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Monday, December 5 • 9:00am - 12:30pm
Tutorial M1: "I Never Want to Live through This Again!": Running Excellent Retrospectives

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Your site’s back up, you’re back in business. Do you have a way to make sure that problem doesn’t happen again? And if you do, do you like how it works?

Heroku uses a blameless retrospective process to understand and learn from our operational incidents. We’ve recently released the templates and documentation we use in this process, but experience has taught us that facilitating a retrospective is a skill that’s best taught person to person.

This tutorial will take you through a retrospective based on the internal and external communications of a real Heroku operational incident. We’ve designed it to help you experience first-hand the relaxed, collaborative space that we achieve in our best retrospectives. We’ll practice tactics like active listening, redirecting blame, and reframing conversations. Along the way, we’ll discuss how we developed this process, what issues we were trying to solve, and how we’re still iterating on it.

Who should attend:
Managers, tech leads, and anyone interested in retrospective culture and iterating on processes.

Take back to work:
Attendees will have the materials and first-hand experience to advocate for (or to begin) an incident retrospective process at their workplace, or to improve a process they might already be using.

Topics include:
  • Why run a retrospective
  • Goal of a retrospective
  • Blameless retrospectives
  • Facilitating: redirecting blame, reframing, drawing people out
  • How to structure a retrospective
  • Preparing for a retrospective
  • Five “why”s/infinite “how”s
  • Human error
  • Achieving follow-through on remediation items


Courtney Eckhardt

Courtney comes from a background in customer support and internet anti-abuse policy. She combines this human-focused experience with the principle of Conway’s Law and the work of Kathy Sierra and Don Norman into a wide-reaching and humane concept of operational reliability.

Lex Neva

Lex Neva is probably not a super-villain. He has six years of experience keeping large services running, including Linden Lab's Second Life, DeviantArt.com, and his current position as a Heroku SRE. While originally trained in computer science, he’s found that he most enjoys applying... Read More →

Monday December 5, 2016 9:00am - 12:30pm EST
Fairfax Room

Attendees (6)