Robert's Homepage

False Alarm Tax

#tactics #software-management #sre

" False alarms - whether induced deliberately or not - are the bane of the industry. They are a denial-of-service attack on the alarm response force. Experience from electronic warefare is that a false alarm rate of greater than about 15% degrades the performance of radar operators; and more intruder alarm responders are operating well about that threshold"

Anderson, R. (2020). Security Engineering, Third Edition. Wiley, 486-487.

A software team’s on-call members are, for metaphorical and illustrative purposes, radar operators of an business’ product and alarm responders to incidents, exceptions and errors.

Vis a vie the common heuristic:

“What gets measured gets managed”

Seldom is the false alarm rate of a software organization’s alerts measured, and therefore on-call inevitably regresses into perpetual alarm fatigue and probable burnout.

To quantitatively measure the performance loss and tax of on-call: measure false alarm rate of a product’s systems.