Scorecards are a great way to organize team members and set goals, but they’re also designed to be aspirational, rather than the drivers of day-to-day actions. While scorecards will show you progress over time, initiatives can help you coordinate your team members, prioritize tasks, and ensure that everyone is adhering to the same standards.
Initiatives allow you to prioritize specific rules within a scorecard and set deadlines for team members to accomplish the tasks at hand. Cortex will notify owners and team members when deadlines are approaching, so once you set up an initiative, everything else is handled for you.
For example, your scorecards may have a rule that measures whether each service has on-call rotation with at least 2 escalation levels set up through your integration with Pagerduty. To make sure that all services actually have active on-call rotations within 30 days, you'd use an initiative to make that goal clear to everyone involved.
You can find initiatives under scorecards in the navigation bar.
The initiatives page will display All ongoing initiatives at your organization, a high-level overview of all your organization's initiatives, including each initiative's description, the scorecard it is associated with, and its deadline. You also have the option to show or hide expired initiatives using the toggle on the left-hand side.
You can navigate into any initiative to view more details, including a high-level overview of progress and a detailed view of each entity's progress and outstanding action items.
Once services have completed all action items, they'll appear under Passing.
Initiatives offer an excellent way to provide a streamlined view into the most critical tasks, improving not just the efficiency of your team members, but the accountability of your teams as well.
My Action Items
My Action Items presents Cortex users with a list of all outstanding tasks and failing scorecard rules associated with services owned by that user. You can access My Action Items from the navigation bar — this will take you directly to the Action Items tab on your homepage.
My Action Items lays out each outstanding rule or task, as well as the scorecard and service it's associated with. Action items will be displayed according to priority level by default. Tasks with deadlines are sourced from initiatives; those without deadlines are sourced from failing scorecard rules.
You can sort action items by priority, name, source, or rule.
You can also filter by group, scorecards, and initiatives.
By toggling Group by entity, you can view your action items grouped by each service or resource. This provides a clear view of all outstanding tasks for each service or resource, allowing developers to easily target specific entities for improvement.
Creating an initiative
To create a new Initiative, select Create Initiative. Because initiatives are designed to motivate progress for a specific scorecard, the first stage is selecting the scorecard you'd like to work from.
You’ll then add the initiative’s name, its description, and a deadline for the project. Keep in mind that your initiative will be visible to the entire organization, so you want to make the goal of your initiative as clear as possible.
The Achieve by date is what Cortex will use to determine the notification sequence. This deadline will also be reflected within My Action Items. Once you've entered this information, you'll decide whether your initiative will be based on scorecard rules or ladder levels.
Initiatives based on ladders allow you to prioritize tiers of scorecard rules. To satisfy a ladder-based initiative, owners must meet all of the rules for a level. This is a good option if your goal is to bump all services or resources up to a similar level on your ladder. For example, to get all services into basic production-ready state, you might use a ladder-based initiative to get Pagerduty and runbooks set up for every service by the end of the quarter.
Initiatives based on scorecard rules allow you to focus on specific rules, which is a better option if you have targeted goals that your team needs to achieve. For example, you might only need Pagerduty to be set up for all of your services.
Just like when building a scorecard, the final step is filtering. By default, an initiative will apply to any services or resources affected by the chosen scorecard. At this stage, you can decide whether to target specific subsets of services or resources within the scorecard.
Once you’ve confirmed the initiative's details on the preview page, select Save Initiative. The moment you create an initiative, all of the owners with outstanding action items will be notified by Cortex.
Individuals who own a service or resource that's already met the rule or achieved the action item will not be notified. Those who own multiple entities will receive a notification outlining any entities with an outstanding action item.