Runbook Meaning and Its Benefits

System administrators in IT organizations use Runbooks as a reference for their system operating routine procedures and handling various system incidents.

Digital Quality
6 min
Digital Quality
Runbook Meaning and Its Benefits

The Runbook is a specific written manual with predefined actionable steps that is in disposal for different teams to be followed when various processes of operations may encounter issues, or errors and contribute to malfunctions of the process overall.  

What is a Runbook

A runbook is a document that outlines the procedures for how to successfully complete and execute a process and solve a specific issue or problem. 

It can be understood as a comprehensive how-to rule book for carrying out a routine action or procedure as part of an organization's IT operations process. 

Runbooks are designed to give every team member—new or seasoned—the information and instructions they need to efficiently and accurately tackle a particular issue.

This documentation contains important and relevant information and practical procedures to successfully accomplish various needed IT tasks. 

Runbook except it serves as a how-to guide for the repetitive tasks that need to be carried out by IT departments and DevOps, it serves for addressing issues that arise along the way. 

The usage or the benefit of Runbook doesn’t just stop here. Miscellaneous issues that encounter need to be fixed if you want to sell your product as a reliable and scalable project. Here is where runbook comes into play again. 

With its predefined methods of intervention for resolving incidents, errors or still any less important issue, runbook makes the life easier for the team who’s responsible for maintenance.

What makes runbooks special and different from other types of manuals stands at their personalization and uniformity.

Runbooks are operation personalized documents that are compiled to serve for and solve common incidents or tasks that teams may face in that specific IT organization. 

This runbook serves as a joint address for finding the needed steps for teams in that organization for solving incidents that might occur. 

This way, a team member from the front-ent department will have the same understanding of the incidents and will be in total sync and have a common understanding of action terms that need to be taken for handling the incident.

Advantages of using a Runbook

Processes that are explained and documented ( runbook meaning) on what to do in situations when incidents occur allow for a quicker reaction and guarantee that everyone on the team comprehends the issue uniformly.

How can a runbook be of benefit for organizations:

  1. Identify incidents that occur
  2. Classify the level of the incident
  3. Describe the issue/incident
  4. Map the steps to follow for resolving the issues
  5. Help you provide a detailed description, reporting and follow-up  

These are just a few of the benefits that someone can expect from runbooks, but depending on the scenarios and actions you want to include in the Runbook benefits will follow.

How to create a runbook

Runbook it’s an essential document for any IT staff that manages systems. Runbooks are used by IT teams and help them in resolving issues quickly without having to spend too much time on over-thinking them.

The simpler they are, the more likely they will be used, therefore the most important thing to keep in mind when writing a runbook is to make it concise, easy to read, easy to follow, and far from being complicated.

Therefore, a great idea when writing a runbook is to have one sentence descriptions of each step followed by detailed explanations in the appendix so people can find what they need quickly when they need it.

As a principle, runbook should include all necessary information on the subject matter like:

-What needs to be done

-When to intervene 

-Who needs to do it

-How to do it 

Things that can help in compiling a runbook are knowing Where and When to start.

When it comes to knowing where to start, consider prioritizing procedures that require frequent execution, this way you will manage to decrease the level of engagement and efforts given to conduct certain common operations.

Next, prioritizing procedures that might encounter a higher error rate to reduce the likeliness of negative impacts. 

When it comes to when to begin developing the runbook, this might be done simultaneously with the development of procedures. However, it is preferable to begin writing the runbook before it is required as part of an incident response.

By publishing and sharing this document with all participants within the project team, you are able get everyone on the same page during execution.

Runbook automation

Automation refers to a broad range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes, and related activities and then embodying the predetermined action criteria in automated systems.

runbook automation

In order to minimize unpleasant scenarios involving system events, having a runbook in place is a good place to start. However, this is insufficient because there is more that we can do and push further the optimization state of the system operations.

This can be accomplished by defining what to activate when and automating the responses to the anticipated scenarios from our compiled Runbook.

The ability to implement an automated comprehensive system of designing, creating, orchestrating, managing, and reporting on the system operating workflow is essentially what the runbook automation (RPA) comprises.

The benefit of runbook automation is that it can engage and communicate with various types of infrastructure components, including databases, hardware, and software.


Runbooks enable constant, high-quality IT service delivery, and creating them is a proactive technique for minimizing time and money lost due to key occurrences.

Published on
December 9, 2022

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