Manage Incidents with the Visual Event Timeline

major incident management
Mandeep Jassal ON Apr 26, 2017

During a single high-level incident, messages are sent to the IT/DevOps teams, to executive communications, and to end users.  A major incident can include several distinct events.

In the middle of the chaos, the crossfire of messages can be confusing. Incident managers can have a difficult time figuring out the exact cause-and-effect dynamic until each event is resolved, and sometimes not even then. The complexity can lengthen the time to resolve the entire incident and limit the ability to improve processes going forward.

Customers have told us they want to see a timeline of actions and communications.

Our Event Timeline feature provides a real-time chronological and visual representation of when and how recipients are notified for an event. You can use the timeline during an active event to quickly gain insight into the way it is progressing and to see who is actively working to resolve the issue.

During an event
An incident manager can use the event timeline to monitor how an event is progressing. It is most useful when the event is not going as expected, and someone needs to get it back on track.

For example, say an event triggers a notification to the on-call shift members. No one responds, and it escalates to the next person. The incident manager can use the event timeline to see who were the initial recipients of the notifications, when were they notified, and make sure the escalation team responds.

Event_Timeline.gif

After an event
The timeline is also a post-mortem tool to help review how the event was handled.

For instance, the incident manager in the example above may find that the recipients device failed to be notified, and therefore didn’t know there was a notification to respond to.  Using this information, the incident manager can now resolve the issue for the device wasn’t notified, so this doesn’t happen.

How to use the timeline
Each recipient is displayed as a row in the timeline and icons are placed on the timeline to represent:

  • Notification Deliveries: The time recipients were notified, the devices they were notified on, and whether the notifications were delivered successfully.
  • Response Information: The time recipients responded, the devices they responded from, and the value and contribution of their responses.

Click any icon to view a fly-out with more detailed information about a delivery or a user’s response, then click again to close the fly-out.

Conference bridge in an event timeline

Conference bridge in an event timeline

You can use the timeline’s zoom functionality to get a closer look at any detail by using the slider on the lower right of the timeline, or dragging the start and end time of the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the timeline. This is useful in cases where icons on the timeline are grouped closely together or overlap; for example, this can happen when a user is notified on many devices over a short time period. Learn more from xMatters Help.

Coming soon: comments
The value added by being able to view comments on the timeline warrants an exception. Expect to see this update between Ghost and our next release; make sure you’re aware of our On-Demand Deployment Process and follow our Development Highlights article for details and timing.

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