Declare a Major Incident (or Problem)

Objective: to initiate the Major Incident process as cleanly as possible.
This is a Do-Confirm checklist: run through this in any order as you declare a Major Incident to ensure you don't miss anything
[Updated 8th March 2012]

A "Major" situation (which you may be tracking as an incident and/or a problem) is defined as one where normal procedures are abandoned and special "Major" procedures are invoked instead. These procedures have an emphasis on communications with customers and users, urgent response, deploying resources, protecting and coordinating technical response teams, and crisis management.

"Major" is subjective. You can try to predefine criteria, but the real world will outflank you. It is more important to define the authority to determine when something is "Major", and to provide policy guidance to those people instead of rules.

There are three roles in this checklist: Major Incident Manager, Resolution Manager and Communications Manager.
The Major Incident Manager takes overall responsibility.
The Resolution Manager takes responsibility for finding a resolution,and is in charge of all Response Teams.
The Communications Manager takes responsibility for communicating with all stakeholders, and is the external face and point of contact for the Major Incident team.

Note: there is a role of Incident Manager in an organisation, who looks after the day-to-day incident process. The Incident Manager and the Major Incident Manager are often not the same person.

(if not, find an alternate Major Incident Manager)

After declaring a Major Incident, the next checklist is Resolve a Major Incident

Thanks to Braun Tacon for contributing to this checklist

To learn more about incident management, read the little 50-page book Basic Service Management.