Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Cloud Runbooks

As enterprises move towards digital transformation, cloud computing has become an integral part of their business strategy. With the increasing complexity of cloud-based applications, it's important to have runbooks in place that can help handle any incidents that arise. In this article, we'll discuss the common mistakes to avoid when creating cloud runbooks.

Mistake #1: Not Having a Clear and Concise Runbook

The first mistake that organizations often make is creating runbooks that are too complex or lack clarity. Runbooks should be easy to understand and follow, especially in high-pressure situations such as outages or maintenance scenarios. Avoid using technical jargon or overly complicated steps, and make sure to organize runbooks in a logical and clear manner. You should also consider using diagrams or flowcharts to help visualize the steps.

Mistake #2: Not Keeping Runbooks Updated

Another common mistake is failing to keep runbooks up to date. Cloud systems are constantly evolving, which means that runbooks must be reviewed and updated regularly. This will help ensure that the runbook remains relevant and effective. A runbook that is outdated could lead to confusion or even worsen the situation during an incident. To prevent this, establish a process for updating and reviewing runbooks regularly.

Mistake #3: Not Testing Runbooks

Creating a runbook is not enough; it also needs to be tested. The purpose of testing is to identify any issues before they occur in a real-world situation. Testing should be done in a controlled environment where you can replicate various scenarios that may occur during an incident. This will help identify any potential issues or gaps in the runbook. Make sure to also test the runbook with different teams or stakeholders to ensure that it is easy to follow and understand.

Mistake #4: Not Documenting Runbook Changes

When making changes to a runbook, it's important to document them. This will help ensure that everyone involved is aware of any changes made and why they were made. This documentation should include who made the changes, when they were made, and why. It should also be stored in a central location where it can be easily accessed by all relevant parties. This helps promote transparency and accountability and can help avoid future issues caused by runbooks that are in conflict with each other.

Mistake #5: Underestimating the Importance of Collaboration

Runbooks are not meant to be created in a vacuum. Collaboration is essential when developing runbooks. The runbook creation process should involve stakeholders from across the organization including those responsible for IT, security, and business operations. By involving a diverse set of stakeholders, the runbook will be more effective and will have greater buy-in from all parties involved. Make sure to also encourage feedback and input from all stakeholders and use this feedback to continually improve and evolve the runbook.

Mistake #6: Relying Too Heavily on Runbooks

While runbooks are an essential part of incident management, they should not be relied upon exclusively. It's important to have a holistic approach to incident management that includes monitoring tools and automation. This will help identify and resolve issues before they become major incidents. Runbooks should be used as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Mistake #7: Overcomplicating the Runbook

Another common mistake is overcomplicating the runbook. Runbooks should be simple and straightforward. Avoid creating runbooks that are overly complex or contain unnecessary details. A runbook that is too long or complex may not be followed in high-pressure situations. Keep in mind that the purpose of a runbook is to help resolve issues quickly, so simplicity is key.

Mistake #8: Not Prioritizing Incident Response

Finally, it's crucial to prioritize incident response. Incidents can occur at any time and can have significant impacts on your operations. By having a well-developed runbook in place, you can minimize the impact of these incidents and ensure that your operations continue to run as smoothly as possible. Prioritizing incident response also includes having the right team and resources in place to manage incidents effectively.


Creating effective cloud runbooks is critical to managing incidents and ensuring the continuity of operations. Avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure that your runbooks are effective and easy to follow. By prioritizing runbook development, testing, and collaboration, you can help mitigate the impact of incidents and support your organization's digital transformation efforts.

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