We united our global team of product managers in Aha!
We had a problem
Our team of 7 product managers was tasked with leading and managing 8 core systems. One of my main assignments during the first few weeks was to improve our communication flow internally among team members and externally to the rest of the organization.
At that time, the team had somehow managed to rely on PowerPoint to document their roadmaps; sharing was done primarily by email and a little bit of Confluence (wiki). We had no proper PM tool to document — let alone collaborate on and share — our roadmaps.
As you might have guessed, the sheer number of systems to manage presented some challenges. A supposedly simple question like, “When are we going to release Feature X?” or “Where will we take Product Y in 6 months?” seemed impossible to answer.
Things got more interesting when I learned that we must formally present our roadmaps 6 times a month to 3 different audiences. We had probably abused our email and spreadsheets — plus our senior PM and team sanity — to maintain past roadmaps. So, I decided to find a tool that is easy to use and scalable.
Aha! as a solution
The 30-day free trial in Aha! gave our team enough time to get familiar with the tool. I noticed that we quickly regained focus on our product strategy. We stopped wasting time re-formatting the roadmap for different audiences, or asking our PMs when certain things should be done.
After evaluating several product management options, Aha! stood out as the clear winner. We noticed instant differences in how our team approached the big picture.
With Aha! we chose to share our roadmaps the following ways:
For the Board of Directors meeting, we share our roadmap to focus on features that will be developed in the next 3 months. We rely on the Features › Board interface in Aha! to communicate this.
For the all-managers meeting, we add Timeline bars that show sprints of all products, complete with start and end dates. We utilize this layout in Releases › Roadmap.
For the shareholders meeting, we focus on the 3-month-and-beyond initiatives to position the company ahead of competitors. We use Reports › Pivot (with configured filters) to generate our complete roadmaps in a list form.
All of those reports are saved as Aha! notebooks. With the click of a button, a new PDF report is generated based on the most current information. In addition to a PDF file, we can also share these roadmaps as password protected pages. No more relying on email or spreadsheets to learn the latest updates.
Life is good
Having moved all our product work to Aha! our team feels that we made the right choice — the same feeling that we had during our trial. Our product department is healthily growing.
As I write this, we are adding more product managers in a different part of the world. We know that having us all work in Aha! will unite this diverse team.
In the not-so-distant future, we plan to utilize the idea management feature to collect and filter ideas for our products. We have used email to do this before. Aha! will ensure that we break this pattern.