Posting PostMortems for a (generally) Non-Technical Audience

Posted by on August 23, 2012

The other day I posted to the Etsy News blog about some recent outages we’ve had.

We haven’t given this much information about site outages in the past, and this particular post was written for the non-technical-minded members of the community. The process of writing it was a challenge for me.

It underscored the lesson that you can’t fully appreciate how complicated some of the failure scenarios we see in our field of web operations until you actually want to explain it to someone who isn’t familiar with software and infrastructure fundamentals. 🙂

In the end, I got a lot of positive feedback on it from a number of Etsy members. This includes sellers who spend a large deal of their time making the things they sell, which is our goal.

Generally, we want to make the technical bits of Etsy to disappear for them. But when things go wrong, I think it’s worth giving them some details about what happened and what we’re doing to help avoid similar issues in the future.
If you’re interested, here is the post.

Posted by on August 23, 2012
Category: engineering, infrastructure, operations, outages

1 Comment

Very good job of presenting the details to a non-technical reader. Good analogies and patient explanations. _Not_ leaving out the implicit assumptions that the techie readers already presume were in play also makes a vast difference in providing context.