I really like Post Mortems

I really like post mortems at work.

This is really messed up, but after we have a breakage at work, I really look forward to our post mortems. I'm excited for them - I find them fun.

This is huge - our post mortems are blameless.1 We are not there to point fingers. It's a discussion about what went wrong, when, it's impact, and the root cause. The root cause is never human error, and never falls on one person - but rather we try to determine how our system let the humans down.

Then - the fun part - how can we do better next time?

As my boss said one time - "never let a good tradgedy go to waste". The thing that I think makes these discussions so much fun is that they are a great time to question the way things have always been done. Everyone in the room understands that the way things have always been done cleary has a flaw. That means that they're going to be much more receptive to upending long held assumptions.

And that, to me, is fun.

1 Blameless post mortems are critical in an engineering organization to build a sense of psycological safety. The extent to which you can hold truly blameless post mortems is a clear indicator of how healthy your organization is. Even if you have an executive screaming at you, and they want a head on a spike, a manager's role will be to act as a firewall between that pressure and the team, so that the team can reflect in a productive way.