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Weekly Update

Action Stations! provides actions, our lightweight toolkit for tracking and assigning work during incidents.

After speaking with our community and collecting feedback, we spent the last week making a number of improvements to actions that we hope will better fit your incident workflows.

What are actions?

We believe there are two types of action you create during an incident – those that need doing now, and those that should be followed-up after an incident has been closed.

Actions that need doing now might be:

  • Reboot that server!
  • Failover to that region!

While follow-ups could be:

  • Improve test coverage of ActionsService
  • Degrade gracefully when Redis is down

We're shipping follow-ups

You can now mark actions as follow-ups, helping separate work that needs doing now from tasks that can be handled post-incident.

Create follow-ups in Slack like any other action (/inc action Thing) but with "When does it need to be done?" set to "After the incident":

Creating a follow-up action in Slack

Sometimes you'll create an action, then realise it's best handled as a follow-up. Moving actions into follow-ups (and out!) can be done from the /inc actions modal:

Move actions in and out of follow-ups in Slack

Once created, follow-ups can be managed in your incident dashboard, where they are shown separately from your other incident actions:

View and manage actions in the incident dashboard

We expect people will review their actions as part of closing an incident, taking the opportunity to promote an action to a follow-up if it's still relevant.

If this is how you use them, we suggest exporting any follow-ups to your issue tracker (see the "Export to Linear" button) to link against your ticket, ensuring will sync the follow-up to your issue tracker.

Following this workflow will mean you can use the new "Actions" view to track outstanding follow-ups across all your incidents, giving you a picture of how your organisation is doing on their post-incident work:

View outstanding follow-ups across all incidents in the actions view

That's not all!

While follow-ups are this weeks big news, we took the opportunity to improve actions more generally, too.

Expect some major quality-of-life improvements when working with actions from within Slack, such as:

  • /inc actions defaults to showing outstanding actions only, assuming responders will want to clearly see what remains (rather than what they've already done!)
  • Made tough decisions of which buttons to put in our Slack overflow menus- with a maximum of five quick-links, we've tried picking the most relevant buttons for the specific action
  • Create an 'edit action' modal for making several changes at once

See it in action here:

Walkthrough of action changes

What we shipped

Lots! Mostly covered above, but a few small tweaks

  • 🆕 Follow-up actions to track work that happens after closing an incident

  • 🆕 New actions tab for viewing outstanding follow-ups across all your incidents

  • 🆕 Mark actions as not-doing, helping responders focus on what they need to do now

  • 💅 Simplify the /inc actions modal and clearly separate actions by status (Slack)

  • 💅 Provide an action edit modal for changing action details (Slack)

  • 💅 Show quick-access buttons to transition actions between states (Slack)

  • 💅 Separate follow-ups from in-incident actions (dashboard)

  • 💅 Use consistent action status names (Open, Outstanding -> Open, etc)

  • 💅 Filter incidents by "has outstanding actions" or "has post-mortem" (dashboard)

  • 💅 Now display severity descriptions in the incident create modal (used to just be in the update modal, now its in both) - thanks Tiago!

  • 💅 Bookmark your favourite incident filters, so you can share your search queries

  • 💅 Custom fields now appear in the incident recap view

  • 👷🏽‍ Continue porting API endpoints to goa, allowing us to type-check our frontend code against our backend implementation

  • 🐛 Clear create action modal inputs after successful create (dashboard)

  • 🐛 Notify incident channel whenever actions change in the dashboard

  • 🐛 Fixed attribution of timeline items when you pin another persons message

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