DevOps is Not War: No One Dies When Prod Goes Down


Unless you’re NASA, the military, or are in healthcare I’d bet, no one dies when production goes down. Adopting practices from the military or NASA could be doing more harm than good. In this talk, we’ll go over what NASA and the military do to be so effective at incident response and management.


Numerous talks have described how NASA, the US military, and countless other entities respond to incidents. These are good examples but, there are specific instances they’re used and they might be harmful to your organization if done poorly. There is one thing all these organization do have that yours can adopt to be more effective though: Communication. In this talk, we’ll dive into experiences in incident response during my time in the USAF and how to implement better communication in your organization.



This talk is a spinoff of the talk DevOps is Not War. It dives into themes around conflict management in digital transformations. Using examples from 500 years of history it details how to better navigate change.

Incident Response in Your Org

  • Shit Happens
  • People Respond
  • Wiki Docs, Source Code, Slack, e-mail, etc.
  • Shit Gets Fixed
  • Maybe a Postmortem

Incident Response in the USAF

  • Extensive, Mind Altering Training
  • Intelligence Community
  • Global Communications Networks
  • Standardized Communication Processes
  • International Law
  • Standardized Policies, Procedures, and Tooling
  • Predetermined Roles and Responsibilities
  • Shit Gets Kicked Out of Enenmy Fixed
  • Response effectiveness analyzed by branch of government, historians, think tanks, civilization, etc.
  • Improvements applied iteratively through real policy change

Other Examples


  • Works after loss of life and property
  • Usually the official tool used in numerous insurance and financial transactions
  • Provides closure to impacted families
  • Analysis shared afterwards to prevent future accidents
  • Sometimes millions of dollars spent across public and private sector to correct the problem

Tiered Responses

  • WIP
  • WIP
  • WIP


  • De-escalate; always de-escalate
  • Meat is Hard —Nirmal Metha



See also