Who should be responsible for declaring an incident?

Answered by Robert Dupre

In traditional incident management practices, the responsibility of declaring an incident was typically limited to a specific group of individuals, such as the IT department or designated incident responders. However, the modern approach to incident management has evolved to be more inclusive and encourages anyone within an organization to declare an incident.

The concept of allowing anyone to declare an incident stems from the recognition that incidents can arise from various sources and can impact different aspects of an organization’s operations. By involving a broader range of individuals in the incident declaration process, organizations can benefit from a more diverse perspective and ensure a timely response to potential issues.

In my own experience, I have seen the positive impact of this inclusive approach to incident management. In one instance, a customer support representative noticed a sudden influx of customer complaints about a specific feature of our product. Instead of dismissing it as a minor issue, the representative promptly declared an incident, escalating it to the relevant teams for investigation and resolution. This proactive approach not only allowed us to address the issue quickly but also prevented further customer dissatisfaction.

By empowering individuals at all levels of an organization to declare incidents, a culture of incident management can be fostered. This means that employees are encouraged to be vigilant and proactive in identifying and reporting potential incidents, rather than fearing blame or repercussions. It also promotes a sense of ownership and accountability among employees, as they understand the importance of their role in maintaining the stability and reliability of the organization’s systems and services.

To facilitate the process of incident declaration, organizations can implement clear guidelines and communication channels. This can include providing employees with a defined incident declaration process, which outlines the steps to follow and the appropriate channels to report incidents. Additionally, organizations can establish incident response teams or designated incident managers who can coordinate and oversee the response to declared incidents.

The responsibility for declaring an incident should not be limited to a specific group of individuals within an organization. Instead, modern incident management practices advocate for inclusivity, encouraging anyone to declare an incident. By fostering a culture of incident management and providing the necessary guidelines and support, organizations can benefit from a more proactive and effective approach to incident response.