Using themes is a way to categorize work items into larger initiatives, bets, strategic goals, or projects. Themes have a description and an activity feed similar to work items. Their status is linked to a roadmap, and you can connect work items to themes.
Themes are common in product management to align teams and stakeholders on a roadmap, using terms that are also familiar outside the team. A theme is simply a broad initiative, experiment, bet, or a category of customer problems. You can watch an excellent video here about roadmaps.
Themes have a lot of parallels to epics from issue tracking tools. Historically epics were high-level user stories meant to be broken down into more specific user stories. Since work items themselves are usually broader than user stories, many customers will use work items on the level they have used epics earlier. Thus the concept of themes being at the level of even larger initiatives works better for Kitemaker.
There are two ways to get started with themes:
- Add a theme to a work item (you can use the hotkey
!to add and create themes). The theme will automatically be made with the status “Now” (read more about this in the section “Roadmap” below.
- Click “Add element” in the sidebar in the space, and select “Roadmap”. Alternatively, you can open Kitemaker Command and find “Add Roadmap”. You can then create themes directly from the Roadmap.
The themes live in what we call the Roadmap. Each theme can either be in the “Now”, “Next”, or “Later” column or archived (press
a to archive a theme). This allows you to plan your future themes and signal the current priorities.
Notice that the themes in the “Now” column are visible on top of the work item boards. We did this so that when the team is working towards some specific goals, this will be visible to the whole team in a central place.
You can add work items to themes either from the work items themselves (in search, boards, work items screen, etc.) by pressing
!, or you can add them from the theme details screen.
Editing theme details
The theme details have many similarities with work items. They have a lot of space for a description to add context, background, and other relevant information, and an activity feed where you can have discussions and see activities related to the theme.
In addition, you can add and remove work items by pressing
/ key. Notice that you will both search and have the option to create new work items in the input field. New work items will be created either in the “Todo” or the “Inbox” column, depending on if you have a backlog or not.
You can view archived work items by clicking the Archived at the top of the list or pressing the
tab to toggle which list to view.