Use Initiatives to align an action plan with goals and KPIs

Whether you are using BSC Designer for the monitoring of the important business processes or for tracking progress towards your business goals, the most important part anyway is an action.

One can have the best strategy in the world and have an excellent execution plan, but without an action nothing will happen; the value of a KPI will stay the same or will get worse.

  • Important strategic objectives and KPIs need to be accompanied with an action plan, which can vary from a simple “Keep an eye on this KPI and let me know if something goes wrong” to a complex action plan that involves many employees, budget and time planning. What is more important is that the action plan needs to be executed properly.

Various functions of initiatives in BSC Designer

Although BSC Designer focuses on business performance management, you will find there is some project management functionality that will help to keep your team focused on an action. In BSC Designer one can:

  • Assign a responsible employee to a KPI or business goals;
  • Link an external document with an action plan;
  • Make a simple or date-specific remark;
  • Setup sending automatic notifications to involved employees.

Adding an initiative

Initiative is a document, comment text or budget information. In BSC Designer a user can add an initiative to a KPI or to a business objective.

Adding an initiative for KPI

For KPI:

  1. Go to the KPIs tab
  2. Select any category or KPI
  3. Click “Initiatives” button

Adding an initiative for business goal

For business objective:

  1. Go to the Business Goals tab
  2. Select any business objective or create a new one
  3. Click “Initiatives” button on the tool bar

In the “Initiatives” dialog you can:

  • Choose one of the supported types of initiative;
  • Add details of an initiative to a Google Task or Google Calendar;
  • Manage items from the list of available initiatives.

Types of initiative

Types of initiative in BSC Designer

  • File – select a local file that you want to attach to the BSC project. That might be your action plan for that KPI or business objective.

Please note: BSC Designer won’t keep your document inside the project; it just keeps a link to it. If you delete or move source files, it will be unavailable in BSC Designer.

  • URL - Here you can add any link to a web page.

One of the best practices that our clients follow is saving an action plan to some web-based disk drive (for example, a Dropbox or Google Drive folder) and then adding a link to this file as an initiative in BSC Designer.

  • Comment - this is a simple text note. For instance, here a manager can assign an employee to be responsible for this KPI.
  • Remark - in the contrast to a “comment,” a remark is date specific.

For example in the beginning of the year the value of a KPI went down and the manager added a short remark for the January report with ideas for improvement. Then in June the manager saw the improvement and added another remark where he suggested a new action plan.

  • Budget and Duration are initiatives that include information about budget and time that is needed to release an action plan. They are similar to a plain text comment; the difference is that these values can be summarized for the all of the KPIs and business objectives in the project and in the “Initiatives report” a manager can see the big picture of budget and time needed.

Visualization of initiatives

BSC Designer uses a special icon to mark KPIs and business objectives that have an initiative attached. Here is how it appears next to the KPI on the KPIs tab:

Initiative icon next to KPI

Here is how it appears next to the business objective on the Business Goals tab:

Initiative icon next to business goal

On the Strategy Map the program shows the same icon if an initiative is attached to a business objective:

Visualize initiative on the strategy map

Double click on an initiative icon to view all the details of initiatives available for the KPI or the business objective.

Initiatives Report

In Reports menu you will find “Initiatives report,” “Last initiative report,” “and Budget and duration report.”

Reports for initiatives, action plan and budget in BSC Designer

  • With “Initiatives report” you can have an overview of all of the initiatives in your project.
  • “Last initiative report” will show you latest initiatives added in your project.
  • “Budget and duration report” will summarize time and budget information available for KPIs and Business Objectives.

These reports are HTML based so you can easily share them with your colleagues.

Notifications for initiatives

Starting in the version 7.0 BSC Designer supports alerts and notifications that help to inform managers and employees about important changes.

Setup notifications for initiatives

It is possible to setup a notification about new initiatives added to a KPI or a business objective. In this case a manager can add an action plan and the employee will be notified automatically about a new action plan that has been added. Once an employee does the job, he or she will be able to attach a report to the KPI using “Initiatives” and the manager will be notified as well.

To access mentioned functions:

  1. Go to “Alerts” tab
  2. Add a new alert
  3. For notification type select “Alert on new initiative added”
  4. Select in “Who will receive an alert” involved employees

Typical use cases

Let’s summarize some typical use cases for initiatives in BSC Designer:

  • Attaching an action plan with detailed instructions for your employee.
  • Adding a comment with information about an employee that is responsible for the KPI or business objective.
  • Adding a remark to show date-specific comments to your employees.
  • Adding an alert so that your employees get notified when a new initiative is added.
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