Are we on target to achieve our strategic initiatives?

How to leverage tools and techniques for real-time forecasts

Image source: procured via iStock photos

Wouldn’t it be great if you could push a button and get realistic schedules based on actual team progress?

Before we begin

  1. If you want to know how to create strategic initiatives, visit The website explains the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and that execution is everything.
  2. Although there are many project management software programs, no tool is perfect. For this post, I’ll be using Atlassian’s Jira [1] and Portfolio for Jira [2]. Jira helps manage work, and Portfolio uses Jira tickets and corresponding ticket details to create a realistic schedule.
  3. The forecasting topics I’ll be covering in this post are based on the Agile Scrum framework with two-week Sprints. If you want to know how to achieve this for Kanban teams, you may send me a request for a new post.

Other things to consider

  • Did we break down each initiative into projects?
  • Did we break down each project into tickets?
  • Are we overloading our teams?
  • Are there any cross-functional dependencies?
  • What happens if we add a project or remove a project?
  • What happens if we update team members?
  • What happens if we want to expedite a project?

Purpose of this post

  1. how to set up Jira so you can organize and manage your work,
  2. how to set up a Portfolio plan so you get an accurate view for planning, and
  3. how to use a Portfolio plan to get real-time updates.

How to set up Jira

Issue Types

  • Initiative: An initiative is a very large body of work that spans multiple projects (epics) and can take multiple quarters.
  • Epic: An epic (project) is a large body of work that can be broken down into several smaller tickets. The scope of an epic should be addressed within a few months.
  • Story: A story is a requirement that expresses user needs. The scope of a story should be addressed within a single Sprint.
  • Task: A task represents a technical activity, such as design a diagram, code a functionality, test a device, or prepare a dataset. The scope of a task should be addressed within a single Sprint.
  • Spike (optional): A spike is a research story that is used to investigate and figure out answers to tough technical or design problems.
  • Bug: A bug is a problem that impairs or prevents the functions of a product.
  • Sub-task (optional): A sub-task is similar to a task. A story, task, spike, or bug can be broken down further into digestible workloads.


  1. We may assume a project is complete when, in fact, we forgot to link some tickets or linked them to the wrong project.
  2. We may find unlinked/orphaned tickets and not know which project or initiative they belong to.



Required Fields

  1. Version: Assign the ticket to a version if it has to go out in a specific release. This is called Releases in Portfolio. You can add dates to Releases and check if you’re on target in Portfolio.
  2. Team: Assign the ticket to a Portfolio team. I’ll cover this when we discuss velocity under Portfolio management.
  3. Estimate: Add story points to the ticket to indicate how much effort it will require.
  4. Assignee: Assign the ticket to a team member if you know for sure that the team member is the only person who can work on it. If any team member can work on it, leave it empty.
  5. Sprint: Slot the ticket in a Sprint only if you know that ticket has to be completed in that Sprint. Otherwise, leave it empty.

Create a Shared Team

Set Up a Scrum Board

How to set up a Portfolio plan

  1. Are you creating a plan for a team who will have visibility only for their projects?
  2. Are you creating a plan for a product manager who will have visibility for all the projects for their product, regardless of how many teams are involved?
  3. Are you creating a plan for a program manager who will be able to track various initiatives and projects, regardless of how many products or teams are involved?

Create a Plan

  1. Name: Enter a name for your plan.
  2. Board: Choose one or more boards. Depending on the plan type, you may pull in multiple boards.
  3. Releases: Choose one or more releases.
  4. Team: Portfolio will automatically create a new team. You’ll have to update this later.
  5. Scope: Choose the initiatives and projects you want to view in your plan.





How to get real-time updates

Add or remove a project

Update team members

Green or Red Indicator



About the Author



Advisor, Speaker, Writer //

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