How to Write a Run Book


Runbooks are used most often in information technology departments, and are a reference for computer system administrators. Runbooks are typically compiled by top management supervisors and generally include information in a decision-tree format, outlining every possible scenario.

Compile information about the data center. Include contact information about each database administrator, the building facilities, vendors and utility companies. Include details about the hardware and software components within the data center. This information needs to be current in order to decrease downtime should there be a system breakdown.

Develop procedural information for every anticipated situation that could occur. Procedure should include general operational tasks, security tasks, system administration tasks, monitoring tasks, data collections tasks, troubleshooting tasks and emergency tasks.

Organize procedural information in a decision-tree format. This format outlines each possible outcome for any situation. This allows the reader to follow the chart to find the specific answer for the task at hand. Runbooks can be printed as a hard copy or a computer document; since the runbook will require continual updates, a computer document can be advantageous.