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7. Initiatives and Action items

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 Scorecard 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 side panel.

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When at least one Initiative is active, the Initiatives page will display All ongoing Initiatives at your organization and a high-level overview of each one, including its description, the Scorecard it's associated with, and its deadline. You also have the option to show or hide expired Initiatives using the toggle on the left-hand side.

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Creating an initiative

To create a new Initiative, select Create Initiative next to the search bar.

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Because Initiatives are designed to motivate progress for a specific Scorecard, the first stage is selecting the Scorecard you'd like to create an Initiative for.


At the top of the creation page, add the Initiative’s name, an optional 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 as clear as possible.

The Achieve by target date is what Cortex will use to determine the notification sequence for reminding users of upcoming deadlines. This deadline will also be reflected within the All Initiatives page and in Action items.

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The Priorities section is where you'll define goals for the Initiative. Here, you'll decide whether the Initiative will be based on a Scorecard's level progression or individual rules.

To satisfy a Ladder levels-based Initiative, owners must meet all of the rules for a level. This is a good option if your goal is to bump all entities up to a similar level on your ladder. For example, to get all entities into basic production-ready state, you might use a ladder-based Initiative to get PagerDuty and runbooks set up for every entity by the end of the quarter.

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The level options that appear in the dropdown will depend on the specific levels you've set up for the selected Scorecard.

Scorecard rules-based Initiatives 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, if your entities are largely in a production-ready state already, you might only need PagerDuty to be set up for some of your entities.

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The options that appear in the dropdown for Scorecard rules are the same rules for the Scorecard that the Initiative is based on.


Just like when building a Scorecard, you have the option to set filters and refine your Initiative. By default, an Initiative will apply to all entities being evaluated by a given Scorecard. At this stage, you can decide whether to target specific groups of entities.

You can use Basic filtering to select groups from the include and/or exclude dropdown menus. By selecting at least one group, you're including all entities in that group and excluding entities in groups that are not in the filter.

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You can use Advanced filtering to write a custom CQL query to include/exclude entities.

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Progress notifications

You also have the option to enable progress notifications for your Initiative. These recurring notifications will go out to any users who own an entity impacted by the Initiative.

Toggle on Enable notifications and set a notification cadence by day, week, or month to enable progress notifications for your Initiative.

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If you have email notifications enabled, you can also designate one or more reply-to email addresses.

Progress notifications can enhance both short-term and long-term Initiatives. For example, Initiative owners can set daily progress notifications for short-term Initiatives so team members have clear goals each day for completing time-sensitive action items. Owners can set biweekly or monthly progress notifications for an ongoing, long-term Initiative so team members continue to make progress on action items over time.

Saving your initiative

Once you've entered and confirmed all relevant details, select Save Initiative.

The moment you create an Initiative, all of the owners with outstanding action items will be notified by Cortex. Users who own an entity 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.

The Initiative you just created will also appear on the Initiatives page. You can navigate into any Initiative to make edits or view more details, including a high-level overview of progress and a detailed view of each entity's progress and outstanding action items.

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By default, this page will open to the Failing tab, where you can see each entity's progress in the Initiative. The progress bars on the right will show you how many rules out of the total each entity is passing, and below the entity name, you can see the specific rules that the entity is failing.

Once entities have completed all action items, they'll appear under Passing.

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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.

Action items

You can find all outstanding tasks for Initiatives related to entities you own on the Developer homepage under the Action items tab.

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Action items lays out each outstanding rule or task, as well as the Scorecard and entity 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 Scorecards and Initiatives.

By toggling Group by entity, you can view the outstanding items for each entity. This can give you a clearer view of how much needs to be done to get each entity up to standards, giving developers an easy target for improvements.

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