The best time to learn how to handle crises is right after you just had one. Analyze what happened, what you did to solve it, and then make a checklist for when it happens next time.

Then, during your next crisis, take a deep breath and start jotting down notes of what is happening and what you are doing. This makes your post-game analysis easier to complete.

We had a mini crisis at work today: Some of our sites weren’t connecting to our MySQL servers and we couldn’t figure out why. The problem was intermittent. Our sysadmin is on vacation, so a few of us had to jump in and try to figure it out. When we were in a holding pattern while waiting for our hosting provider to call us back, I made a checklist of what we need to do the next time this happens. This took into account what we had to figure out on the spot, look up, diagnose, and what we learned. Now we have it for the future.

H/T to Episode 279 of Back to Work with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin. I listened to it this morning and their discussion of making checklists while traveling for travel made me think of doing this during the MySQL issues.

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