Information Gathering Order of Operations

Below is an excerpt from our Ops Manual, one of the most important things we preach on a daily basis. Effective information gathering is key to individual and team productivity.

When investigating an issue, whether it be a PagerDuty alert, a helpdesk ticket, or a new task, it is common for the exact steps required for success to be unclear. This can be due to a client or situation you are unfamiliar with, uncertainty about the best out of many possible solutions, or any other challenge. While the most logical course of action might seem to be to throw a question out on Slack, the reality is that this creates a context switch for not only the person you asked but anyone else who is sitting in the same room. This discourages people from writing documentation because “no one reads it anyway”, artificially inflates the priority of issues to “whole team response”, and single threads the team in a way that makes everyone want to get the issue resolved as fast as possible to eliminate the block–often at the expenses of true root cause analysis. All of this is bad. 

The solution is a simple triage process that reinforces good documentation and encourages root cause analysis. While it increases the time a single team member will spend on a typical issue, it vastly minimizes the overall effort spent, thus improving team efficiency. All of this is good. 

The process is simple:

Information Gathering Order of Operations

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