Skip to main content
Wave Success Center by McKinsey

Create and update impact values

Impacts are quantitative financial improvements that are achieved as a result of implementing an initiative. Impacts are tied to financial metrics and also to an area of the business where the impact applies. Depending on the current stage of the initiative, impacts are entered into three series: Planned, Actual, and Forecast.


Planned (sometimes called 'Target'): When an initiative is being planned (e.g. L0, L1, and L2 stages), you are able to enter the estimated impact into the planned series. Once you move the initiative to L3, you are no longer able to update the planned values.

Forecast (sometimes called 'Revised'): Once your initiative has made it to 'L3 Implementation,' you can update the forecast series. Forecast is sometimes referred to as "Revised Plan" as it is meant to serve as an updated estimate of the originally defined plan.

Actual: Actual impacts are entered once your initiative has made it to L4, which is when you switch from implementation focus toward realizing the value achieved. Some configurations of Wave only allow Finance Team members to enter actual numbers. Others allow initiative owners to enter the actuals and then the Finance Team later validates the numbers that have been entered.


How to create new impact lines


From the Impact tab, click 'Add impacts' to open the impact creation window:


On the left hand side, choose one or more metrics that your initiative is tracking:

Note: Your metric structure will likely differ from the metrics shown below. Each company's metric structure is customized to match the reporting outputs required.


From the right hand side, select the area/s of the business where your initiative will have impact:

Note: Your impact structure will likely differ from the below example. Commonly, the impact project structure reflects your company's workstreams, business units, or functions and is customized to match your program's reporting requirements.


Click "Create" in the bottom right corner:

Changing the impact time scale

You can choose the time scale for which you would like to enter your initiative's impact values. The three main options are Yearly, Quarterly, and Monthly. Wave will automatically aggregate or disaggregate values based on the time scale you choose.

Example 1: If you are using the monthly time scale, enter the value '100' into all 12 months in 2017. When you switch the scale to Yearly, the impacts will aggregate to show a total of 1200 in 2017.

Example 2: If you are using the yearly time scale, enter the value 600 into 2017. When you switch the scale to quarterly, each quarter will show a value of 150. Wave has simply divided the total yearly value by four into separate quarters.

One-off vs. Recurring Impacts

Impacts are either added on a one-off basis (perhaps for one or two time periods), or on a recurring basis, where numbers can be copied across multiple time periods. Depending on your organization's program, you may be able to toggle to choose one-off or recurring entry by clicking on the icon pictured below.

In the above screenshot, the user has chosen one-off impact. When the user enters a value of '5' into February 2017, the value does not get copied across all other months in the program.

In the above example, the user has chosen to enter the impacts as recurring. Now when they enter the value '5' into Feb 2017, the value is copied across all remaining months in the program.

Updating planned impacts

You are able to add and modify planned values when the initiative is in the 'L0 - Idea,' 'L1 - Identified,' and 'L2 - Validated' stages.

Note: If your initiative is in L3, L4 or L5, and you need to modify values in the planned series, you either need to:

  • Update the initiative back to the L2 stage and resubmit for L3 approval.

  • Talk to your company's Wave representative or workstream lead to manually update the value/s.

Updating Actual and Forecast series

Once the initiative has made it to the 'L3 - Implementation' stage, you can now update Actual and Forecast values.