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The Shocking Truth about MTTR and How to Overcome it

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Businesses need to measure, analyze and improve the effectiveness of many internal processes in order to minimize costs and maximize productivity.

MTTR, or mean time to recover, is one major metric that can be measured to gain actionable insights into common issues.

The fact is that while lots of organizations take heed of MTTR, only a few actually exploit it to its full potential. With that in mind, here is a look at where companies are going wrong in this regard, and what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes.

What is Mean Time To Recover and What is the Best Practice for MTTR?

So what is MTTR? The simple explanation is that it is a measurement of the average amount of time it takes for a problem to be completely fixed, whether that might be with hardware or software.

There are a number of best practices to follow when implementing an MTTR measurement policy.

One of the most important is to make sure that you not only factor in how long the recovery itself takes, but also the amount of time taken up by testing in addition to this.

Monitoring is of course essential, because without data to go on, it is impossible to calculate MTTR accurately. And it also pays to build incident management plans that are robust, repeatable and thoroughly documented so that relevant team members can play their part when problems arise.

Why Most Companies Aren’t Succeeding with MTTR

Knowing about MTTR and deciding to track it is not enough; you also have to avoid pitfalls in the process or else your efforts will be wasted.

One of the most frequent errors made is to apply MTTR universally to all sorts of outages, without thinking about whether this is actually useful.

If the incidents are wildly different, then including them under the same MTTR calculations will skew your results wildly, and lead you to the wrong conclusions.

Another misunderstanding which lots of organizations end up with when wrangling MTTR is that it does not measure the impact of downtime during the specific period in which it occurs.

For example, outages that often take place in peak periods of usage will be given the same weighting as those which occur outside of the busiest windows.

The point to take away here is that while MTTR is instructive, it is not going to give you the best insights and outcomes if it is interpreted outside of a wider operational context.

How to Measure and Effectively Manage Your mean Time to Recover

Measuring MTTR is best done with modern monitoring tools, of which there are many available with specific feature sets geared towards all sorts of hardware and software resources.

You also need to define the period over which MTTR is measured. This could be over days, weeks or months, but regardless of the route you pick, you obviously need to be consistent.

When it comes to successfully managing MTTR, in addition to taking measurements and calculating averages in a timely manner, you also need to make sure that alerts are set up to let you know when problems rear their head.

Without being given a nudge like this, conundrums could fly under the radar and your MTTR calculations will be knocked out of kilter.

Another important aspect of effective MTTR management is being rigorous about documentation. Not only should you note incidents in detail, but also create clear guidance as to the best practices that team members are responsible for following.

MTTR can be a force for positive change in any organization, but only if best practices are adhered to when it matters most.

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