An initiative is a named area of work used to model a project or a sizable feature.
While dimensions are open-ended categories of work (e.g., "bugs", “user retention”), initiatives model close-ended areas of work with an expected completion (e.g., a technical migration). As a rule of thumb, any area of work with finite scope is best modeled as an initiative.
An initiative makes it possible to evaluate success for a particular area of work. Similarly to a team, it is possible to zoom-in on an initiative and explore the alignment of efforts, delivery performance, and health of contributions related to that initiative.
An initiative encapsulates a set of attributes shared by all efforts within it. This helps eliminate redundant tagging by capturing for example that all efforts tagged with the initiative "GDPR compliance" contribute to the "Risk mitigation" objective. Because initiatives model a concrete deliverable, they are oftentimes more straightforward picks for individual contributors when tagging their contributions. It is for example easier to file my contribution under the “GDPR compliance” initiative than it is to remember that GDPR compliance is ultimately about the more abstract “Risk mitigation” objective. Through shared attributes an initiative can capture complex meaning such as contributing to multiple goals (e.g., a "Replatforming" initiative contributing to both a goal of reducing technical debt and a goal of mitigating risks).
It is possible for an initiative to define no shared attributes at all. In that case the initiative continues to serve as an anchor for reporting; tagging an effort with the initiative registers it as part of its scope without any additional meaning.
Initiatives and tagging requirements
Tagging a work item with an initiative is roughly equivalent to tagging with each of the initiative's shared attributes, albeit more convenient. The set of tags resulting from that substitution may however still be incomplete. For example, a GitHub pull request labeled with an initiative may inherit its "intent" from it but still be lacking a label for the "type" dimension.
Initiatives model finite areas of work: tickets tagged for an initiative across all integrations are considered to make up its scope. Completion of an initiative is computed as the number of completed tickets over the total number of tickets (including GitHub task lists). When a target completion date is set on an initiative, Echoes determines if the current pace of progress is on track for a timely completion.