FAQ

In the previous tutorial How to create a SCORE metric we showed how you can create an effective SCORE calculation on a metric. However, there is limited value in creating a score on a single metric since we already report the status of every metric by default. The score method is best used as a factor in more advanced calculations. In this tutorial, we’ll show how you can bubble a bad status score to the top of your blocks tree, maximising the visibility of problem areas so they can be acted upon quickly.

First, we need to start with a cascading metric. In this example we have a metric called Expenses. Here’s a table where all the leaf blocks are displayed with their expenses metric in the Single Metric column:

This example is contrived to clearly illustrate the problem and solution. Every block has expenses of $10 and a target of $20, except for the Support block, which has expenses of $40 and the same $20 target. The Bad status shows up easily in this table, but what happens when we remove the filters and look at the blocks tree? Everything looks really good! Expenses are well below targets:

Sure the overall numbers are good, but you don’t want a particular department’s overspending to become a problem later on down the line, so you want to tackle these issues immediately when they come up. Let’s create a MIN_SCORE cascading metric. The calculations are pretty much the same as the first SCORE example, except we’ll use the MIN_SCORE this time. Here’s the Actuals:

And the Target calculation can be exactly the same as before. (As a reminder, this formula just assures us we’re using the same dates as the Actuals series):

Now lets see what this looks like in the blocks tree. Our new metric is called “Find Bad Expenses” and if we display it in the tree:

Now we have a series of Bad blocks from the Support block all the way up to the company vision block. This allows someone to go from the root block and easily drill down to any problems blocks as they appear.

Note: The instruction below is reliant on metrics currently existing within your company to calculate the score on.

Create a new Metric

Go to Monitor -> Metrics. Click the New button.

Change your Tolerance Settings

With SCORE, we will only have values in the set [1, 0, -1]. The tolerance (yellow) range is the range between the start and the end, but it does not include the values themselves. So if we set the Start/End values both to 0, you would never have any “Warning” points. If you set Start / End to 1 / -1 you would have the warning region filling most of the chart. A way to balance this on the chart is to go halfway: 0.5, -0.5, which results in a chart that looks like this:

So you can decide how you want to fill that range.

Now you may save your metric.

Create your SCORE calculation for your ACTUALS

This metric started off badly, but the target has diminished over time resulting in an upward trend into the “Good” range. Let’s create an actual calculation based on this metric. Go to your new metric’s “Actuals” menu, You should see an option to add Manual Actuals or create a calculation:

Click on the Calculate button to start the calculation editor:

Select SCORE from the list of available functions. Then select the blue button next to it to add a Metric. The SCORE function only takes a single metric, so the other options are hidden at this point:

I’ve picked the historic data metric, and now have a valid calculation. Press Save.

Next we want to tweak our target so that it’s always 0, which forces the tolerance we created before to mark -1 values as BAD(red) and +1 values and GOOD(blue) and 0 values as WARNING(yellow). There’s many ways to do this. The first is to not enter any Targets, which gives us this because it’s historic and there are no historic targets:

Since our first value is in 2012, let’s add a 0 there and see what happens:

 

That works, somewhat. Since we’re basing this on a calculation, if anything changes to the source data we many need to tweak the target. For instance if they remove the 2012 data from the source metric, we’ll have a dangling target to change. The most reliable option is to make the target another calculation that always resolves to 0. There are many ways to do this, but the most reliable is to make the same calculation as the Actuals, but then multiple the result by 0. Here’s what that looks like under the target menu:

 

The reason this works best is that it aligns itself with all the same values that appear in the metrics series. This means you don’t get dangling future / past values showing up where you don’t want them, and it’s fully dynamic based on the source metric.

Now you can compare your two metrics in the table view and their x-axis lines up perfectly:

 

Customize the timeline view

Click BLOCKS TABLE > COLUMNS

Using the example that we want to output to a US letter paper size in landscape layout, these are example column widths (NB: dependant of course on the displayed columns).

Scroll to the bottom of the screen to SAVE.

Filter and save the view

Open the right OPTIONS MENU and using the LEVELS filter controls, drag to include only the level you wish to display (in this case level 4 “tactics”).

You will now have a custom table view, in this example the Timeline Barcolumn has been sorted to rank those poorly performing blocks first.

Use the BOOKMARK button to save this view for future use.

Print or save as PDF

From the browser, select PRINT (or CNTR-P), select paper size LETTER and layout LANDSCAPE.

Select PDF to export as a PDF file.

For technical issues and how-to guidance, contact our friendly Support Team –  help@strategyblocks.com

Clients are welcome to contact our team of Client Advocates at any time. Client Advocates will keep you up to date with new features, product updates, arrange any required training and keep you up to date with strategy execution information. Contact the team at – clientadvocate@strategyblocks.com

StrategyBlocks supports the upload of information to support the execution of any block (key result area), metric (key performance indicator) and risk contained in the strategic plan.  This includes:

  • External Links (URL’s)
  • Upload of files – images, documents, files etc
  • Attachment of Google Drive files – including search etc

Let’s see this example. The orange line is the target which rolls up the same as the progress %, so we can use that for these examples. The blocks below all start Oct 1.

ROLLUP PARENT ends Dec 31.

CHILD A ends Oct 31.

CHILD B end Nov 30.

a

This is the progress chart view in the blocks tree. The lines before October are all 0. Once we hit Oct1, we start expecting progress at a linear rate in the child (e.g., a straight line from 0 to 100% over the duration of the block). The parent’s line is based on the children’s target-lines and the rollup setting. In this case we’re using duration rollup (default rollup).

Child A is 1 month, and Child B is two months, so this means A contributes 1/3 months to the ROLLUP PARENT (P)  (33%) and B contributes 2/3 months (66%) to P‘s progress. On Oct 31 we expect 100% of  A (33%) and 50% of B (66/2: 33%). This means that P expects 66% on Oct 31. The remaining 33% is required from B on Nov 30. Even though P goes to Dec 31, it’s target is 100% for the all of DEC.

Now let’s see what happens when we change the rollup to “custom weight”.  (we would have the same picture as above if we said A had a custom weight of 30 and B was 60, since duration is weighted based on the number of days). Anyway:

aa

A is 5, and B is 1.

Here’s what the charts look like now:

aaa

Child A: now contributes 5 (out of 6), and is due on Oct 31. This means it’s adding 83.3% on Oct 31.

Child B: now contributes 1 (out of 6). On Oct 31, it’s expected to be 50% complete.  (1/6: 16.6%, so 8.3% is half that. )

83.3 + 8.3 = 91.6% due on Oct 31.

The remaining 8.3% is due on Nov 30.

Basically all the rollups behave the same way. Duration just means # of days.

 

You can check the Fiscal Year details under the Company Settings Pages.

fisical

The Quarter Periods are calculated in regards to how the Company Fiscal Year has been set-up.

So if the Fiscal Year is 1 JAN the quarters are calculated in the following way;

Q1: 01/01/YYYY…03/31/YYYY

Q2: 04/01/YYYY…06/30/YYYY

Q3: 07/01/YYYY…09/30/YYYY

Q4: 10/01/YYYY…12/31/YYYY

 

Is there any way to turn those blocks ‘green’?

Is there any way to stop the tail from growing?

star

When a block is 100%, it can be closed and normally disappears unless the filters have “closed” selected. If it is displayed, it shows as green.

The “tail” is showing the difference between a block’s actual end-date and today (or closed date). The block will remain red until closed because it’s overdue. The end-date and error will both be red as well.

The stars allow managers to rate the success of the strategy once the owner has marked it as 100%. This status can be reviewed at a later date when you’re evaluating how well your plan was executed or when doing performance management for block owners.

star

To change your email address you will need to log into StrategyBlocks as yourself and then go to Accounts, here you change your Account details including the email address. Click Save. At the moment, an administrator cannot change the email address of a user. If the user is unable to change their email, you can reassign all their objects to a new user and then delete the old user from the company.

A manager is responsible for the details of an object (block, metric, risk,…). This means they can change the titles, description, and so on. The owner of an object is responsible for doing the day-to-day updates. In terms of the blocks structure, the owner of a parent block is automatically the manager of the child blocks. This is because the owner is responsible for updating a block’s progress, and for non-leaf blocks the progress is determined by the children. With metrics, the owner is responsible for updating the actuals, and the manager is responsible for the targets (as well as all the other properties).

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In version 4.0, new blocks are public by default. If you want to make a block private, select the block row on the manage children page to edit it’s details. (Note: you cannot make a public block private, so you’ll need to check this box before you save your newly added blocks.)

childblock

To make a block public, click on the unlock button on the toolbar:

childblock2

On any of the login pages, select the forgot password button and enter your email address.

It may be that the URL you have is for a different server that you don’t have access to. We have many servers intended for demos or different regions. For instance, Australian clients may be hosted on https://aus.strategyblocks.com. Please check your emails to find out which server you are on, or contact us and we’ll find your information.

Licenses may be purchased within the StrategyBlocks application by going to the Company Settings -> Payments page and using your credit card. You can also contact us directly and we will issue an invoice for your desired number of seats.  

Go to Company Settings -> Users. Select the staff member who is leaving. Scroll down to the Reassign Ownership section and click on it:

button

A new form will appear with options for how you want to transfer their ownership. For instance, you can select different users for their blocks, metrics and risks.

Find your block in the Blocks -> Blocks Tree section. If your block is a leaf block (has no children) and you are the Owner, you should be able to update its progress. Select the edit pencil:

      block

You can drag the progress bar to your % completion amount (e.g., if you’ve done half the work required, it should be set to 50%). The skinnier bar in the background is the current expected target %:

block2

The progress can also be changed/reviewed by clicking the gear icon on the block and opening the progress page:

    block4

From the blocks tree page, select the gear icon to view the block’s edit pages:

delete-1

Select the Delete option from the left-hand sidebar menu:

delete-2

On this page you have the choice to delete the block and its children, or just delete the child and leave the selected-block as-is.

delete-3