Initiatives

What is an initiative?

An Initiative is a high-level project or effort that aligns with an organization’s strategic goals. Initiatives represent a larger goal or objective that requires coordinated effort across teams to achieve and are often made up of multiple outcomes.

Initiative Detail Page

You can view and manage all information connected to an Initiative in Kiplot on the Initiative detail page. The Initiative detail page can be accessed by clicking into an Initiative from:

  • the Initiative List (found on the left hand navigation bar)
  • the Initiative Roadmap
  • the Portfolio Kanban Board

The most important information such as the name, description, type and owner can be found at the top of the page. Other information is organised in the tabs below this. Click on a tab to view the detailed information relating to the header.

Initiative Detail Page, showing delivery information tab

In addition to basic properties custom fields can be configured for Initiatives in the configuration. All custom fields display on the information tab of an initiative.

Sharing an Initiative

By default, users have a role assigned that determines the access level. A “Full Access” User can view and edit all initiatives, however a “Member” User can only view all initiatives by default. Sharing an initiative allows users without “Full Access” to view or edit the Initiative.

There are three permission levels when sharing:

  1. Can view – User can view initiative information for the initiative but not edit it
  2. Can edit – User can view and edit initiative information
  3. Can share – User can view and edit initiative information and share the initiative with other users

To share an initiative:

  • On the initiative detail page click on the share button in the top right of the page
  • Click “Add User”
  • Type to select the user and select the access level
  • Click add

Updating access to an Initiative

  • On the initiative detail page click on the share button in the top right of the page
  • Find the user in the list
  • Select the new access level
  • Updates are automatically saved
  • To remove a User’s access, click the bin-icon on the right of the row

Adding Key Dates to an Initiative

Kiplot allows you to assign Key Dates to an Initiative in order to track or record important dates and events. Common examples of Key Dates are dates that indicate releases, major milestones or deadlines. Unlike Outcomes, which have start and end dates, Key Dates are a single date as they have no work associated with them.

  • On the Initiative detail page, navigate to the Delivery Tab
  • On the Key Dates section click “Add new key date”
  • Fill out required Name and Date, and optionally the Type
  • Click Add

Editing a Key Date

  • Simply click into any of the fields and make your changes
  • Updates are saved automatically
  • Click on the bin icon to the right of the Key Date

Adding a dependent Outcome to a Key Date

Key Dates can be dependent on Outcomes. Simply add the Outcome(s) to the ‘Dependencies’ field against each Key Date. Once you’ve added a dependency, a status is automatically calculated to highlight whether the Key Dates are on or off track.

Key Date Status:

  • On Track (Green): end dates of all dependent outcomes are before the key date
  • Off Track (Red): end dates for one or more of the dependent outcomes are after the key date
  • No Status (Grey): Key Date has no dependencies
Key dates section on the initiative detail page

Viewing Key Dates on the Initiative Roadmap

If an Initiative has Key Dates added to it, they will appear on the Initiative Roadmap when the Initiative is expanded.

The Key Date is rendered with an icon representing the type and is colored based on the RAG Status. When a key date has dependencies defined, the dependency status is shown as a healthy or broken link.

Find out more about the managing Initiatives in the Initiative Roadmap section.

Delivery updates

Delivery updates are used by initiative owners to provide qualitative status updates on the health and progress of an initiative.

⚙️ The available delivery update fields are managed in the configuration page. By default, a RAG Status field and Executive Summary text field are available.

There are 2 types of delivery update fields:

  • Status (RAG) fields: Dropdown fields with RAG status values to record overall or scoped RAG statuses
  • Update (Text) fields: Large text fields to record qualitative updates such as executive summaries or next steps

Changes to delivery update fields are saved and history is kept. This can be used in reports to compare the difference between points in time.

❗ Only one value per delivery update field is saved per day. If there are multiple changes to a delivery update field on the same day, only the last change is available in the history.

Delivery updates section on the initiative detail page

Adding Outcomes to an Initiative

  • On the Initiative detail page, navigate to the delivery tab
  • On the Outcomes section, click “Add new Outcome” or “Add existing Outcome”
  • Fill out required Name, and optionally the Team and Type or simply search for the Outcome that already exists
  • Click Add

Outcomes that are connected to an Initiative are shown in the Initiative detail page, under the Delivery tab. Outcomes are categorised by the team assigned to it. Each outcome has a dedicated detail page that can be accessed by clicking the name of the outcome in the table.

Outcomes section on the initiative detail page

Updating outcome information

To view detailed and/or edit all information for an Outcome click the Outcome name to navigate to the Outcome detail page. Type, Status, Start and End Date fields can be updated directly.

On an Outcome row in the table click the 3-dots button on the left of the row to:

  • Unlink the Outcome from the initiative
  • Change the Outcome team
  • Archive the Outcome

For more information on Outcomes and how to configure them, refer to our guide on Outcomes.

Dependencies

Please refer to our guide on Outcomes for information on how to set up dependencies on Outcomes under an initiative.

Adding Estimates to an Initiative

Estimates on Initiatives are typically used to provide a high-level estimate on a strategic level. This estimate can be used to make decisions on Priority and Lifecycle Stage. When the Initiative is delivered the work is usually broken down in outcomes and more refined estimates are added to the outcomes.

  • On the Initiative Detail page, navigate to the Delivery Tab
  • On the Estimates section click “Add estimate”
  • Fill out required Effort
  • Click Add

Any updates made to Estimates are saved automatically. To delete an Estimate, simply click on the bin icon to the very right of the Estimate.

Estimates section on the initiative detail page

Value forecast

Initiatives are connected to strategy through Value Forecasts. The value forecast is the measurable benefit the initiative is expected to deliver. You can find more information about Value Forecasts in the dedicated Value Forecasts section.

Risks & Issues Management

Kiplot is used to track and manage Risks & Issues associated with the initiative. Read more about Risks & Issues in Kiplot.

Initiatives in APM & LPM

Initiatives in lean portfolio management (LPM) are typically configured as epics, with outcomes being configured as features (to match the standard SAFe issue hierarchy). Remember that Kiplot concepts are all renamable as part of the terminology feature which is managed as part of configuration.

Agile portfolio management (i.e. an agile approach to portfolio management that is less strict about adherence to SAFe) would typically refer to an outcome as an Epic. The epic would typically roll up to an initiative (i.e. adhering to the out of the box Kiplot terminology).

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