Why These Teams Rely on Atlassian Confluence for Post-Mortems 

At Lever, streamlined templates and increased documentation efforts ultimately lead to happier clients.

Written by Taylor Karg
Published on Apr. 01, 2021
Why These Teams Rely on Atlassian Confluence for Post-Mortems 
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Lever
Lever

At LA tech company Lever. engineers agree: Confluence has helped make life significantly easier. 

Melissa Skevington, an engineering manager at Lever, said that ease comes from being able to increase transparency through documentation using standardized templates. 

“All engineers involved are able to pop in and out of the document to make live changes with ease,” Skevington said. “The results are substantially better as it creates a low barrier of entry for editing.”

With updated subsystems and templates established, both companies have witnessed a domino effect. Below, the two professionals explain how streamlined post-mortems have led to simpler onboarding processes and ultimately, happier clients. 

 

Melissa Skevington
Engineering Manager • Lever

At Lever, project pain points are typically discussed in the department’s bi-weekly engineering roundtable, where developers are outcomes-focused in order to address all questions and preventative measures.

 

What does a typical post-mortem look like for your team, and how do you structure those meetings to ensure you’re making the most of that time?

A typical post-mortem for our team was made with efficiency in mind and templated and stored for the team to use for consistency in our company-wide Atlassian Confluence page. 

Each post-mortem is documented in writing, using the template. To use the template you simply use the one-click button and fill out the following: a summary of the incident, mitigation steps taken, a timeline of activities, a list of action items to be taken as a result of the incident, and links, screenshots and dashboards of the incident.

Once the document is filled out, it’s shared with the full engineering team. Having this standardized template decreases the time we spend on post-mortems and provides transparency across the team to see what the incident was and learnings. That way, if a meeting is needed, everyone has all of the information in advance.

 

What’s one of the most valuable revelations or lessons that has come from a project post-mortem, and how has that helped your team grow? 

The most valuable lesson we’ve learned from our post-mortems is not only solving the technical issue at hand and preventing it from happening in the future, but understanding what impact the project has had on our customers. This has helped our team improve communication company-wide to ensure everyone has the latest on what’s working or what’s not. 

Taking a moment to recognize the impact we have on our users has helped our team work closely with the support and sales teams to anticipate questions that may arise and set expectations moving forward.

We’ve updated our template to be very clear regarding our customer impact.”

 

What’s one thing you’ve done to improve your post-mortems over time? What were the results?

One of the biggest changes we’ve done to improve our post-mortems is moving them from our original platform, Github, to Atlassian Confluence. By doing this, we were able to templatize our post-mortem written documents, provide the company with visibility into the post-mortems, and search for documentation. Additionally, it created a lower barrier for edits for engineers to make to the post-mortem document itself. Originally with Github, engineers writing the post-mortem had to submit a specific code for other engineers to approve or make changes to the document. 

Now in Confluence, all engineers involved able to pop in and out of the document to make live changes with ease. The results are substantially better as there’s such a low barrier of entry in editing the documents. We love the documentation here. We’ve built a good culture of creating guides on how to handle certain incidents, so newcomers don’t feel stranded and everyone is on the same page.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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