Better Estimate and Track Engineering Work in Aha! Software

New estimate fields for a feature in Aha! Roadmaps

September 28, 2022

Better Estimate and Track Engineering Work in Aha! Software

by Claire George

Product managers are constantly reassessing whether they have a realistic roadmap. You ask yourselves, how long will it take to develop all of these features? Will we be able to release on time? Engineering can help you answer some of these questions, while making sure not to overcommit the team. In the end you want to know — how close were our original estimates?

You can now capture initial, detailed, and actual estimates in three separate fields in Aha! Roadmaps and Aha! Develop — improving the way you assess effort and manage the team's workload.

Today's update gives product and engineering teams a better way to assess estimates at different stages in the planning process. Start by capturing an initial estimate of what it will take to deliver new features. As implementation gets closer, you can refine the estimate based on a detailed understanding of the requirements. Once the work is done, record exactly how much effort it took and compare the difference.

You could always use the Estimate field on initiatives, epics, features, and requirements in Aha! software to capture this information. But there was previously no easy way to see how your estimates changed over time. So we created three new fields to help you plan more effectively: Initial estimate, Detailed estimate, and Actual effort.

These new fields are available to all Aha! Roadmaps and Aha! Develop customers. It is important to note that if you are on the Aha! Roadmaps Enterprise+ plan, any advanced estimates will now appear in the Initial estimate field. Any other estimation values will appear in the new Detailed estimate field. Use the Actual effort field to log progress as work gets underway.

Even better, you can use Aha! Roadmaps and Aha! Develop together to create an integrated capacity planning workflow. The new estimate fields stay automatically in sync in both tools. When engineering updates the detailed estimate and remaining effort in Aha! Develop, product management immediately sees this information in Aha! Roadmaps. This empowers both teams to work closely together to set achievable plans, manage workload, and deliver new features on time.

Let's take a closer look at how you can use the new estimate fields to improve your planning process:

Estimate features early

Let's imagine you are planning an upcoming release. Start in Aha! Roadmaps by setting the overall release capacity in story points or time and prioritizing the features you want to build. Then work with engineering to capture an initial estimate for each feature so you can make sure your plan is feasible. When you are ready, assign the work to the correct team in Aha! Develop for implementation.

Add a simple or advanced estimate (Enterprise+) for more complex team planning.

Refine the details

The next step is for engineering to refine the feature estimate based on the underlying technical requirements. Once entered in Aha! Develop, the Detailed estimate field automatically updates in Aha! Roadmaps. This helps product management see if the timing or scope of the release needs to be adjusted — so the whole team can move forward with certainty.

Detailed estimates of features can be automatically calculated from related requirements.

Track actual effort

As work gets underway, engineers can log progress in the Actual effort field. Back in Aha! Roadmaps, the capacity bar on the release shows how much work has been completed and how much is remaining against your estimates. This makes it easy to see if your release is on track. Once the release is completed, create a list report to compare the difference between your estimates and how much effort it actually took to do the work — mining insights to help you refine future plans.

Create a list report to see the logged effort and variation between estimates.

Create an achievable roadmap by using the new estimate fields to take a staged approach to capacity planning.

Today's update is foundational to improving the way product and engineering teams work together to estimate effort and manage workload. Next week, we will share how we have connected individual and team capacity planning capabilities — so customers on our Enterprise+ plan can tie together high-level roadmap plans with detailed implementation plans to optimize the team's workload.

Sign up for a free trial of Aha! Roadmaps or Aha! Develop

Aha! Roadmaps is the best way to set strategy, prioritize features, and share visual plans. It includes Aha! Ideas Essentials for crowdsourcing feedback. Aha! Develop is for healthy agile development teams — empowering technical leaders to help their teams achieve more and feel less like "feature factories." It connects technical work to the product roadmap, optimizes workload, and streamlines reporting. 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 600,000 product builders trust our software to build lovable products and be happy doing it.

Claire George

Claire is passionate about helping product and marketing managers set brilliant strategy and deliver results. She is the Group Manager of Product Marketing at Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software. Claire has more than 20 years of marketing and software experience. Previously, she led product marketing at an agile-based work management platform.

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