Professional & Personal Self-Care With George Miranda

Posted on Tuesday, Sep 1, 2020
George Miranda returns as a guest to talk about how we need to all have more empathy for each other, be more gentle, and have anchors in our lives that can help us deal with incidents that aren’t over


Scott McAllister: Welcome to Page It to the Limit, a podcast where we explore what it takes to run software in production successfully. We cover leading practices used in the software industry to improve both system reliability and the lives of the people supporting those systems. I’m your host, Scott McAllister, @stmcallister on Twitter. Today, we’re going to talk about lessons in self-care that we can learn from incident response. This is a slightly different kind of show for us, but there’s a lot we can learn from incident response that applies to skills we need to develop for professional and personal reasons. We’re joined today by an old friend, George Miranda. He’s currently the product marketing director at Honeycomb and a former Page It to the Limit host. And I learned today, George, by the way, by looking at your LinkedIn profile, apparently you know French?

George Miranda: I do. [French 00:01:01].

Scott McAllister: Wow. I’m impressed. Impressed. Welcome, George.

George Miranda: Thanks. It’s good to be here. Thanks for reminding me that my French is so incredibly rusty, the last time I was in France, it was sad. But that’s one of those quarantine skills that I should definitely be working on. So I’ll put that back on the list. Thanks, Scott.

Scott McAllister: There you go. You’re welcome, you’re welcome. To get us started, how should we think about self-care and incident response? How are those things related, George?

George Miranda: Well, I’ve been coming around to the idea that we’re going through a pretty astonishing moment of civilizational grief and disorientation right now. The grief that we’re feeling is… It’s not really like traditional grief, right? The things that we’re losing feel very ambiguous because they have no closure. And the coping mechanisms that we’ve used in the past, more often than not these days, don’t really work so well in today’s world. So I’ve been spending a lot of time grappling with that and working through it. And when we talked about doing a show together, it struck me just how similar dealing with ambiguous loss is to a lot of the things that we preach in incident response. So I thought that would be a really good topic to explore today. So I’m really glad you invited me to do this episode.

Scott McAllister: We’re excited to have you, George. I agree with the it’s a unique situation for all of us. And like you said, I think it’s that uniqueness of not seeing an end to things. So taking care of ourselves is an important aspect for all aspects of our life. I’m interested to see what you have to say about how incident response principles can help us. To get into that, what’s one myth or common misconception about self-care that you’d like to debunk?

George Miranda: Yeah. First, I’m going to start by saying it’s a little counterintuitive, right? The connections aren’t obvious. So I’m curious to see if we’ll get there throughout the episode. But the myth about self-care. I’d say that probably the biggest myth about self-care that I’d like to debunk is that self-care is not entirely about you, right? It definitely starts with you. You have to care for yourself before you can help others. And it’s very important that you don’t put yourself at the bottom of that list, right? You should be your own number one priority. But that care also needs to be balanced. And friendship and community, I think, are really key when it comes to self-care. I know that during my own recent struggles, especially when I’ve been pretty close to rock bottom, those moments where I focused on helping others even when I didn’t know how to help myself, I think those moments pay really unexpected dividends, right? I think uplifting others can help lift you up in return, right? I mean, presuming that that’s all being done in healthy ways, right? The point here is that it’s not a zero sum game, right? You don’t have to take care of yourself or take care of others. How you give to others can also really give to you, right? Like a rising tide lifts all boats, right? I’m sure that’s not the last platitude that I’ll throw into this conversation.

Scott McAllister: Keep them coming. I agree wholeheartedly. Whenever I’m in a dark spot for myself, I find that focusing on helping others is one of those common branches, I guess you said, that I could reach out to, that I could commonly kind of climb out of my hole that I’m in for myself. So I can relate to that idea a lot. So why are we doing this show? Why now?

George Miranda: Well, so Scott, you and I were talking about this a little bit before we started recording, but I just want to set a little bit of context for the conversation that we’re about to have for our listeners. I’ve been going through and am still going through the worst emotional period of my adult life, right? 2020 has been a very hard year for many people, and I fully admit that I am way, way luckier than most, right? I have my health, my finances, my wife, and my dog, right? Those have been my rocks. That is way more than a lot of other people have right now. But for me though, I think things along pretty much every other vector have been pretty bad across the board. And what I see is that we’re all essentially dealing with incidents in our own lives. When incidents happen, our instinct is to resolve them, right? To bring them a sense of closure. But that’s really complicated by the fact that we can’t grieve certain things, right? It’s impossible to gather in ways that we would like. It’s difficult to make plans, right? Because we can’t predict where things are going. We can’t know what’s going to happen next. I mean, hell, it’s even challenging to understand things that already happened. So I’ve been coming around to the idea that what we really need are anchors on which to ground ourselves if we’re ever going to pull ourselves through some of this grief. And it feels like I’ve been pretty neck deep in a SEV zero incident for awhile now. SEV zero is how we would talk about unimaginably bad scenarios at PagerDuty, where our SEV rating capped out at SEV one, right? And SEV zeros are undefined, right? They are those crazy, way above and beyond anything that you are normally equipped to deal with type incident. So let me paint a high level picture. Right after Christmas in 2019, my brother-in-law died unexpectedly. Right when that happened at the exact same time, I had a profoundly sad and deeply hurtful experience with my own biological side of the family. I didn’t know what to do about the thing with my family, because I had a death in the family to deal with, right? So I compartmentalized it. And Scott, we were talking about this, right? I’m very good at compartmentalizing. But the deal with compartmentalization is that you have to go reopen that compartment and deal with whatever you put in there, right? Otherwise it ends up coming out sideways, right? It’s only supposed to be a temporary solution. But I stuffed that thing into a compartment, because I had a death in the family to deal with and I think I was still processing that death in the family when big career changes unfold for me and my work situation became chaotic, right? So I put all of those things in a compartment. And then COVID happened almost right away. A close friend of mine got COVID. He was on a ventilator for a month. He died three days after I started my new job, right? So like, “I’ll put that in a compartment and let’s deal.” I was named the executor of his will, and let’s just say that cleaning up his life was eye-opening in some very painful ways. So I put that in a compartment, right? And then a bunch of things happened, right? My wife’s father died. I helped a dear friend dismantle the business she’s been running for 20 years. I had a friend’s suicide to deal with, right? And I’m just going to stop there. But I will say that I had about another half dozen or so things like that of equal weight all happening at the same time. And at some point, I just ran out of compartments, right? That’s before any of the COVID, meltdown of democracy, civil unrest, the entire world is bonkers stuff that’s going on, right? Being thrown in on top. So for me, when the dam finally burst, I ended up dealing with some of the most debilitating depression that I’ve ever dealt with, right? And everything was just hard. So how do you deal with the worst incident you’ve ever encountered? I think because I spent so much of my time at PagerDuty focused on that sort of problem, the parallels that I have found as I’ve started to rebuild and pull myself out of that, I think, really jumped out to me. So what I’m hoping is that anyone familiar with incident response techniques can start applying some of those same lessons that we’ve learned about dealing with incidents to self-care approaches, because I think many of those things can help us deal and cope with this moment of civilizational grief. So there are plenty of personal lessons I’m talking about in there, of course, but this applies to a lot of technical professional lessons as well. So we should talk about both.

Scott McAllister: Yeah, so tell me about one of those ideas that can kind of go across both of those aspects of our life, our personal and professional.

George Miranda: Yeah. Well, look, I mean, everything is hard right now, right? Everybody is struggling to cope with these ambiguous losses that we’re unequipped to deal with. We have all experienced the loss of many of the things that kept us going. Except there’s no closure, right? That’s especially devastating because there’s no end in sight, which means there’s no way to process the grief, right? The grief isn’t even close to being done. So everyone, and I mean everyone, is going through this, right? And life right now is hard no matter how you slice it, right? If you have kids, the situation we’re all in is hard with kids. If you live alone, right? This situation is hard to do alone. If you have roommates, right? This situation is hard to do with roommates. Insert any situation here, right, and that’s hard to do. And we’ve been at this for over six months now, and I think we’re starting to hit a really big wall and a pretty massive breaking point. Which means that we’re all running at diminished capacities, even if we don’t admit that to ourselves or to others. And the skills that we’ve learned that have gotten us this far in life, most of those don’t apply right now, right? We can’t do many of the things we used to do. So we’re all struggling to figure things out. So I think it’s important to realize that even if somebody presents as fine and it looks like they’re okay, they’re probably not. So we should not expect each other to be okay, right? We’re all living with a burdening degree of uncertainty and loss, and we’re all learning how to adapt to our new realities to deal with that, right? Which is hard, which is exhausting, right? And on top of that diminished capacity, because things are so hard, a lot of the feelings we’re having are being super magnified, right? Small things become big things. Big things become these immense insurmountable things. So emotions around grief or pain or loss are all so much bigger right now, right? So we have less capacity, and then the things that happened to us, they take a bigger toll than they normally would. And you know what? In the rare case that you are a wonderful, thriving human being right now, congratulations, right? That’s a very, very big accomplishment and you should be proud of achieving the work that it takes to get there. But even so, I think we all still need to walk with empathy for our fellow humans who are struggling to figure out those paths. So the lesson here, that’s a long way of saying, I think we all need to be gentle with each other by default, right? Assume that people are dealing with way more than they can handle all the time. So maybe right now isn’t the time to pick a fight, right? Or stress the bounds of your relationships, or add in challenges and expect people to rise to the occasion, right? Don’t make things harder. Maybe now is the time to cut each other some slack, right? And to ramp up the understanding. Because if you don’t, you’re definitely going to trigger some incidents, right? I think that applies personally and professionally, right? Professionally when we get that wrong, we damage availability and we burn through an error budget. But on the personal side, when we get that wrong, it tends to be harder to recover from than a blown SLO.

Scott McAllister: What do you think we can do? At least let’s look at our personal lives first.

George Miranda: Sure.

Scott McAllister: What can we do to not trigger or at least avoid triggering those personal incidents?

George Miranda: I think we need to have each other’s back, right? It’s all about high trust. So maybe this is not too different from the professional approach at all, actually, right? Because professionally, we know that high-performing teams have very high trust factors associated with them, right? Psychological safety is absolutely key for people that are working together to bring out the best in one another. And similarly, I think when it comes to friends and community, now more than ever, I think we need to go above and beyond to solidify and maintain that trust. We have to be gentle with one another’s psychological safety. So when I first started going through my own struggles, a lot of the things that were happening were just bad things happening in the world, right? Like death, you can’t do much about. COVID is happening and there’s fallout from that. And I think to some degree, we’re all more resilient when it comes to bad things that just happen to us. But when something bad happens and it feels like that something was preventable, right? Like someone’s just being a jerk to you, or somebody that should have your back, doesn’t, like, “Ouch.” Those things will break people right now, right? That definitely broke me. I’ve seen it break others. So when I say we need to be gentle with each other, that’s what I mean, right? Even if somebody presents as fine, they’re not. So getting hit with a breach of trust, right? Those wounds strike so much harder right now. Less capacity, bigger impact, right? So I think we have to go above and beyond to really communicate with the people that we call friends, right? I mean, that’s how you build and maintain trust, right? Clear communication, clear intent, overcommunication, showing that you care. We have to reinforce that with each other under normal circumstances, right? But as fragile as we can all be right now, I think we owe it to our friends to do that, right? And you owe it to yourself to surround yourself with people that do that for you, right? That’s a crucial part of self-care. Have each other’s back, build high-trust teams, right? That applies to your friends. We talk about that in the context of professional situations all the time, but I think that’s not just advice for professional self-care, but personal self-care too.

Scott McAllister: One of the thoughts that I’ve had as you’ve been talking is that I was taught once, and I can’t remember who told me this, but that judging everyone by how they appear could be misleading. Because they said that if you assume that everyone you approach is going through a crisis internally, and this was before COVID, 80% of the time, you’re right. All of us can… Some people can put on a brave face, and some people can look like they’ve got all their stuff together, but I think all of us go through struggles. So like you were saying, I think it’s definitely important to have each other’s back and to be just a little more… Kind is the word I like to use with my kids, right? Just to be a little more kinder to the people around us. I’ve seen that a lot.

George Miranda: Now more than ever, right? I mean, we are all trying so hard to put on that face. And the thing that I’ve noticed is, especially as I’ve started to talk about a lot more of these things, that way more people than you think are just not doing well.

Scott McAllister: Yeah. So what about professionally? What are some ways we can be more mindful professionally?

George Miranda: I think we have to be really ruthless about prioritizing the things that we’re going to work on and where we choose to focus our limited energy, right? So again, like we were just saying, right? Presume that people are dealing with way more than they can handle. So what does that mean, right? I think if we’re lucky, that means that we have three to four good focused hours of work in us a day, tops, right? Absolute tops. So how do we spend that time? Right? Where will we place the limited investments that we can make with the little bits of attention that we have left to give? And I think professional self-care means making room to contemplate how to make those prioritization decisions, right? It means thinking about where is it going to be okay to under-deliver. I’ve got to tell you, for me personally, as a chronic overachiever, that is a damn hard thing to admit and to own, right? So ideally, your team or your manager can help you figure that out. There’s a lot that’s not going to get done, and we have to realize that that’s okay. So first, right, I think you have to own that. Things are going to fall, and acceptance is step one, right? If you can’t own that, then you can’t talk about it openly, you can’t examine that situation for what it really is, right? So if you’re a people manager and you’re listening right now, this advice especially applies because it all starts with you, right? I think it falls onto leadership to set the pace for this. So look, if your boss acknowledges that it’s expected that everyone is at reduced capacity and that things are going to fall and that we all have to be ruthless about prioritizing, I think that removes a lot of pressure from the team to save face about how they’re doing, right? Because it’s really hard to admit that your productivity is hurting, especially to your boss, right? So as that boss, you have to help your team save face, right? Take the lead. Open the door to having a real and meaningful conversation about where people are at by showing your own vulnerability first. On the flip side, right? If you’re not a people manager, this advice still applies to you. Because on the flip side, right, it’s your responsibility to accept that invitation to step through that door and talk about things honestly. And I know it can be so hard to ask for help. But it’s much less hard if you can be open and honest about what’s happening. And, right, and this part is key, if your teammates also respond in kind by also being open and honest about the things that they’re dealing with. So I think it falls on the leadership to set that pace, but it also falls on the team to meet them in kind, right? So the takeaway is this: own the diminished capacity, right? Talk about it, normalize it. And if you’re in a senior role, set the pace by making yourself vulnerable first. So take that opening shot, right? And then, if you have a high-performing and a high trust team, others should follow suit and take your lead, right? And then we can work on managing capacity in real and meaningful ways.

Scott McAllister: I can relate to the importance of having good leadership that can set the pace, because it really does set the tone for the team for talking about capacity, like you’re saying, even on things like vacation or taking vacation. When you have a boss that never takes vacation, and even though they say, “You can use your vacation whenever,” you kind of have this unspoken like, “Well, they’re always on. I should kind of be on too if I want to perform.” But it’s really great when you have those managers and those bosses who do set the pace, who do show you how to pace yourself. When you have those expectations, how to communicate them well, but also how to communicate when you need to own the fact that things are going to fall, as you said.

George Miranda: Yeah, absolutely.

Scott McAllister: I love it when I have had managers like that. My current manager is like that. It’s really great.

George Miranda: Shout out to Rachel.

Scott McAllister: So let’s talk about incidents in the technical sense. What can we learn about managing technical incidents from the perspective of self-care?

George Miranda: Yeah. I think as engineering teams, we have to apply the same rules, right? Which means three to four good working hours in as tops. And if you try to cram in more, if you try to act like we’re all running at full capacity, you are in for some really hard and troubling news. So anecdotally, I’ve heard this from many colleagues, that the number of incidents seems to be going up during this COVID era. I know that at Honeycomb, we just went through a run of back-to-back incidents. We did a write-up about that. We’ll put it in the show notes. But I know that at Honeycomb, when I first got there, the previous quarter, we had a major incident. And one of the biggest things that happened and the biggest things that we learned during that incident was that people forgot what they were supposed to do in their roles, because it had been so long since we had a major incident. And this quarter, major incidents became just stressingly more common, right? I mean, it happened for our own reasons, but the thing that I’m saying is that I’ve actually heard this from a number of friends in the industry, that this seems to be happening. So that begs the question, Scott, is this something that you’re seeing at PagerDuty also?

Scott McAllister: Yeah, it’s interesting. When you look at the numbers, our incident volume was pretty flat for several months leading right up to about March of this year. And then every month since, incident volume has increased by 7% every single month on top of each other. So it’s just a graph that looks like it’s going up and to the right, and it continues to go. It continues to happen as stress happens on systems, as various products that were definitely being used, but now are being utilized more, video conferencing products and things of that nature, that are now going to have a lot more stress on them because a lot more people are going to be using them at the same time with kids going back to school, working, that type of thing. We definitely see that incidents are happening a lot more.

George Miranda: That’s really interesting. Yeah, I mean, you’re right. To some degree, we rely on digital services more, and so there’s going to be more load there. But I think a lot of it is also just how we, as technical teams, are reacting to this. I’ve heard this across the board from smaller startups that maybe aren’t as in the consumer space and dealing with people being at home more, to leading tech edge enterprises that are, right? And I think if we go back to the conversation earlier, I think that’s no surprise, right? I think we need to be gentle with each other, right? We need to cut each other some slack. We need to own where we are, and what we can and we can’t do right now, right? And we need to talk about those things openly and honestly. I think what we’re seeing right now is sort of the results of not doing that, right? I think that there are a number of orgs that are pretending that the same ways that we manage teams pre-COVID still apply post-COVID, right? And nothing is the same anymore, right? We need to learn new ways to communicate and cope, right? We need to learn new ways to be gentle with each other and forgive each other and figure out new dynamics, because I think that is the only way that we’re going to make our way through this without inflicting more damage or creating more incidents.

Scott McAllister: Absolutely. I could not agree more. As a father and as I try to raise my kids, as I referred to before, we try to teach them to be kind. Above all things, I’d rather my kids be kind, honestly, than smart or talented. I mean, yes, let’s develop the smart and the talented, but also let’s develop kindness and understanding with other people. So I agree with that wholeheartedly.

George Miranda: I love that.

Scott McAllister: So are there any other incident response lessons we can apply here?

George Miranda: Yes, absolutely. Scott, like you were saying, kindness, your time has arrived. Similarly, I think blameless postmortems, your time is here. So now more than ever, right, I think we need to learn from incidents that happen, both professional and personal, right? Going back to my earlier story about my own compartmentalization, I had to go back and reopen each of those compartments, right? Those were all separate personal incidents that had not been properly dealt with or resolved. I think examining those was especially hard in most cases, because again, right, we’re living in ambiguous times lacking closure. And it’s not like many of those incidents are quote, unquote, “over,” right? So how on earth do you start working towards resolution when they’re not even over? For me, it became about finding anchors. For each incident, for every compartment that I had to reopen, I had to figure out what happened, right? How we got there, what the contributing factors were, what lessons could be learned, and what, if anything, I could do to mitigate that same type of grief in the future. So let go or be dragged, right, is sort of the philosophy. It’s not like getting to that point or to that understanding is easy or even always possible. And it’s not like grief ever entirely goes away either. But processing those situations, it has to be done in as blameless a way as possible. I think that reflection has to be really objective, right? And you have to remove your various biases from the equation as much as possible. Which, trust me, is a lot easier said than done. If you don’t strive for that, right, you’ll never get down to a real understanding that you can center yourself around. Or if you do, you’ll get it wrong, right? Same as an incidence, right? Often the easy answers that place blame in comforting ways, those may help you call it done, right? You might’ve found your quote, unquote, “root cause,” but those easy answers do nothing to teach us about how we get ourselves to a better place in the future. So my advice, right, when dealing with things that lack closure is sometimes you need to make your own closure, right? Probably the best way to do that that I have found is to anchor around blameless analysis. I’ve found that that’s similar to technical incidents. Some situations are easier to understand and mitigate than others, right? Some of those compartments I could open and it was pretty easy to sort the things that were inside. Some of those were anything but, right? And to be honest, some of those are still an ongoing slog, and I don’t know that the grief will ever entirely go away in some cases. Or that anything would even prepare me better for next time, right? Sometimes the understanding that you get is that you don’t understand. That’s okay too, right? It’s a data point for next time. So I mean, hopefully, that sounds a little familiar, right? This is pretty much the incident investigative process come to life. And I think a lot of the same approaches that we use to diffuse blame, to mitigate risk, and to drill into better understandings that help us learn from the incidents that are happening in our lives, I think those are all skills that we can really reuse in the context of self-care. So I’m telling you, Scott, blameless postmortems, your time is here, right? Especially in this time of dealing with loss, in a time when we need better self-care, their time has arrived, and I think we can practice them almost daily now.

Scott McAllister: For sure, for sure. That definitely brings the two ideas together, right, of self-care and incident response. Because by doing those things, we can keep that self-care top of mind, not only with ourselves, as you mentioned, but also when dealing with other people. Because dealing with everyone around us and interacting with everyone, it’s important to keep that in mind that we’re all going through our own incidents.

George Miranda: I think it’s the only way we’ll stay sane, right? I think it’s the only way that we’ll really understand the world around us that is incredibly difficult to even comprehend right now.

Scott McAllister: Absolutely. All right, George, you know this show. You know it well. You know the format. We have a couple of recurring questions that we’d like to ask. What’s something you wish you would’ve learned earlier about running software in production?

George Miranda: When it comes to production software, I wish I would have known that being on call did not have to suck, right? We didn’t talk about any of that this episode, so we can talk about it some other time. But I really wish that I would’ve seen good examples of effective incident response when I was growing up in my technical career, right? I never had good role models in that regard. And I don’t think it was until I landed at PagerDuty that I learned what good response process and effective, sane, healthy ways of dealing with incidents looked like, actually. Hearing myself say that, I actually also hear some parallels to our earlier discussion. But strictly, yeah, speaking about production software, same idea holds. I’ll go with that.

Scott McAllister: All right. About today’s topic then, what are some things you are glad that we did not ask you?

George Miranda: I’m really glad that you did not ask me to go into more detail on the personal side. I think, Scott, that I’m a pretty private person. And I think that under normal circumstances, I would never even dream of being this open about my own struggles or hardship, especially this publicly. I know what your listener numbers are like. But we’re not living in a normal world, are we, right? And I think that the more this type of struggle is normalized, the more that we can talk about the hard things, the more that we can be open and honest about deeply difficult subjects, right? And I think the more that we can do that, the more likely we are to be able to learn how to be good friends and good colleagues to one another, right? I read a story today that I think was a little uplifting. Last week, I was devastated to hear that Big Basin State Park had been destroyed by those massive wildfires in California, right? And today I read that most of the ancient redwoods on the main loop are charred, but they’re still standing, right? And I think if that’s not the perfect thing to refill your cup a little in 2020, I don’t know what is, right? Charred, but still standing. So I think we can get there, and I think that’s resilience engineering in a nutshell.

Scott McAllister: I think so too. George, we appreciate you coming on for opening up and sharing some, honestly, very personal and very vulnerable topics and feelings with us. I know that the listeners will relate, because we can all relate with professional but also very personal incidents in our lives and having to deal with them. So we appreciate you coming on today.

George Miranda: Thanks for having me on the show, Scott.

Scott McAllister: This is Scott McAllister, and I’m wishing you an uneventful day. That does it for another installment of Page It to the Limit. We’d like to thank our sponsor, PagerDuty, for making this podcast possible. Remember to subscribe to this podcast if you like what you’ve heard. You can find our show notes on, and you can reach us on Twitter at pageit2thelimit, using the number two. That’s @pageit2thelimit. Let us know what you think of the show. Thank you so much for joining us. And remember, uneventful days are beautiful days.

Show Notes

George talks about how we’re going through an astonishing moment of civilizational grief and disorientation. And, this grief is different because the things we’re losing feel very ambiguous because they have no closure.

Myth About Self-Care

The biggest myth about self-care is that it’s not entirely about you. It starts with you; you have to help yourself before you help others. You should make sure that you are your own top priority, but those priorities need to be balanced.

Why This Topic Now

George talks about how he’s going through the worst emotional period of his adult life. He describes that we all are experiencing incidents in our own lives, and it’s our instinct to try and resolve them. One way we do this, at least temporarily, is to compartmentalize our incidents to give us time to deal with other things before addressing the problems. But, at some point, we run out of compartments.

Lessons That Apply Both Personally and Professionally

Everyone is struggling to cope with these ambiguous losses. We have all experienced loss of many things that kept us going. And that grief is hard to deal with because there is no end in sight. “Everyone, and I mean everyone, is going though this. Live is hard right now no matter how you slice it.”

George talks about how we’ve been at this for a little over six months now and are now hitting a wall where we are all running at diminished capacities. And he recommends we need to walk with empathy for our fellow humans.

How To Not Trigger Personal Incidents

I think we need to have each others backs–which isn’t all that different than dealing with things professionally. We need to be gentle with each others psychological safety. We need to be gentle with each other

We need to go above and beyond when we communicate with those we call friends. That’s how we build and maintain trust.

Mindful of Professional Self-Care

We have to be ruthless about prioritizing what we’re going to work on. If we’re lucky, we have really only about 3-4 good focus hours in a day. Then you have to decide where is it going to be okay to under deliver? Things are going to fall.

It falls on the leadership to set the pace, but it also falls the the team to return in kind.

Handling Incidents From Perspective of Self-Care

Scott and George talk about how the number of incidents appears to be increasing during the COVID era. Scott shares that PagerDuty has seen the volume of incidents handled by its customers remained fairly flat for several leading up to March 2020. Since that time incident volume has steadily increased by 7% each month.

George refers to a Honeycomb meta-incident writeup about a couple of back-to-back incidents Honeycomb experienced recently.

Additional Resources


George Miranda

George Miranda

George Miranda directs Product Marketing at Honeycomb, where he helps people improve the ways they run software in production. He made a 20+ year career as a Web Operations engineer at a variety of small dotcoms and large enterprises by obsessively focusing on continuous improvement for people and systems. He now works with software vendors that create meaningful tools to solve prevalent IT industry problems. He’s a former Page It to the Limit host.

George tackled distributed systems problems in the Finance and Entertainment industries before working with Buoyant, Chef Software, and PagerDuty. He’s a trained EMT and First Responder who geeks out on emergency response practices. He owns a home in the American Pacific Northwest, has no idea where home is anymore, and loves writing speaker biographies that no one reads.


Scott McAllister

Scott McAllister

Scott McAllister is a Developer Advocate for PagerDuty. He has been building web applications in several industries for over a decade. Now he’s helping others learn about a wide range of software-related technologies. When he’s not coding, writing or speaking he enjoys long walks with his wife, skipping rocks with his kids, and is happy whenever Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC, Manchester City, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Bulls, Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, OL Reign FC, St. Louis Blues, Seattle Kraken, Barcelona, Fiorentina, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund or Mainz 05 can manage a win.