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Incident Management KPIs | Choosing Metrics that Matter

Wondering about incident management KPIs? We explain what incident management metrics are, how to track them, and what to do with the information.

What are Incident Management Metrics?

Incident Management Metrics are measurements that help determine whether the business is meeting specific goals. There are a number of important incident management metrics including:

  • Number of incidents in a set time
  • Mean Time to Acknowledge
  • Mean Time to Resolution
  • Average Incident Response Time
  • First Touch Resolution Rate 

Importance of Incident Management Metrics

In the fast-moving tech world, incidents come with significant consequences. System downtime costs companies about $300K per hour in lost revenue, maintenance charges, and employee productivity. An outage is not just an hour of downtime, it’s an hour of customers failing to perform an operation, getting agitated, and moving to a competitor. Businesses cannot afford to lose their customers because of an outage anymore. 

Tracking incident management KPIs can help an organization diagnose issues, set benchmarks, and make realistic goals for the future. Over time, instead of fire fighting, they can resolve the incident early to prevent it from ever happening.

For example, your company’s goal may be resolving all incidents within 20 minutes, but it usually takes up to 30 minutes. Without proper incident KPIs, you can’t pinpoint whether your alert system took too long or if the on-call team took too long to respond. KPIs pinpoint the exact issue and give you a chance to improve.

What is Incident Management?

Incident management is the process of responding to an unplanned disruption to your services and bringing it back to their normal operations. An incident can be any event that disrupts service and reduces the quality of the service for the user. The process begins when an incident is reported and acknowledged by the on-call team and marked resolved when the service is operational. After the incident is resolved, tools like retrospectives help you learn from the incident and improve your system.

How to Choose Incident Management KPIs?

Incident management KPIs (key performance indicators) are metrics that help organizations determine whether or not they’re meeting specific goals regarding incidents. These KPIs range from number of incidents in a set time to MTTx metrics like MTTA (mean time to acknowledge) and MTTR (mean time to resolution).

When it comes to finding KPIs, there is no perfect list. Some KPIs will work better for some organizations and turn out to be inappropriate for another. For example, first contact resolution (percentage of reports that were resolved during the first contact with the incident response team) can be an excellent metric. It measures how efficiently an organization is resolving incidents. However, for a company selling self-service tools, the FCR may not improve even while the actual service is improving. 


The good news is that unlike mechanical and offline systems, software and web systems can give your team a lot of data. Over time, you can understand and make sense of the data to improve. 

Most Important Incident Management Metrics

Number of Incidents in a Set Time

The number of incidents in a set time is about tracking how many incidents happened on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Tracking the number of incidents in a particular time frame can help teams find any trends regarding the frequency of incidents. A higher than usual trend can help teams investigate the reason behind it. 

Mean Time to Acknowledge (MTTA)

Mean time to acknowledge measures the amount of time between an alert and the time it took for the on-call staff to respond to the alert. The metric tracks the efficiency of the on-call team and how fast they notice and start working on the problem. Higher MTTA means that the team took longer to acknowledge and respond to the reported incident. 


MTTA can also help organizations see if the incidents are prioritized well. If a team can’t prioritize high-risk alerts, then it will take them longer to respond and start remediation. A lower MTTA shows that your team can prioritize and respond to incidents 

Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) 

Mean time to resolution is the average time it takes to resolve an incident and get the affected system back to its normal operations. It gives you insights into how efficient your incident response team is in managing and resolving the issue.


Resolution involves addressing the root cause of the incident to avoid it moving forward. Despite being a lengthy process, it’s vital to ensure that the incident never happens again because the alternative is to live under constant threat. Incidents offer one of the best opportunities to make systemic improvements.

Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) 

MTTD is the mean time to detect. It’s used in incident response metrics to determine how long a problem lasts before it becomes apparent. Sometimes MTTD is called mean time to discover because it is literally the time taken to discover an issue. This is commonly used by a KPS team to manage IT incidents and judge the efficiency of monitoring tools.

Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)

MTBF, or the mean time between failures, gives you an idea of how quickly a technology product might fail. The measurement provides an average time between each repairable failure. This helps you track:

  • Reliability
  • Availability
  • Usefulness

The higher the MTBF, the more productive and reliable your technology.

Uptime

System uptime is useful among incident management KPIs for IT and DevOps. It reveals the successful operation percentage of a system, network, or device. Uptime is particularly important to note in an SLA. It tells you how much time during the year a system can be down for repairs or maintenance.

SLA and SLO Compliance

An SLA is a service-level agreement. It is a document outlining how and when IT issues need to be resolved for a client or system. If an SLA is breached, your company may be legally obligated to pay fines or offer refunds.

An SLO, or service level objective, is an internal metric that tells you how much room is in your error budget. An error budget is the level of performance failure allowed during a compliance period to prevent breaching an SLA or keep customers happy.

Average Incident Response Time 

The average incident response time is the amount of time it takes from an incident occurring to it being routed to the right team member. Who should be alerted for an incident depends on the incident’s classification – its severity and service area. Routing the incident to the right individual is an extremely important task, and this metric shows how quickly the right person starts working on the incident. It can really slow down the incident lifecycle, so working on your incident response time can also speed up incident resolution.

First Touch Resolution Rate 

First touch resolution rate is the rate at which incidents are resolved during the very first occurrence without repeated alerts. Having a higher first touch resolution rate indicates that you have an effective system. It’s consistent with greater customer satisfaction and a mature incident management system.

Strategies to Improve Incident Management KPIs 

Incident management lets DevOps and IT teams evaluate and respond to unplanned issues impacting service. KPIs are key performance indicators. They are measurements used to determine how your team, protocols, products, or software perform.

KPIs change depending on what is being evaluated. Here are some strategies to improve your incident management KPIs.

1. Enhancing Incident Detection and Monitoring 

  • Proactive Monitoring Tools and Techniques: DevOps monitoring tools are used in software development to detect early issues. This includes the measurement and tracking of applications and overall system performance. Things like disk space and CPU utilization fall into this category.
  • Partnering with a Professional DevOps Company: Blameless offers a wide range of services and tools for incident monitoring, including DevOps automation tools. Partnering with a DevOps service increases incident detection times and provides protocols and tools to streamline the process.

2. Streamlining Incident Response Processes 

  • Incident Escalation and Notification Procedures: When an incident is unable to be resolved by the team or person managing it, it needs to be escalated. Streamlining incident and escalation protocols ensures these issues are managed quickly and efficiently.
  • Effective Communication Channels: Incident, status, and resolution reports are all important for effectively communicating incident response processes. Companies should create and manage effective channels to ensure consistency and clarity. Blameless offers a Slack or MS Teams bot  that automatically guides responders based on roles and gathers data about the incident. This lets teams easily communicate progress and resolution.

3. Improving Incident Resolution Efficiency 

  • Knowledge Management System (docs and SOPs): Any type of system that stores or retrieves information and knowledge counts as a knowledge management system. Documenting incidents and solutions for fast response and resolution reduces time wasted in the future.
  • Training and Skill Development: Training increases consistency and awareness. When managing incident resolution efficiency, consistency and transparency are key. Training in common incidents and resolutions ensures problems are dealt with properly and in a timely manner.

How can Blameless Help?

We are moving towards a world where everything is online from ordering groceries to a car. As we evolve, so do cybercriminals. According to security experts, it’s no longer a question of “if'', but “when” it will happen. To keep your system secure, you need to have a robust incident response plan in place. Blameless can help your organization stay ahead of the game with state-of-the-art incident response tools. It can help you address the incidents efficiently, initiating task assignments, providing context, and capturing real-time event data to help your team stay focused during critical moments. To learn more about Blameless, schedule a demo or sign up for our newsletter below.

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