What are Outcomes?
The Outcomes feature allows you to implement the OKR framework or track goals in general, regardless of the actual approach. Historically, Kanbanize has been a valuable tool to help you track the progress of work. Now we make it possible to also track whether this work brings you the results you were planning to get.
Mapping the OKR Terminology to Kanbanize
Objectives = Initiatives
Surprisingly or not, we've always had the notion of Objectives in Kanbanize. These are the initiatives that you know so well. So, if you want to create an objective, just create an initiative.
Key Results = Outcomes
If we assume that a given initiative represents an objective, you can think of the Outcomes as its key results. All outcomes live under a new section at the top of the initiative details, labeled “Define desired measurable outcomes”.
How to create an Outcome?
- an outcome must always be attached to a custom field of type Number
- the current value of the outcome is the same as the value of the custom field
- changing the current value will change the value of the custom field and vice versa
In order to create an Outcome, select the desired initiative and open up the Outcomes window by clicking on the area just below the menu, pictured in the image below.
The following modal window will show up:
Go through the fields 1 - 7 and fill in the corresponding data:
(1) Create a new outcome by selecting an existing Custom field (that is of the type Number) or creating a new Custom field.
(2) Set Current Value - the value of the outcome at this specific moment in time. Setting the current value of an outcome is equivalent to setting the value of the corresponding custom field.
(3) Write down a summary of the Outcome in the corresponding field in order to outline the goal more specifically.
(4) Starting Value - the value that the outcome starts out with (0% complete). This is the value that the progress of the Outcome is measured against.
(5) Target Value - the value of the outcome that you want to achieve and by reaching it, you would consider the Outcome fulfilled.
(6) Operator - this field has 2 possible values - or more/or less. This operator defines if your desired result should go above or below the Target Value.
(7) Weight - this value indicates how important this outcome is in relation to the other outcomes in the initiative (if any). Note that the weight is not a percentage. It's just a number, which will be compared relatively to the rest of the weight parameters (in the case of multiple outcomes per initiative).
Important: The progress of the outcome is calculated by comparing the Current Value field with the Starting Value and the Target Value. The possible values are between 0% and 999%.
The Outcome Options
Closed Initiative Outcome Options
You can open a visualization of the Outcomes of an Initiative by clicking on the target icon in the top-right corner. Furthermore, from this window, you can filter the board by each Outcome to visualize only other initiatives with the same outcome.
Open Initiative Outcome Options
Once you have saved an Outcome, you can access the following functions from the three dots menu on the right side - (1) History, (2) Edit, (3) Values and (4) Delete.
(1) History - all the changes made to the Outcome, such as the time created, current value changes, etc., are logged and displayed in this window.
(2) Edit - allows you to edit all outcome properties, besides the initially selected custom field.
(3) Values - this function allows you to add/edit/delete historical data for the outcome’s values. This can be used for correcting wrong entries and creating historical data for the outcome.
Important: the timezone used for entering values for the Outcomes is the one configured in the Kanbanize account, as opposed to the one configured on the individual user's operating system. If those timezones are different, there may be an error where an Outcome Value may fail to be saved because it is "in the future" according to the timezone in Kanbanize.
(4) Delete - by clicking this option you can permanently delete the Outcome.
Note: you have to update the initiative details/save changes to delete the Outcome successfully. If you choose not to do so, the Outcome will not be deleted.
How to Update the Current Value of an Outcome?
Important: The Current Value of Outcomes is directly tied to the value of the Custom field that it tracks. Each change in the value is recorded and used to create the trends chart.
Updating the Current Value
To update the current value of any outcome, do one of the following (the two actions are identical):
Click on the value itself and type in the new value:
Update the corresponding custom field:
Note: updating the outcome's value will update the corresponding custom field and vice versa.
Note: You have to update the card in order for these changes to be saved and in order for the Outcome tracker icon and the corresponding Custom Field to be changed.
Types of Outcomes and corresponding OKR examples
There are 4 general types of Outcomes:
“Decrease” Outcomes, where the Target Value is lower than the Starting Value and the operator is "or less".
For Example: Decrease Cost per lead from 5$ starting value to 3.5$ target value (currently 4.9$ current value)
“Keep Below” Outcomes, where the Target Value is higher than the Starting Value and the operator is "or less". Note: this type of Outcome has only 2 states -true (100%) or false (0%).
For example: Starting from 4.5% starting value, keep Churn Rate below 5% target value (currently 4.9% current value)
“Increase” Outcomes, where the Target Value is higher than the Starting Value and the operator is "or more".
For Example: Increase MMR from 2.5k$ starting value to 4k$ target value (currently 2.7k$ current value)
“Keep Above” Outcomes, where the Target Value is smaller than the Starting Value and the operator is "or more". Note: this type of Outcome has only 2 states -true (100%) or false (0%).
For Example: Starting from 58 starting value, keep NPS above 50 target value (currently 48 current value)
What do the Outcome colors indicate?
Important: If you add a deadline to your initiative, the predictions for the completion of the outcomes will be calculated with the deadline in mind. Additionally, adding a deadline to your initiative will enable the colors on the outcome tracker, which will indicate if you are on target with the outcome progress or not.
Outcomes only get colored when the initiative they are a part of has a Deadline or Planned End Date and has been started (moved to the “In Progress” section i.e.: has an (Actual) Start Date).
Deep Green - the Outcome is over 90% fulfilled. (regardless of the Deadline or Planned End Date of the initiative)
Light Green - the Outcome is between 70% and 90% fulfilled (regardless of the Deadline or Planned End Date of the initiative)
Red - the Deadline/Planned End Date has been exceeded and the outcome is less than 70% fulfilled.
Alternatively, when the difference between the expected progress based on the Deadline/Planned End Date and the actual progress of the outcome is larger than 15%, the Outcome tracker will be colored red as well.
Orange - the outcome is less than 70% fulfilled and the difference between the expected progress (based on the Deadline/Planned End Date) and the actual progress of the outcome is smaller than 15%.
Grey/No color - the initiative either does not have a deadline, there is no Current Value or the initiative hasn’t been started/has not entered the “In Progress” section.
Note: while the above are the general guidelines for the way the Outcome Tracker uses color to display the progress of the Outcome, the following things can affect the calculations behind it as well:
- Historical Current Values entered before the Initiative was created/before it entered the “In Progress” section (or was started for Timeline Initiatives)
- When the first Current Value is added to the initiative after its Start Date.
For E.g. the initiative has been started but the first Current Value is added 1 week after the start date. The projection and Outcome Tracker calculations will be calculated based on the time this first Current Value was added, instead of the start date of the initiative.
You can access an Outcome Trends graph by clicking on the Outcome tracker.
There are 4 possible lines on this Trend graph that can be visualized in different scenarios:
- Actual - this is the line that visualizes all values of the outcome through time. It is always present if you have at least one value that has been added to the Outcome.
Note: The data for this line is accumulated daily and in case there are two values recorded on the same day, the one recorded later in the day will be displayed. If no value has been added on a particular day, the value from the previous day is used.
- Projection until Deadline - this is a projection of the outcome progress and the expected outcome value up until and on the deadline of the initiative.
- Projection until Planned End Date - this is a projection of the outcome progress and the expected outcome value up until and on the Planned End Date of the initiative.
- Projection until Target Value - this is a projection about how much time it would take for the Outcome to reach the Target Value
- 30-day projection - if there is no set Deadline or Planned End Date on the initiative, you can select this to see a 30-day projection of the Outcome value.
There may be no projection available in this window in the following cases:
- If the Outcome doesn’t have a Current Value.
- If the Initiative has been finished.
The projection line is calculated using the Least Squares method (the same that Excel uses when you extend a numeric row). This method does not account for seasonality in the data.
Outcomes and Templates
If you happen to have a repeatable process, where your goals are always the same, you could save yourself some additional clicks by embedding the outcomes in a template.
When creating a new initiative, just pick the template that was preconfigured with the outcomes and they will be added to the initiative automatically: