- How do Initiatives work on the Initiatives Workflow?
- How do Initiatives work on the Timeline Workflow?
1. What is an Initiative?
In Kanbanize, the Initiatives are Kanban items that visualize your Projects, epic stories, bigger tasks.
The initiatives have all card properties, but they do get created only at the Initiatives Workflow and on the Timeline Workflow.
The Initiatives behave differently compared to cards as their movement is automated. In general, they do provide an overview of all strategic projects and show progress over time.
Breaking down the Initiatives into simpler pieces of work is one of their main capabilities. This way you visualize the complex work and all its components on separate workflows.
Let's see it in action! This article provides a summary of the Initiatives' characteristics and demonstrates their behavior on the Initiatives Workflow and on the Timeline Workflow.
INITIATIVES on the INITIATIVES WORKFLOW:
There are several ways to create Initiatives. One of them is to right-click on the Initiatives workflow to create the item and to give it a name. As a next step, you have to break down the Initiative into smaller work items. Just drag the Initiative and drop it to Cards Workflow, then select "Create new child" from the "Linking options" panel. Viewed together your child cards will give you the concrete steps you need to execute in order to accomplish the Initiative. To be sure that you hold each member of your organization accountable for the execution process, assign ownership when a child card is created. Child cards typically have a deadline, requirements and action items (subtasks).
The Initiatives and its child cards are linked items. Each child card linked to the Initiatives is represented by a colored rectangle that holds details for the child card (on hover). There is no limitation on the number of child cards you can link to the Initiative.
How does Initiative automation work?
The initiatives are different from cards as they move through the workflow completely automatically.
An Initiative will move on its own to "In progress" when any of its child cards on the Cards Workflow move to the "In progress" section. When all child cards linked to the respective Initiative move to "Done, the Initiative will also move to "Done".
Similarly, if the initiative is completed but a child card is moved back from "Done" to "In Progress", the initiative will also be moved back.
There is a small exception to this behavior regarding the "Backlog" area - if an initiative has been automatically moved from the "Backlog" to the "Requested" area, moving back all its child cards from the "Requested" area into the "Backlog" will not automatically move back the initiative to the "Backlog".
This is an intended behavior and the idea is that if an initiative has already been moved to "Requested", it should not move backwards on the workflow.
Note: If an initiative does not have any linked child cards, it can be freely moved between all the sections of the workflow manually.
The Initiative Workflow visualizes all your projects and you can track their progress with a single glance.
To learn more about the Initiatives Workflow, please check the dedicated article.
INITIATIVES on the TIMELINE WORKFLOW
The Timeline Initiatives are visualized in a linear Calendar view. The Initiative shows duration (start & end date), progress as well as project delay. To create an Initiative, you have to right-click or double-click on the track area that corresponds to the desired date (check the short video below). This is the Planned Start Date of your Initiative (i.e April 8th). Type the Initiative name to create the item and click "Enter". Move the mouse over the Initiative right edge and click to drag the slider in order to adjust the Planned End date (i.e April 10th) to the Timeline. With these actions, you just create the Item. The child cards are still not linked to the Timeline initiative. You break down the Timeline Initiative similarly to the way you break down Initiatives on the Initiatives Workflow.
The Timeline Initiatives are bound to the calendar by a set of time-related properties that define the Planned Start and End dates against the Actual Start and End dates.
When you open the Timeline Initiatives, you will notice the Timeline fields.
- Planned Start Date vs Actual Start Date
- Planned End Date vs Actual End Date
The system automatically records the dates to precisely reflect the reality.
How does Timeline Initiative automation work?
Once the Timeline Initiative has been created, users can easily break it down. When a card linked to the Initiative goes to "In progress" before the Planned start date, the actual start of the Initiative will automatically adjust on-screen.
To learn more about the Timeline Workflow and how to manage it, please check the dedicated article.
2. Initiative characteristics
Forecast the duration of your Initiatives
The Forecast feature in Kanbanize is a unique addition to complete process management with accurate predictions in mind. Based on your historical data and past trends analysis, this functionality allows you to get reliable forecasts for your projects.
The feature works per Initiative. To see it in action, open a Team initiative, and go to the “Forecast” tab.
In order to obtain a forecast, you need to have at least one child card linked to the initiative. When the simulation starts, it will take all child cards of the initiative, it will find similar cards that were finished in the past and will run thousands of samples, trying to project the duration of the whole initiative. The result is visualized on a horizontal bar chart.
The graph provides four estimations: Optimistic, Realistic, Pessimistic, and Very Pessimistic, all measured in days.
To learn how does forecasting work, please check the dedicated article here.
In Kanbanize, you can create a comprehensive work breakdown structure and see the big picture across the entire organization. Built with scale in mind, the system helps you visualize the key initiatives in your company or department and break them down into multiple levels of hierarchical work items.
How does the system support that?
-> you can create a work breakdown structure between cards as well as cards and Initiatives that are located on the same board.
-> you can create a work breakdown structure between cards as well as cards and Initiatives that live on different boards. The easiest way would be to use the Related board feature that allows you to easily create and track linked cards between the current board ("X") and any other related boards. This helps to keep track of tasks across numerous departments.
-> you can create a work breakdown structure between Initiatives that live on different Initiatives Workflows. More or less this is a management approach. For example, the Initiative named "Q3" on the "CEO Board" might be a parent of the Initiatives: "Project 1" and "Project 2" on the Team Leaders boards. The Management Workspace fully supports this scenario, providing an option to create an overview of all initiatives across the organization in a hierarchical structure.
-> you can create a work breakdown structure between Timeline Initiative and Initiative on the Initiatives Workflows. For example: if you visualize your Week/Month/Quarter/Annual Initiatives on the Timeline calendar, you can link them to Initiatives that are at the Execution level (Initiatives Workflow) and track the progress of the big tasks only. You can easily follow the linked items in the hierarchy if you need more details.
Linked cards visualization
As mentioned above, each child card linked to the Initiatives is represented by a colored rectangle that holds details for the child card (on hover). The rectangles do provide more information than just this.
The color of the rectangle stands for the current card position in the Cards workflow:
- if the rectangle is Blue, the child card is in the "In Requested" column
- if the rectangle is Orange, the child card is in the "In progress" column
- if the rectangle is Green, the child card is in the "Done" column
With a single glance, you can get information about the child cards' status on the Cards Workflow.
Just click the rectangle to locate the card if it is on the same board and Double Click on it to open the card itself.
To easily locate linked cards from different boards, press the CTRL key when clicking the rectangle. A new tab opens up and the system automatically navigates you to the linked card location on the respective board.
Parent cards of Initiatives become visible too. They are always positioned first in the row and an upward arrow makes each parent card stand out.
Tracking project progress or your strategic company goals status is one of the most challenging activities for the management. Managers who succeed with this, help team members meet their goals and provides all stakeholders with the big picture. When teams stay on track they are more likely to respond quickly to change and spot early warning signs.
Each Initiative has a Progress Indicator bar that shows in percentage the completed work progress of the smaller tasks that outline the Initiative. When all child cards are moved to “Done” the Initiative will be 100% completed.
The calculation of the Initiative progress result (%) will include the number of all child cards as well as their size at the lowest level of the existing breakdown structure. This applies to even more complex hierarchical structures at all levels in the organization.
Let’s see how it works:
*Open the image in a new tab to get a closer view.
The Timeline initiative visualizes the company's Strategic Projects for Q2.
There are two major projects linked to it: Project A and Project B.
If we consider that when one of the projects ends, it will result in 50% completion of the strategic Timeline initiative, this would not be accurate.
The current progress status of the Timeline initiative upon completion of Project A is 17%.
Why is that? The scope and requirements for each project are different. Every project contains a certain number of tasks. However, each task may be sized differently.
Note: If cards are sized, the algorithm will use the value in the size field of the card for the progress measurement. If a card size is not set, the default value per card is counted as “1”.
If there is a delay, the system will color the Initiative's progress indicator in yellow or red (up to 19% delay, 20%+ delay respectively).
The status indicates if the progress of already started initiatives goes in accordance with the initial plan and also pinpoints progress delays. In a quick glimpse, you can see if completed initiatives are finished on time or with a delay.
When you link child cards to your initiative, you might get inconsistencies in terms of a deadline or total size of cards compared to that of the initiative. The Initiatives visualization immediately signals for such occurrences. Users will notice the exclamation mark on the Initiatives in two cases:
- If you have an initiative scheduled with a particular deadline; but one or more of its child cards deadline is set to end later.
- If the total size of your child cards at the lowest level in the hierarchy exceeds the size of the Initiative.
If any of the Initiative child cards becomes blocked, the Initiative card will reflect that too.
The team members should react as soon as possible in order to resolve the problem and eliminate obstacles towards Initiative completion. You can easily check the blocked reason from the Initiative itself and take action if the situation requires your involvement.
The Initiative Context menu
Right-click on an Initiative to open the Context menu that provides shortcuts to a variety of options.
You can easily change the Assignee, type, priority, etc.
Pay attention to the "Filter links hierarchy" functionality that works per board. Use the filter of an item to display all child cards and/or parent initiatives linked to it. This helps users to gain an insight into the item's relationships on the board. The feature filters all the child, parent, and grandparent cards in the existing hierarchy from grandparent cards at the highest level to child cards at the lowest level in the hierarchy.
- The Initiatives View
The Card Zoom Switch allows you to toggle to one of four different views of the cards and Initiatives on the board: Large, Normal, Compact, and Birds eye view.
- If the "Normal" or the "Large" view is selected, all cards linked to the Initiatives get displayed on a single row for a more compact appearance. All icons that correspond to the Initiative properties are visible right above.
When the linked cards are more than the allowed first-row space, you have to click the three dots icon to visualize the rest of the linked cards.
Double click the icon to visualize the linked cards of all Initiatives on the Board with a single action.
- With the "Large" view, the Initiative Title displays on a separate row and the icons that correspond to the item properties are visible right above for quick access.
Note: With this view, when the item has no Custom ID, the default system ID is displayed.
When you select the "Normal" view, the Title is positioned next to the progress indicator icon. If it is too long the initiative properties icons are hidden. The Card ID is no longer visible. In this way, the title stands out in a more compact view of the Initiatives.
- When you click either the "Tag" or "Size" icon on an Initiative, the corresponding values become visible right below the row of linked cards. Click the respective value, if you want to change it.
Change Parent Option
With this functionality, you can quickly change the parent Initiative of a card.
Go to the original parent Initiative and right-click the rectangle that represents the child card you want to transfer.
Select "Change Parent" and start typing the Title or ID of the Initiative you want to move the card to. The child card will shift over to its new parent and the change will become visible instantly.
Alternatively, drag the child card rectangle to the new initiative and a menu will pop up with the options to:
- change the parent (destroys the previous link and creates a new one)
- change parent and keep settings (destroys the previous link and creates a new one)
- link as child (keeps the existing link and creates an additional one)
- link as child and keep settings (keeps the existing link and creates an additional one)
After you select the desired option, the new link will become visible instantly.