100% agreed. Nothing is more infuriating than working though a crisis only to have people recommend the “troubleshooting 101” options, complain about how they knew this was coming but people did nothing (that’s what retrospectives are for), or provide no real useful information. This kind of behavior is even more present in poorly implemented SOA platforms where my Alice’s service breaking can cause errors in Bob’s application.
Staying quiet and backing out was a personal struggle for awhile. After working for a number of fast and cheap startups my mind was trained to jump in and try to be the hero anytime something went down. Now that I work for a larger company I have learned this is often counter-productive. Offer to help if your services are requested, stay quiet, monitor the situation as it progresses, and keep working on whatever you were working on before. As long as the on-call or responsible parties know help is available if necessary they will message you if your services are requested.
Now I’m thinking how “Outage Educate and Empathy” may be a good title for a talk. :)