A Better Way To Manage Delivery Risks

See delivery risks on program increments in Aha! Develop.

April 11, 2023

A Better Way To Manage Delivery Risks

by Jeff Tucker

You promise to deliver new functionality — so how do you keep your promise? Spotting potential issues early is vital for keeping your plans on track and adapting when necessary. That is why we launched automated delivery risk tracking earlier this year. Since then, product builders have viewed over 170,000 risks in Aha! software! You clearly love this quick new way to surface issues. So we are continuing to enhance risk tracking — this time at scale for teams that use the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe).

You can now see when a sprint or program increment is at risk in Aha! Develop, then use the new delivery risks report to analyze at-risk work.

You could already track risks in Aha! Roadmaps and Aha! Develop. Choose from 15+ delivery risk alerts to track, such as overdue releases or features. If you use Roadmaps with Develop, you can also manage development risks — such as work that is missing an estimate or has unresolved dependencies.

But if you follow SAFe, you need to manage risks across multiple teams and sprints to ensure the overall program increment (PI) stays on track. So we built new at-risk labels on the sprint planning and PI details pages in Aha! Develop — to help surface any issues in the underlying work. Clicking into the at-risk label opens a detailed delivery risks report (also available in the Reports section of Aha! Develop). An interactive bar chart helps you analyze a team's at-risk work by sprint, release, workspace, initiative, or team member — so you can understand the risk level at a glance.

While we were at it, we also added two new indicators for risk tracking at scale. Use "No program increment" to get alerted when a feature is not assigned to a PI. And choose "Sprint rollover" to know when work moves from one sprint to the next without being completed.

The new delivery risks report is available for customers on the Aha! Develop Advanced plan. If you use Aha! Develop and Aha! Roadmaps together, product managers can access the PI and program board views — as well as see both planning and development-related risk indicators on features in Roadmaps.

Let's take a closer look at how SAFe teams can take advantage of these updates:

Prepare for PI planning

If work is not in a PI, it will probably not get done. So make sure every important feature in a release gets assigned to a PI ahead of your PI planning session. In the example below, we enabled the new "No program increment" risk indicator in workspace settings. When we review the features board, we can see at-risk indicators that two features are not assigned to the PI. Whoops! But now we can quickly fix the issue — giving us confidence development has what they need for successful PI planning.

Customize your cards on the features and workflow boards to see risk indicators at a glance.

Track risks at scale

Let's imagine you are a release train engineer (RTE) managing sprints across an agile release train in Aha! Develop. The PI view gives you a visual snapshot of overall sprint progress by team — so you can assess if the PI is on track. The new risk indicators automatically alert you that there is an issue with a sprint or PI. Below we can see that the team's sprint is at risk, then click the red label to open the delivery risks report for more details.

Set the Progress calculation on the PI to Calculate from sprints so sprint progress rolls up to PI progress.

Analyze at-risk work

Now let's explore the delivery risks report we just opened. Here, we see a summary of how much work is at risk for this particular sprint. Hovering over the at-risk column indicates two records are in jeopardy. And we can click on the column itself to open a filtered list report showing exactly which work is at risk and why. Then we can follow up with the relevant team to see how to help get these items back on track.

You can also adjust the report filters to view work for different team members or sprints.

Using risk indicators and analyzing at-risk work protects and empowers the team — giving you the best chance to deliver on time.

Mitigating risk early pays off. Besides feeling more confident in your plans, you can ship on schedule — delighting your customers with the new functionality you promised. Check out the new risk labels and delivery risks report in Aha! Develop or reach out for a demo.

Sign up for a free trial of Aha! Roadmaps

Aha! Roadmaps is the best way to set strategy, prioritize features, and share visual plans. It includes Aha! Ideas Essentials for crowdsourcing feedback. If you are interested in an integrated product development approach, use Aha! Roadmaps and Aha! Develop together. Sign up for a free 30-day trial or join a live demo to see why more than 700,000 product builders trust our software to build lovable products and be happy doing it.

Jeff Tucker

Jeff is passionate about promoting customer empathy throughout product and engineering teams. He is a Senior Product Manager at Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software. Jeff has more than 10 years of experience across product, design, and engineering roles. Previously, he managed products at developer tool and cybersecurity startups.

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