Runbooks 101: Put knowledge into action

Illustration: Ram Prasath


You'll never wonder "What to do with this issue" again.

If you don’t fear the day your senior technicians quit and take the entire process knowledge with them or the day your server maintenance person takes a day off and you have to open the big yellow book on how to monitor disk usage, you need to sort out your priorities.

Or, you could be using runbooks, a way to standardize operational guidelines for commonly faced issues and help new technicians onboard faster.

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A runbook - here’s how fits the bill.

1. Standardize 


When you run into a recurring issue, the last thing you would want to do is scout through volumes of help articles to learn how it’s done. An issue as simple as a password reset or as common as a server maintenance project shouldn't take so much effort.

These are done and dusted a million times in managed services. There’s no point reinventing the wheel. Runbooks enable you to create repeatable workflows for processes that follow similar steps of action. Once your technician creates a runbook and adds the tasks involved in resolving a particular issue, it can be applied when a similar issue arises in the future.

You can also import tasks from task templates if you don't want to add tasks manually.

2. Automate

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A runbook takes the form of a flowchart, which uses if/then and conditional logic to figure out the necessary course of action. The actions are repeated for every process that follows the pre-defined logic. You just associate the runbook with the workflows once, and sit back and let them do the heavy lifting.

Ultimately, by putting workflows in control, you leave no room for human error and ensure consistent operations every single time.

3. Collaborate 

More collaboration never meant fewer mistakes. Until now.

Inside runbooks, your team members can effectively collaborate with each other by assigning to-do lists or individual tasks. Since every interaction is recorded, you can ensure utmost accountability on who is responsible for a certain action and when.

You can also approve or reject items with a single click, never worrying about unapproved requests showing up on the dashboard again.

4. Onboard


You might have an early employee who has the most context about your top five clients. You might also have a top technician who knows exactly what to do when a client can’t retrieve their backed-up data. It might make sense; what use is this information when they are the ones who will need it anyway?

Until they leave the company.  

Democratizing knowledge is important in any workplace. When a new technician joins, runbooks ensure they have a single source of truth to adhere to while resolving any kind of issue.

5. Optimize

Once you create and set aside a process, you have all the time in your hands to worry about things that matter. Is this the best way this process can be done? Can this particular step be done faster/better? Wait, is this process even relevant now?

You can finally move from being timeline-focused to quality-focused. 

Fewer automation strategies are as effective as runbooks

A runbook converts your how-to knowledge into repeatable workflows, and gives the visibility you need to optimize ongoing processes in real-time.

Try! No hunting for information, no wasting time executing recurring tasks—just a top-notch runbook you can rely on.

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