Performing postmortems after incidents is how you learn what you're doing right, where you could improve, and most importantly, how to avoid making the same mistakes again and again. Well-designed postmortems allow your teams to iteratively improve your infrastructure and incident response process.

The postmortem concept is well known in the technology industry, but it can be difficult for newer individuals, teams, and organizations to adopt the cultural nuances required for effective postmortems. This guide will teach you how to build a culture of continuous learning, the most important components to include in your analysis, and how to conduct effective postmortem meetings.

Who Is This For?#

This resource is for on-call practitioners who want to iteratively learn from incidents affecting their team and for managers who want to cultivate a culture of learning in their organization.

What Is Covered?#

What Is a Postmortem?#

The who, what, when, and why of postmortems.

Blameless Culture#

A successful postmortem process is based on a culture of honesty, learning, and accountability. Culture change requires management buy-in, but you can lead culture change no matter your role. This section describes common challenges in building a culture of continuous learning through postmortems, and strategies for overcoming them.

How to Write a Postmortem#

You will learn what information to include in the postmortem, how to collect and present that information, and how to conduct an effective analysis that results in system improvements.

Postmortem Meetings#

How to conduct productive postmortem meetings.

Additional Resources#


This documentation is provided under the Apache License 2.0. In plain English that means you can use and modify this documentation and use it both commercially and for private use. However, you must include any original copyright notices, and the original LICENSE file.

Whether you are a PagerDuty customer or not, we want you to have the ability to use this documentation internally at your own company. You can view the source code for all of this documentation on our GitHub account, feel free to fork the repository and use it as a base for your own internal documentation.