In the example shown below, we have Initiative X with an estimated cost of \$1,000,000.  The total cost is automatically allocated to Stage 2, and this is shown in the bottom row titled "Estimated Cost".  However, work for Initiative X commenced in Stage 1, which means a proportion of the estimated cost should be allocated to Stage 1 as well.

The Cost and Benefits Distribution feature are designed to enable you to allocate or spread a proportion of cost and benefits across multiple stages.  For more information on how to distribute benefits across multiple stages, click here.

The total estimated cost for an initiative is derived by aggregating the total cost of each action assigned to an initiative.  For each action, you have the ability to provide an estimated cost.  Refer to the Cost estimation article for more details.

## How to define cost distribution for an initiative

To distribute the estimated cost for an initiative:

2. In the properties panel for the selected initiative, select the "Estimated Cost" or "Estimated Cost & Benefits" tab.

3. In the "Distribute Cost Across Number of Stages" field, you can define the number of stages (columns) where the initiative's cost should be distributed.

4. Enter a number to define the number of stages where the cost should be distributed.  The estimated cost is distributed across the stages proportionally.  For example, if the number of stages is 2 then the distribution is 50% in each stage.  If the number of stages is 3 then the distribution is 33.33% in each stage and so on.

## Cost distribution examples

The stage that the initiative is placed on the roadmap represents the stage in which the initiative is completed. Therefore, the cost for an initiative can be distributed to the current stage or earlier stages only, and never to future stages. Jibility will distribute the total cost for an initiative proportionally to the number of stages available and the number of stages defined.  For example, if Initiative X is costed at \$1,000,000 and this is defined for distribution over three stages, even though it is placed in Stage 2 (therefore only two stages available for distribution), then the total cost is still proportionally allocated to two stages only (see example below).

## Cost distribution stage summary

Click on a stage to see the list of initiatives contributing to the overall stage cost.  In the following example, by selecting Stage 2 we can see in the properties panel that:

1. Initiative X, with a total cost of \$1,000,000, is contributing \$500,000 to Stage 2, which means Initiative X is distributing to two stages;

2. Initiative Y, with a total cost of \$750,000, is contributing \$250,000 to Stage 2, which means Initiative Y is distributing to three stages; and

3. The total cost for Stage 2 is Initiative X \$500,000 plus Initiative Y \$250,000, which is \$750,000.

In the next example, by selecting Stage 3, we can see that the stage total is \$350,000 which is comprised of \$250,000 from Initiative Y and \$100,000 from Initiative Z.

Note, Initiative Y has an "*" to denote that this cost is a distributed proportion of the initiative's cost.  Whereas Initiative Z does not have an "*" to indicate that the full cost of this initiative is allocated to this stage.