The Incident Is The Way: Using Your Incidents to Win Reliability Investment

Wednesday, 11 October, 2023 - 14:4515:05

Niall McCarthy, Afterpay


When organisations face a high severity incident they experience a moment of consensus, all parts of the organisation want to see a serious problem solved as quickly as possible. Behind an incident's alerts, on-call pages and status updates is an alignment that in any other context is fleeting and rarely repeated. In this talk we discuss how choices we make during incident management; from who contributes, to how we describe harm, to how we communicate updates; can build an investment dialogue with decision-makers.

When distributed systems ensure everything is a SEV 01 to someone, building a common context for our responses converts our incidents into successful investment arguments.

Niall McCarthy, Afterpay

Niall is an engineering leader at Afterpay spending his days at the intersection of software operations and development. Niall leads Afterpay’s incident management, continually researching practices to use incidents to uplift and align teams and software. When not working, Niall is drinking coffee and failing to 100% an RPG.

@conference {292084,
author = {Niall McCarthy},
title = {The Incident Is The Way: Using Your Incidents to Win Reliability Investment},
year = {2023},
address = {Dublin},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

Presentation Video