Manage capabilities

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With the capabilities page, you can manage your capabilities at a central location. You can select which columns to display using the Columns Shown option. To sort the capabilities, click the column heading.

Note: Only fields that are set as Active in Details Panels Settings are available for selection as columns on the page.

Details

To view or edit the capability details, click its name in the grid. The following fields are available:

  • State indicates where in the development process the capability is. If the Map Process Steps to States option on a process flow is enabled, then when you set a state and save the capability, the process step will be changed based on its association with the capability’s state. If you select the state with no process step mapped, the process step will be changed to the last process step of the previous state (for all states except for the first one in the list) or the first process step of the second state (for the first state in the list).
  • Process Step is a part of a developmental process flow and is used to provide a continuous flow of value through the agile process. The field will display the process flow from the primary program associated with the epic. Select the + Show More Process Flows link to display process steps associated with additional programs. If the Map Process Steps to States option on a process flow is enabled, then when you set a process step and save the capability, the state will be changed based on its association with the process step.
  • Type is used to indicate the type of requirement, for example, business, architecture, enabler (for non-architectural capabilities used to support upcoming business requirements), or non-functional. This serves as a way for specialized resources to easily see items they should be focusing on.
  • MVP drop-down menu requires selecting whether the capability is a part of the minimal marketable feature. This option is critical for optimal flow and impact.
  • Contained In shows the parent epic of the capability. Clicking the epic opens its slide-out details panel.
  • Primary Program is responsible for the delivery of the capability. Only the programs listed on the parent epic are available for selection. Click the green plus sign to add additional programs to the capability.
    Note: If you’re using the Azure DevOps connector, the primary program assignment is locked in Jira Align after it's been set for an item and synced. To change the program assignment in Jira Align after the capability has been synced, you'll need to change the area path assignment on the Azure DevOps item.
  • Additional Programs help to manage capabilities through multiple programs. Only the programs listed on the parent epic are available for selection.
    Note: If the Primary or Additional Programs are changed, and one or more program increments assigned are outside those programs, you’ll receive a notification prompting you to change the PI assignments.
  • Owner is the person ultimately responsible for the end delivery of the capability.
  • Parent Epic is an epic the capability is associated with. If the parent epic has multiple programs associated with it, you can add a capability to that parent epic and choose a different primary program than the primary program of the parent epic.
  • Program Increments assign a capability to the PIs that it is intended for development in. A capability always inherits the parent's PI. Eligible PIs appear for selection after you select the primary program.
  • Customers can be added to track who requested the capability and who will take advantage of it. Click the document icon to copy customers from the parent epic and child features.
  • Report Color helps to visually differentiate capabilities on some reports.

Click Full Details to see the following fields.

  • Dates help to drive placement of the capability in Roadmaps, Forecast, and Status Reports. Dates for the capability are limited to the dates available for the epic. Note that you have to switch on all three of them in Page Config for any of them to show on this page.
    • Portfolio Ask: This date is set early in the process by the portfolio groups when they do their planning to request the delivery date for a capability.
    • Start/Initiation: This date indicates when the capability will start. It is used for more effective strategic planning activities. This is not the actual start date of the capability based on when the first story is done. This is the target start date based on intentions of the person submitting the capability.
    • Target Completion: This date indicates what the target completion date is. It is used for more effective strategic planning activities. It reflects the date the scheduler believes the capability can actually be completed (versus the Portfolio Ask date which is the date the business wants the capability to be delivered).

When you click Lock next to the dates, the dates are saved. When locked, the following additional fields are saved: story estimate, feature estimate, and capability estimate. You can view this data together with the history of changes by clicking the information icon. Click Unlock to set new dates.

  • Estimation System is used to estimate a capability. The options for estimating capabilities are WSJF, T-shirt size, points, and team/member weeks. A capability can be estimated against multiple PIs.
  • Tags are used to make it easier to find a capability.
  • Budget option is used to budget before the estimation process. Asking how much of the pie would you spend can be useful to compare to the actual estimate during PI planning.
  • Strategic Score includes the following values:
    • Strategic Value Score is for those not using scorecards or WSJF. You can indicate the relative value of a capability compared to others on a scale of 1-100 and use that information to support ranking and prioritization.
    • Effort SWAG is a way to compare the size, time, and effort that it will take to complete a set of features in a capability without going through detailed backlog estimating activities. SWAG is a rough estimate based on experience and intuition. You can indicate that value on a scale of 1-100..
  • Affected Countries box is used to specify which countries are affected by the release. You can release a capability to some particular countries first, and then release it for other countries.

Doughnut chart

Use the doughnut chart on the Details tab to understand the amount of work spent and remaining on the capability and how long it will take to complete it. The progress is based on the child count. For capabilities, it will show the count of features for them (6 of 10 items accepted).

The progress in the center of the circle is a percentage of children in the Accepted state. If a capability is in the Accepted state, this number is always 100% regardless of the children’s state.

The dials are counted as follows:

  • Accepted (blue) is a percentage of children in the Accepted state.
  • In Progress (orange) is a percentage of children in the In Progress, Test Complete, and Dev Complete states.
  • Not Started (gray) is a percentage of children in the Pending Approval and Ready to Start states.

The items in the Unassigned Backlog are also included.

Design

The Design tab is used to capture UX/UI design information for the capability. Use the following parameters to define the capability's design: 

  • Hypothesis is an educated guess about the total design needs of the capability.
  • Design Stage is the stage of the design process the capability is in currently.
  • Lean UX Canvas is a model or approach the design of the capability is based on.
  • Prototype is a link to a mockup/prototype of the design.
  • Lean Use Cases allows you to choose lean use cases tied to this capability. Click Add to create a new lean use case.
  • Design Components allows you to choose design components to this capability. Click Add to create a new design component.

Value

Important: To turn on the Value tab for capabilities in a specific portfolio, select Yes on the portfolio’s Scoring or Value Engineering portfolio-specific configuration setting.

Scorecards

You can use scorecards to score and rank your capabilities in a consistent way across the programs and portfolios. The Jira Align default scorecard appears here. You can add your own scorecards to build custom scoring using Scorecard Configuration in your instance’s portfolio settings. After the scorecard is added, assign it to the program of your capability under Programs.

To score a capability, drag the sliders to the required position. You can configure to use sliders or drop-down menus for scoring a capability under Scorecard Type in your personal preferences. The score is used to help calculate the overall value of the project and compare it to other projects. You can view your capability's score under Value Score. The maximum capability score is 100. Any unanswered questions are scored as zero. Analysis shows your capability’s score compared to average of other capabilities’ scores. The average score is calculated based on the capabilities that use the same scorecard.

Click the Analyze button to view the detailed ROI (return of investment) score analysis. The list of capabilities on the left is based on your PI, portfolio, or program selection. If you select a PI, all capabilities for that PI appear here. If you select a portfolio or program, all capabilities within that portfolio and program appear on the left ranked by their score. On the right, you can view the same individual scores and total value score as you see on the actual capability. The graph shows your capability’s metrics in blue in comparison with an average score across all capabilities in orange. If you look at all PIs, the average score is based on all capabilities in those PIs. You can switch between the capabilities by using the left and right arrows and compare what happens within those PIs.

Value Engineering

The Value tab for capabilities is also used for value engineering--a method to improve efficiency and decrease operating costs through analysis. Value engineering can improve function and lower costs, and determine if epics are worth building. 

Visit Value engineering for complete details.

Spend

On the Spend tab, you can monitor financial values as a capability is forecasted, broken down into estimated features, and finally completed through child stories.

Note that for the tab to display, you must switch on the Solution > Manage > Capabilities > Spend Tab permission toggle for your role.

Progression of spend

In the Progression of spend section, you can see how estimated costs compare over time during the lifetime of the capability. The capability’s Forecasted Spend, Estimated Spend, and Accepted Spend values are displayed as cards. Click on a card to launch the related Spend panel, where you can see how the financial value is calculated.

Forecast

On the Forecast tab, you can view and enter estimates for the teams and programs working on the capability, for each program increment (PI) the capability is associated with. Program and team estimates can also be viewed and edited from the Forecast page. Edits made in either location are synced. Learn more about using the Forecast page.

You can also edit the program increment (PI) estimate from the Forecast tab. This is the same PI Estimate field found on the Details tab of the capability.

Note:

  • Values entered on the Forecast tab, including the PI Estimate, are automatically saved.

Tab availability

The Forecast tab is available if your user role has the Portfolio > Manage > Capabilities > Forecast Tab system role permission toggle switched on. A capability must have at least one program increment associated with it for the Forecast tab to display. 

Controls and fields

See the diagram below for an explanation of each control and field on the Forecast tab:

diagram of forecast tab

  1. Program increment dropdown: Select which PI you want to enter estimates for.
  2. Program row: Select the expand icon (>) to view the teams within the program and their estimates. Select the icon again to collapse the row.
  3. Team row: The list of child teams within the program.
  4. Program Increment (PI) Estimate: The total estimated effort needed for working on this capability during the selected PI. This is the same PI Estimate field found on both the Details tab of the capability and on the Forecast page. Changes to this field will sync in all locations.
  5. Team estimate: Represents the amount of forecasted capacity needed from the team to work on the capability during the selected PI.
  6. Program estimate: Represents the amount of forecasted capacity needed from the program to work on the capability during the selected PI.
  7. Sum: Displays next to a program’s forecast estimate when a mismatch is detected between the sum of team estimates and the program estimate. Only available when a program row is expanded. Select the button to aggregate all team estimates and update the program estimate.
  8. Sum all: Displays next to the PI Estimate field when a mismatch is detected between the sum of program estimates and the PI Estimate. Only available when one or more program estimates contain a value. Select the button to aggregate all program estimates and update the PI Estimate field. 

Select a program increment

At the top of the tab, use the dropdown next to the Estimate for label to select the program increment (PI) you’re entering forecasts for. If the capability is only associated with one PI, the dropdown will have the associated PI selected for you.

Select a PI

Next to the dropdown is the estimate field for the selected PI. This is the same PI Estimate field found on the Details tab of the capability. Use this field to set a total estimate for the capability after forecasting activities. Changes you make to this field from the Forecast tab are automatically saved. 

Note that if your capability belongs to a portfolio that uses T-Shirt sizing as its estimation system, the PI Estimate field will be represented as a t-shirt size on the Details tab, while the field on the Forecast tab will be automatically converted and displayed in weeks, according to the settings chosen in the Estimation Conversions portfolio settings.  

Enter forecasts

Programs associated with the capability and the selected program increment (PI) will display as rows in the Programs and teams section. Use the expand icon (>) next to a program row to display the teams within the program, and their estimate fields. Select the icon again to collapse the row, which will only display the program estimate.

Program and team rows

Enter estimates in the Estimate field for a program or team’s row. Entries you make in estimate fields are automatically saved. 

The label to the right of the field indicates which estimation system is being used by your portfolio: Team Weeks, Member Weeks, or Points.

  • When using the T-Shirt sizing or Team/Member Weeks estimation systems, weeks are displayed. The choice made in the Display Week Estimates In portfolio setting will control whether team or member weeks are displayed.

Note: If the capability is removed from the PI’s scope by unchecking the In-Scope checkbox on the Forecast page, you will see a notification on the Forecast tab and won’t be able to edit forecast estimates for the PI.
Message when an epic is out of scope

Sum team and program forecasts

Sum and Sum all buttons will display on the tab when mismatched values are detected. 

The Sum button is available on an expanded program row when the sum of estimates entered in team rows do not match the entered program estimate. Select the Sum button to add all team estimates and update the program estimate.

Sum button

Select Undo to revert changes made by the Sum button.

The Sum all button displays at the top of the Forecast tab, next to the Program Increment (PI) Estimate field. The button will display when one or more program estimates exist, and the total of those estimates does not match the value in the PI Estimate field. Select the Sum all button to add all entered program forecast estimates and update the PI Estimate.

Sum all button

Select Undo to revert changes made by the Sum all button.

Notes:

  • Selecting Sum all will not account for any team forecast estimates. 
    • For example, if a program’s estimate is 10 points, but two child teams have estimates of 5 points and 20 points each, 10 points will be used as the program’s contribution to the total sum. You can remove these inconsistencies by expanding each program row and selecting the Sum button to aggregate all team estimates before selecting Sum all
  • If a PI Estimate exists, but there are no estimates entered for programs, the Sum all button will not display. 

Links

On the Links tab, you can sequence work items. It is used to create a link from one theme, epic, capability, feature, or story to another one to define that the work item cannot be started before the other one is finished.

Important: To turn on the Links tab, select Yes in the Enable Item Link team setting.

Additionally, on the visualization chart, you can see the items related to each other on the timeline with respective dates and milestones. The chart shows the relationships between the items that have the predecessors and successors for the item.

  • Predecessor: A theme, an epic, a capability, a feature, or a story that comes before another work item.
  • Successor: A theme, an epic, a capability, a feature, or a story that comes after another work item.

Note: You can select only the items from the same portfolio.

The following relationships are available:

  • Story > story; story > feature; story > capability; story > epic; story > theme.
  • Feature > theme; feature > epic; feature > feature; feature > capability; feature > story.
  • Capability > theme; capability > epic; capability > capability; capability > feature; capability > story.
  • Epic > theme; epic > epic; epic > capability; epic > feature; epic > story.
  • Theme > story; theme > feature; theme > capability; theme > epic; theme > theme.

You can set up multiple predecessors and successors. Adding an item as a predecessor or successor to another item will automatically manage the links for both of them. This means that when item A is listed as a predecessor for item B, item B will be listed as a successor for item A automatically. Also, when item A is listed as a successor for item B, item B will be listed as a predecessor for item A automatically.

The same item cannot be set as a predecessor and a successor. The parent epic cannot be the predecessor or successor for the child feature or story. The child feature and story cannot be the predecessor or successor for the parent epic.

Important: Unlike dependencies, links do not provide the obligation or require any actions to be taken by anyone. They help to draw a picture of item interdependencies on various levels.

To create links:

  1. Go to the Links tab.
  2. Select the portfolio and program from the corresponding drop-down menus.
  3. Add one or multiple theme, epic, capability, feature, or story predecessors.
  4. Add one or multiple theme, epic, capability, feature, or story successors.
  5. Click Save, and then click the View the Predecessors and Successors button to view the created links on the visualization chart.

Visualization chart

The main item is highlighted in blue. Use the toggles on the right to highlight predecessors or successors. The related stories appear in the sprints they are assigned to. The related themes, epics, capabilities, and features appear in the sprints based on the following rules:

  • For predecessors, if all child stories are assigned to sprints, the theme, epic, capability, or feature appears in the last sprint the stories are assigned to.
  • For successors, if all child stories are assigned to sprints, the theme, epic, capability, or feature appears in the first sprint the stories are assigned to.

Predecessors

Themes, epics, capabilities, features, and stories appear in the At Risk column based on the following rules:

  • A theme, a capability (at least one of its child stories or features), a story, a feature, or an epic (at least one of its child stories, features, or capabilities) is in the unassigned backlog OR
  • A theme, a capability (at least one of its child stories or features), a story, a feature, or an epic (at least one of its child stories, features, or capabilities) is assigned to the same sprint as the main item OR
  • A theme, a capability (at least one of its child stories or features), a story, a feature, or an epic (at least one of its child stories, features, or capabilities) is assigned to the sprint that comes after the sprint of the main item.

Successors

Themes, capabilities, epics, features, and stories appear in the Unassigned column based on the following rule:

  • If a theme, a capability (at least one of its child stories or features), a story, a feature, or an epic (at least one of its child stories or features) is in the unassigned backlog.

Milestones

A milestone is a task or event that represents progress in the lifecycle of a theme, epic, capability, or feature. You can add and track up to 20 milestones within a single work item. To make each milestone unique and traceable, assign a name, description, category, and status. To visualize them on the roadmap, assign a clear start date and/or due date.

At the capability level, milestones help manage progress on operational tasks and other important tasks that directly impact day-to-day work. For example, you might add a “company survey” milestone or “new devices” milestone to a capability.

Read more about creating milestones.

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