New in Aha! — Visualize Your Release and Feature Schedules
January 26, 2015

New in Aha! — Visualize Your Release and Feature Schedules

by Keith Brown

To plan is human, and even the most agile teams should think about new functionality as a new customer experience. New customer experiences go beyond just the product and engineering teams rolling out new software. That’s why it’s important to manage the entire process and make sure the entire organization is prepared to market, sell, and support whatever is new.

That’s where our Releases Portfolio functionality — and the new product and feature scheduling capabilities — keeps everyone in sync and happy. There is really no reason now to have your product managers in Aha! and project or program managers using a spreadsheet. Amen.

Even in the age of agile development and small teams, a release is a cross-functional effort that requires planning and coordinated work. Aha! makes it easy to visualize everything that needs to get done to deliver a new customer experience and keep everyone on track.

Today, we’ve extended our Portfolio Roadmap functionality to benefit the entire product team. This is the best way for product teams to visualize their upcoming releases and feature dependencies. This new visualization in Aha! will help you with:

  • Portfolio planning (view schedules for many products all on one screen)

  • Feature planning (view start and end dates for features if you schedule features or stories)

  • Feature dependencies (view dependencies within a product or across products)

  • Engineering resource and capacity management (view which engineers have been assigned to what features if you manage that in Aha!)

The major enhancements to the Releases Portfolio screen include:

View multiple products and releases

Open up multiple releases (including from different products) in one Gantt chart view. This gives you the ability to see how projects relate or interfere with each other. You can easily see who is available or too busy to take on more work. Use the Filter control to add and remove the releases that you want to view.

Features with dates

Great product teams use features to describe exactly what customers want by clearly defining their requirements. Now, features can be scheduled. You can plot features right on the Releases Portfolio screen; as you plot or pull the bars to lengthen or shorten them, you will visually see the date range beside each feature.

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Adding features to the Releases Portfolio is quick and easy. Click and highlight a release on the Portfolio screen and click New Feature. You can also easily add existing features to the screen by clicking the Existing Feature link. Once the feature has been added you can easily adjust its start and end dates by dragging the edges of the bars.

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After you add the feature, you can name it and select the date range inline, it will display alongside your other release phases. If you want to visualize features by the user assigned to them, you can toggle this on or off in the View menu. [Features that you created in a product with Capacity planning turned on and you gave a start and end date will also automatically be shown on this screen.]

Visualize feature dependencies

One of the most difficult aspects of roadmap planning is dealing with feature dependencies. We allowed you to create them before on a feature, but they were not presented visually with lines between the dependent features. Because we are all about better visualization, we saw room for improvement here.

Now, when you link two features together, you can see this clearly on the Releases Portfolio screen. For any team that focuses on dates and has complex releases, it helps clarify that certain features cannot be completed because they depend on another feature.

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View chart by assigned developer

Features can now be viewed by the developer that they are assigned to (if you are mapping features to resources in Aha!) for better resource planning. You will also find additional ways to customize the layout under the View control. These include the option to hide or show weekends and assignees, and change the color bars to group by status, assignee, or type.

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Multi-select to move groups of features and phases

To quickly adjust dates and make planning easier, you can select multiple rows and move them all together. In the example below, we selected three items to move three bars at the same time. Use the Command, Control or Shift key depending on whether you are on a PC or Mac to select multiple rows.

You’ll notice that we continue to display dependencies, and everything moves in sync as you make your desired adjustments. We’ve also added Undo and Redo buttons if you make a mistake while you are viewing the screen. These controls only work while you are on the screen and will not remember the changes if you go to another screen and come back.

Tracking your release and feature schedules should be easy. We are thrilled to help you and the team get out of Excel and use Aha! in a transparent and collaborative way.

These new capabilities are immediately available for all existing Aha! customers. We look forward to hearing what you think and how the dependency visualization improves your planning and overall happiness.

Be Happy — Sign Up For a Free Aha! Trial If you’re not already an Aha! customers, sign up for a free 30 day trial to see why over 10,000 users trust Aha! to set product strategy, create visual roadmaps, and prioritize releases and features. Happy roadmapping.

Keith Brown

Keith Brown

Keith was a vice president of marketing at Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software.

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