Many organizations are familiar with the basic concept of Post Mortems from either their experience with Agile or from holding Post Mortems for production incidents. What these organizations may not be familiar with is holding Post Mortems that maximize their benefits.
There are two areas in which many organizations are failing to gain the full potential of Post Mortems, we will briefly discuss both of them in this section. Many individuals and teams are probably familiar with the basic setup of a Post Mortem, but they are probably missing out on one of the areas where they can be of tremendous help. Most Post Mortems are marked by individuals spouting out all of the issues that occurred during a previous iteration and then the team marking what they need to improve. This is all fine and should be brought up, but what about what has gone right? Identifying what has gone right and putting as much emphasis on this as what has gone wrong or needs to be improved can pay even bigger dividends in the long run.
The other area we need to discuss when talking about Post Mortems, especially when they concern production incidents is making sure there is absolutely no downward pressure by the organization on individuals/teams to not bring up issues such as security, ethics and safety. If there is downward pressure to not point out these types of issues, what the organization may discover is that one of the production incidents in the future may be an organizational killer, because individuals/teams were pressured to not discuss issues they were actually aware of.