. You’ll then be prompted to give your report a name, designate an owner of the review process and define the time range during which your incident occurred. Keep in mind that, although multiple people may have been involved in the incident’s response, there can only be a single owner of any one postmortem.
Once you have designated an owner and specified a time range, select Create Report to get started adding contextual data.
You can also create your postmortem directly from a resolved incident using the New Postmortem Report button on that incident's details page. This automatically fills in the incident's description as the postmortem's title and will also fill in the triggered and resolved times for the incident as the start and end times for the report. All of these fields can be edited at any point during this process.
Adding contextual data
To link incidents to this postmortem, enter their incident numbers (one at a time) and select Associate Incident. If you’d like to include discussions from public Slack channels or HipChat rooms, you can do so by clicking the Connect to Slack or Connect to HipChat buttons. Once you’ve authorized PagerDuty to access your Slack or HipChat account, you will then be prompted to select channels or rooms to include in your report.
Postmortem Builder will, by default, make available all chat messages sent and incident log entries created on the associated incidents during the time period specified in this section. You will have the opportunity later to choose which activity you’d like to include in the postmortem’s timeline.
Creating your timeline
Select the entries from your Available Data to include in your timeline by hovering over their source icons and using the + button. You can also add multiple items at once by selecting them while holding the shift key and then using the > button to move them to the timeline. You can manually add freeform entries to your timeline by selecting New Timeline Entry.
Any Slack or HipChat entries that are moved from the Available Data listing into the postmortem's Timeline will be visible to anyone looking at the postmortem.
This section allows you to summarize and reflect on the curated timeline, including incident root cause analysis and potential steps to prevent or mitigate future incidents.
The postmortem builder comes with a default template for analysis to get you started, but you can add, edit or delete the fields that users see by editing the Report Template in the Settings tab, accessible from the main postmortems catalog.
Saving your postmortem
Postmortems automatically save as you are working on them. When you are done editing your postmortem, you can view it by selecting View Report from the top of the Postmortem Builder.
Exporting your postmortem
Once you have completed your postmortem report, you can export it as a PDF by viewing it and using the Save as PDF button.