Epics are derived from Initiatives and Themes. An example of an Epic can be a new product or system, or for a new region. It is developed during the intake process to ensure there is enough lead time to validate, approve, and decompose the Epic into Features for implementation by Lean | Agile teams. Distilling the Epic into Features is known as Progressive Elaboration.

Initiatives and Themes are aligned with the program portfolio vision, and focuses on why you want to implement a specific set of Epics, it too must go through an approval process based on research. Therefore, Initiatives and Themes will only contain an outline of the business need, expected benefits, strategic fit, products produced, broad estimates of time and cost, and impact on the organization.

In contrast, An Epic, will cover a specific business or technical scope related to the Initiative and Theme. Below are the recommended fields to complete during the Epic Analysis state of the Progressive Elaboration process:

  1. Title
  1. Narrative
  2. Description
  3. Success criteria                       
  4. T-Shirt
  5. Point Estimate (can come later in the Progressive Elaboration Process)
  6. Epic Owner
  7. Dependencies
  8. Risks
  9. Epic Quadrant Prioritization
  10. Mapping to Program Portfolio Architecture
  11. External Stakeholders

Below is an example of an Epic:

Epic Title
Mobile Agile ALM App
As an Agile ALM User, I would like to do everything I currently do with the online, cloud ALM instance but offline, and then sync with the cloud ALM with my updates, so I have more flexibility to get work done when I am offline.
Success Criteria
  • Create projects offline.
  • Edit project details offline.
  • Create Backlog Work Items offline.
  • Edit Backlog Work Items offline.
  • Export Backlog Work Items to spreadsheet.
  • Help documentation.
  • Capture Retrospective notes offline.
  • Data Sync to ensure data is updated beween cloud and mobile app.
  • Planning Poker Cards.
  • Ability to e-mail feedback to improve the tool.
  • Support iOS and Android.

T-Shirt Size
Medium for each mobile app
Point Estimate
Epic Owner
Ben Sevilla
API to Cloud Instance
Don't have senior iOS developers.
Epic Quadrant Prioritization
3rd Quadrant
Mapping to Program Portfolio Architecture
Refer to Mobile Cloud Computing Architecture.
External Stakeholders
Mary Jane, John Doe, and Jane Doe

To complete the Epic Analysis state, Product Managers may need several meetings with Business Stakeholders and Leads.