CasesConf: A new way to share incident stories and learn from each other

Published on
August 5, 2022
Laura Maguire
Laura Maguire
Cognitive Systems Engineering Researcher
Nora Jones
Nora Jones
Founder & CEO
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At Jeli, we love to learn.  Over the last 9 months we’ve shared our love of learning with others who are similarly interested in incidents by hosting regional CasesConf events, in conjunction with partners from the Learning From Incidents community. 

A CasesConf is a small, invite-only event where participants come ready to walk the group through an incident drawn from their experiences being responsible for or working in a continuous deployment service environment. Some participants choose events from their current role, while others use past companies or roles.  The intent is to promote transparent sharing of incidents across organizations which can help normalize failures and celebrate the complex, confounding, and (sometimes!) courageous acts of software engineers working under time pressure and uncertainty. 

We invited participants to create the conditions for curiosity not judgment and allow for psychological safety in describing events that may have had substantial personal effects or organizational outcomes. In the spirit of learning, CasesConf runs under the Chatham House rules - whereby participants can relate events they heard about during the event to others but without any identifying details. No details or attendee information is recorded.  

So far, we’ve held CasesConfs in New York, San Francisco, and Denver. We’ve invited co-hosts for each of the events who are experienced facilitators of learning reviews and blameless post mortems across a variety of organizations. We have held them in donated space to keep the event free for participants. They’ve been held after the workday so Jeli has sponsored food and beverages to keep everyone fueled! The administrators of the LFI workspace have held debriefing sessions to discuss the event and identify future improvements.  The feedback we’ve gotten so far is that these gatherings are hugely beneficial to the participants for both having a space to talk openly about the difficulties in handling certain kinds of incidents, and to learn from one another’s practices and approaches. Our intent is to continue hosting these, and other opportunities to learn. 

In the coming weeks we’ll share first person accounts of some of the participants. Drop us a line if you’d like to see an event hosted in your city!