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Incident Naming Matters: A Simple Practice for a Better Incident Response

| Shey Sewani | Toronto

I’ve found that naming incidents—especially with fun and creative names—really helps improve incident response management. Here’s why it works.

  • For Engineers: Using the incident name in logging, dashboarding, and other instrumentation simplifies the process for other developers to engage with and contribute to the incident response, reducing the need for extensive explanation and saving time.

  • For Incident Commanders: A single name for the incident simplifies searching through tickets, emails, Slack conversations, and other tools, speeding up and simplifying post-incident analysis.

  • For Leadership: When multiple incidents occur simultaneously, distinct names help prevent mix-ups, especially in communications with stakeholders.

  • For Everyone: Using fun names, like the “color-animal” format, as an example, “Blue-Camel”, adds a touch of silliness and can make a stressful situation a bit lighter.

  • For the Technology: Creative but non-specific names prevent unfairly labeling any one technology as the “root cause.” For example, “Yellow-Lemur” is a more neutral name compared to “The Great Cassandra Incident of 2018.”

Naming your incidents is a rather simple practice that can have an outsized positive impact on your incident management response and team culture 🐪.