With the increased speed and velocity of cloud-native development, incidents are a fact of life, and it's easy to point fingers when an incident occurs. The blameless postmortem approach prioritizes discovering and fixing root causes. The blameless aspect of the postmortem is key because, as often as technology businesses claim that failure represents an opportunity to learn and innovate, the propensity to blame and shame still pervades. Pointing the finger at any one employee or team isn’t productive to learning and does not encourage team members to come forward with issues or open communication more generally.
As for why a team, or a company more broadly, should do blameless postmortems? Aside from the fact that successful companies, such as Atlassian and Netflix, rely on them, they constitute an opportunity to:
- Learn from failure
- Learn to communicate more clearly within teams
- Create more effective troubleshooting and mitigation approaches
- Become more resilient as an engineering team and organization