Runbook Best Practice Guide

Best practises on creating your first few runbooks in the Cutover platform

Ellen Wang avatar
Written by Ellen Wang
Updated over a week ago

The document will provide you with best practises on creating your first few runbooks in the Cutover platform. We will highlight some key features and important notes to look out for and a check list at the end.

If you have any questions, please reach out to our support team, or refer to the Cutover In-App Help Centre articles via the “?”.

Before You Start Creating Runbooks

Things to check:

Workspaces: Check that you are in the right workspace. This is the space to collaborate with all project teams. You can have all your projects under one workspace. This helps with centralizing all resources under one workspace for the ease of governance, visibility and control.

Folders within workspace can be use to organise runbooks into project phase, department or other categorisation you see fit.

Things to Think about: Do you have any other projects/use case going on that you do not want the runbooks to be visible to certain members and it’s not related?

Making sure your teams have the right access:

Defining Cutover Roles and Permission:

Make sure that your teams have the right access to the right roles so they can access and perform the tasks they need to do in Cutover. Please see the roles and permission article.

Creating Runbooks

Key features and terminologies:


A Runbook is constructed by series of tasks and tasks can have different attributes and behaviour depending your preference.

If you are running a project with long implementation timeframe, you might like to have series of runbooks for different part of the implementation phases. Instead of just one large runbooks.

  1. Plan

  2. Execute

  3. Control and Governance

  4. Go Live

Each of the key phases can be a folder in a Workspace with runbooks outlining separate activities within each phase.


Tasks is the more granular details you would like to track and action within the Runbook. They have different attributes and behaviours depending on your requirements. There are a few key tasks related best practices.

Tasks Types:

See table below for the correct use of task types, and it’s requirements during a run

Task Icon

Task Type Name

Clicks to Complete

Task Type Description



A Normal task has a duration. Users start the task with a single click, execute activity, and then complete the task with a single click.



A Milestone has zero duration, and is typically used to capture key milestones in your plan. Milestones show up in the runbook dashboard.



A Checklist task includes a due date and has zero duration, it is therefore typically used to capture activity such as check-list items you complete before embarking on the core activity of the runbook.



A Validation task requires a response from the user upon completion that is recorded and enables a result to be captured ie: Pass, Fail, Not Tested, with optional commentary.

Users start the task with a single click, execute activity, and then complete the task with a single click.



An SMS task has zero duration and can be completed with a single click.

When a user has been assigned to an SMS task as a recipient, a message of up to 1600 characters can be created and sent during a run.



An Email task can be completed with a single click.

When a user, or team, have been assigned to an Email task as a recipient, a formatted message can be created and sent., Recipients and content are set in the task edit panel, by clicking "Settings".



A Call task has zero duration and requires the user to click to start and another click to complete.

When a user has been assigned to a Call task as a recipient, a formatted message can be created and spoken over a telephone call.



A linked task type enables you to link runbooks to a parent runbook.

When a linked task type is added to a runbook, it is linked to a template that is then converted to a linked runbook. These runbooks cannot begin until given the command to start from the parent runbook.


Dependencies are critical in Cutover runbooks to ensure the timing and the flow of your processes are in order, therefore mapping out the correct predecessors are crucial in successful runbook planning and execution.

If you want to perform a set of four tasks at the same time, it means that the four tasks will have the same predecessors. Once the predecessors completes, all four tasks will be ready to start. This makes your plan much more dynamic and efficient, it automatically unlock the tasks rather than having to be governed by single user.

*Tasks without any dependencies leads to all tasks becoming startable by assignees as soon as the runbook starts.


Planned duration is required for Normal and Validation tasks.

Cutover runbooks automatically calculate forecast time/date based on the durations of your tasks. If you are used to setting a start and end date/time for your tasks and they are not required to start at a certain time but more reverent to its predecessors being completed, the easiest way is to set the expected duration of the tasks instead and Cutover will automatically calculate the forecast start/end date and time.

Fixed Start Time and Due date:

Having a fixed start or due date defined for a task does not mean the task can start before its predecessors have completed. This task will become startable once its predecessors have competed but if it has a fixed start time, it will be “locked” until the fixed start time has been met.

  • Fixed Start Time will affect the predicted completion time of the runbook.

  • Tasks with due date and no duration (e.g Checklist task) will not affect the forecast runbook end timing.


The timing of the Cutover runbooks depends on a few factor mentioned above; task dependancies, tasks durations and if/not “fixed start time” is used.

Cutover will automatically calculate when a tasks is forecast to start based on it’s dependancies + durations given so you do not have to work out the start and end time.

If you have tasks that you have a very specific time/date that it must adhere by, ‘fixed start’ time is available so that the tasks can ONLY be started by the assignee after the specified time has been met. Runbook Admin can override if needed.

Cutover platform runs on a 24hr time/duration. Therefore if your plan crosses the weekend for example, you should be taking that into consideration when planning the duration.


Stream is a way of grouping your tasks, this could be by stages of your plan e.g (pre-check, approval, go-live, post go-live check…etc).

Make sure that your streams makes sense to anyone else that is viewing the runbooks.

Users & Teams:

Only users who are assigned to a runbook (as a Runbook Admin, Stream Editor, or Team Member) can access that runbook. If a user does not have a role at the workspace level, they cannot be added to any teams.

To see in details on how to assign users and teams and manage your users in your Runbook, please refer to the articles below:


Use the summary checklist below to see if you have anything missing in your runbook.

Key Features


Runbook admins

Make sure that you have added all the runbook admins in “Runbook Details” so that they can edit the runbooks and orchestrate the event.

Users and Teams

Make sure that you have all the users and teams in your Runbook that are participating in the event. Check that All your tasks has been assigned to users and teams.

Runbook type
Dynamic or Non-Dynamic

Do you need to edit the runbook on the fly during the event/go live? If so, dynamic runbook would be the suggested runbook type to use. Otherwise, your runbook admins will have to pause to edit the runbooks.

Runbook start date & time

If you know when the Runbook should be executed, make sure that you add the schedule start date and time so you can review the rest of the task timing


Check that the right tasks are assigned to the right streams. Easiest way is to tick checkbox of each individual stream name and see the list of filtered tasks.

Task Type

make sure that you are using the right task type. i.e Do you need to record the duration of this task during the event? If so, make sure you are using tasks that offers the duration option like normal or validation.


Switch over to nodemap views & see if the flow of your Runbook makes sense to you. If you see any tasks that is “floating” and without predecessors or successors, double check if that is intentional.


Tasks that has the correct expected duration assigned, the easiest way is to check the right hand side of your tasks the number in grey will show you the planned duration.

Double check your runbook timing (top right hand side, to see that the total runbook duration is what you would expect)

Fixed Start and Due date

If you have tasks that absolutely cannot be executed before a certain date and time, make sure that they have a Fixed start time (F) on the left of the task title.

If you are seeing tasks with Fixed Start Time but it can be executed as soon as the predecessors completes, remove the fixed start time.

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