How Aha! helped us manage complexity and unify plans

Doug Evans

Director of Product Management

We had a problem

The product team at Kaufman Hall is responsible for a portfolio of enterprise performance management solutions that provide advanced business planning, modeling, analysis, and reporting capabilities. We have specialized solutions to serve the unique needs of healthcare, banking, and higher education industries. Each of these solutions sits on top of a core platform and supports the company’s overall vision to help our clients achieve sustainable, long-term success.

Our solution roadmaps are complex to manage as they require us to unify our vertical strategies around the core platform, while also balancing the unique needs of different industry-specific solutions. Previously, we managed separate plans by industry vertical with information kept in an array of documents and spreadsheets. This made it difficult to leverage platform capabilities across verticals and to ensure solution consistency.

Aha! as a solution

The vision, business model, and goals for each of our vertical solutions are now captured in Aha! This gives our leaders better visibility into what we want to achieve. It makes it easier to execute our strategy across different industries and will help us as we expand our portfolio of solutions. We also create a roadmap at the epic level and review it with key stakeholders to gain alignment around the priorities and timeline.

Aha! helps us create a unified strategy across all of our vertical solutions so that our product roadmaps consistently support our business goals.

Epics are then broken down into user stories and assigned to sprints for implementation. We define the detailed requirements in Aha! and use Aha! mockups to visualize the user experience. These are communicated to the development team using the integration with Microsoft TFS. Because the integration is bidirectional, we are also able to track the completion of requirements and features in real time. Our release manager uses Aha! to visualize our launch process, coordinate platform dependencies, and ensure that everything comes together as expected.

Life is good

Aha! is the backbone of our product management operations. We now have a way to organize all of our information and activities so that we can understand it, see it, and report on it in different ways.

People light up when they understand what the business strategy is and how it relates to what they are working on.

This helps us manage the complexity associated with multiple vertical solutions and create a unified plan that we can execute against. We can now trace our strategy all the way from our high-level business goals through to the features that go into development. By tying it all together in such a logical way, Aha! keeps us on the right track and helps us see any gaps.