How we connected plans across our product portfolio using Aha!

Dave Berg

Global Leader, Solutions Management

We had a problem

The solutions management team sets the strategy for our portfolio of hardware and software products. We work closely with regional managers in the United States, Asia, and Europe to understand local requirements and communicate the roadmap and release plans. Previously, we used Confluence, PowerPoint, and spreadsheets to manage our product information. This was extremely time consuming and fraught with errors. It was almost impossible to keep everything up to date and aligned. Our releases typically involve multiple engineering teams. We struggled to manage cross-product dependencies and align release schedules. And because our development teams use multiple instances of Jira, it was difficult to see the status of work. We needed a common platform to effectively manage our portfolio. We wanted to improve the traceability of feature requests from idea through to delivery and tie everything to the overall strategy.

Aha! as a solution

Aha! allows us to define our portfolio roadmaps in the same system. This enables us to connect plans across hardware and software products so we can better coordinate delivery schedules. The ability to link initiatives with epics and user stories provides complete traceability through the delivery lifecycle.

The integration with Jira transformed how we work with engineering. Product management can now easily check on the progress of features directly in Aha! and engineering can see how their work ties to the bigger picture. Connecting work between systems also simplifies status reporting — which benefits both teams.

Aha! saves at least 10 hours each week previously spent manually updating presentations and spreadsheets. This lets us focus on more meaningful work — such as improving our craft and building better products.

The reporting options in Aha! are impressive. We used to spend a lot of time harvesting data and creating custom reports for different stakeholders. Now we can easily share information across the organization and communicate the why and the how of our roadmap.

Life is good

Aha! is essential for scaling product management in an agile way. It allows us to implement standard practices and provide transparency into the software delivery process. This means we can better communicate status, progress, and challenges to the business.

We create a business model in Aha! for each initiative. This includes projected revenue, staffing needs, and the cost of doing the work. Capturing all of this information in Aha! allows us to have a meaningful discussion with leadership about where we want to invest. We can also measure the success of releases by comparing estimates with actuals.

Aha! provides a real-time “State of the Union” that includes everything the business needs to know about our portfolio.

Product and engineering teams are better able to collaborate. For example, if a date slips, we can immediately see the impact and work together to adjust the schedule. This enables us to deliver complex releases more effectively.