Beyond Blameless

Rein Henrichs


Abstract In the aftermath of John Allspaw’s influential Blameless Post-Mortems, blamelessness has become a shibboleth for modern production operations teams: Is our culture blameless? Are our incident reviews blameless? But it seems that something has been lost in translation.

Organizations that try to implement blamelessness without understanding blame end up making behaviors and activities taboo because they can lead to blame even when they can lead to learning instead. When we throw the baby of learning out with the bathwater of blaming, we miss out on vital opportunities to become more resilient.

Bio Rein is a strange sort of software developer who spends more time thinking about systems made with people than systems made with computers. He believes that most technical problems are really people problems, and that people problems can be solved by listening, caring, and empowering others. Talking about himself in the third person makes him uncomfortable, but he is working on it. He also wrote a database in Haskell once, so he has that going for him, which is nice.

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