Postmortem Template

This is a standard template we use for postmortems at PagerDuty. Each section describes the type of information you will want to put in that section.


This page is intended to be reviewed during a postmortem meeting that should be scheduled within 5 business days of any event. Your first step should be to schedule the postmortem meeting in the shared calendar for within 5 business days after the incident. Don't wait until you've filled in the info to schedule the meeting. Make sure the page is completed by the meeting.

Postmortem Owner: Your name goes here.

Meeting Scheduled For: Schedule the meeting on the "Incident Postmortem Meetings" shared calendar, for within 5 business days after the incident. Put the date/time here.

Call Recording: Link to the incident call recording.


Include a short sentence or two summarizing the contributing factors, timeline summary, and the impact. E.g. "On the morning of August 99th, we suffered a 1 minute SEV-1 due to a runaway process on our primary database machine. This slowness caused roughly 0.024% of alerts that had begun during this time to be delivered out of SLA."

What Happened#

Include a short description of what happened.

Contributing Factors#

Include a description of any conditions that contributed to the issue. If there were any actions taken that exacerbated the issue, also include them here with the intention of learning from any mistakes made during the resolution process.


Include a description of what solved the problem. If there was a temporary fix in place, describe that along with the long-term solution.


Be very specific here and include exact numbers.

Time in SEV-1 ?mins
Time in SEV-2 ?mins
Notifications Delivered out of SLA ??% (?? of ??)
Events Dropped / Not Accepted ??% (?? of ??) Should usually be 0, but always check
Accounts Affected ??
Users Affected ??
Support Requests Raised ?? Include any relevant links to tickets



Some important times to include: (1) time the contributing factor began, (2) time of the page, (3) time that the status page was updated (i.e. when the incident became public), (4) time of any significant actions, (5) time the SEV-2/1 ended, (6) links to tools/logs that show how the timestamp was arrived at.

Time (UTC) Event Data Link

How'd We Do?#

What Went Well?#

What Didn't Go So Well?#

Action Items#

Each action item should be in the form of a JIRA ticket, and each ticket should have the same set of two tags: “sev1_YYYYMMDD” (such as sev1_20150911) and simply “sev1”. Include action items such as: (1) any fixes required to prevent the contributing factor in the future, (2) any preparedness tasks that could help mitigate the problem if it came up again, (3) remaining postmortem steps, such as the internal email, as well as the status-page public post, (4) any improvements to our incident response process.


Internal Email#

This is a follow-up for employees. It should be sent out right after the postmortem meeting is over. It only needs a short paragraph summarizing the incident and a link to this wiki page.

Briefly summarize what happened and where the postmortem page (this page) can be found.

External Message#

This is what will be included on the website regarding this incident. What are we telling customers, including an apology? (The apology should be genuine, not rote.)


What Happened?

What Are We Doing About This?