Little Known Ways to Better Use Your Error Budgets

Legal teams can use error budgets as early warnings

An unintended consequence of too much unreliability is an SLA violation. SLAs, or service level agreements, are legal contracts between the organization and its clients. They guarantee certain standards for the users of the service. In the event of an SLA breach, the organization could be liable to pay fees, or the contract could be terminated early.

Executives can use error budgets to take the pulse of development

Understanding the entirety of your organization’s development landscape can be a daunting task. Often many projects and sprints are happening simultaneously. Regardless, executives need to make decisions based on the overall trajectory of development. How can you consolidate many different statuses into something actionable? Error budgets provide a way.

Error budgets and SLOs elevate the role of QA

When testing new code before deployment, it can be tempting to hope QA teams will be limitlessly thorough. However, there will always be bugs that slip through. QA teams want their tests to focus on the possibilities that will be the most impactful. Error budgets can guide QA teams to find where these areas are.

Error budgets provide objectivity for experimentation

An important component of reliability is experimentation. By understanding the limits of your system, you know better where to improve and how to respond when things go wrong. It can be difficult to understand the relative impact of different experiments. For example, consider these types of tests:

  • A chaos engineering experiment where a major service outage is simulated
  • A load test where multiple simulated requests are sent simultaneously
  • An experiment where requests are routed to servers based on different rules



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