How we connected corporate strategy within Aha!

Chris Maddocks

Industry Principal—LTL, Intermodal, and Mobility

We had a problem

We had a disconnect between corporate strategy and product development. Our product management function was dispersed throughout the organization, and we did not have an effective means to communicate our business strategy and priorities to the various teams working on product development. As each team worked on their piece, we struggled to communicate, share and discuss progress. Like many other companies and product teams, we did not have a consistent process for roadmap development or communication. Our teams worked on and found solutions, but the solutions were developed in silos, leaving synergy or reuse opportunities on the table. We went looking for a solution to help us manage and publish our roadmap, and with Aha! we found so much more.

Aha! as a solution

Aha! provides us with much more than a roadmapping solution, it gives us a vision of what is possible. By using Aha! our workflow, starting from product vision and goals down to initiatives, features, and requirements, gives our product management group a common vocabulary and framework. As product managers, Aha! allows us to see each other’s products and gives us the ability to comment and contribute. This type of transparency and dynamic interaction is huge. The Aha! home screen does a superb job of aggregating the product development activity. The work from the various groups is in Aha! and accessible to all the product development organizations within the company.

We were originally looking for a tool to help us manage and publish roadmaps, but in Aha! we found a whole tool and framework for thinking about our product direction. We love that Aha! brings the various stakeholders together around a common product vision and thought process.

Although we have not rolled it out beyond our product management groups, we are looking forward to the bug tracker integration and unlimited reviewer accounts. We expect that bringing our development organizations into Aha! and organizing activity around the product roadmap instead of the ticketing system will help align everybody quite naturally. We are also considering doing away with our weekly project status reports in product management in favor of using Aha! to communicate with executives. We know that we have yet to implement the full potential of Aha! and the untapped possibilities are both exciting and energizing the product managers and teams.

Life is good

While we are just getting starting, we are already reaping the benefits of using Aha! for our product development roadmapping. With Aha! product roadmap develop and communication is a dynamic part of the work process. In Aha! we now have the tools to see—on an on-demand basis—what all the product development teams are planning and working on. This is a much more productive format than the quarterly “What are you working on?” conference call that was always either the wrong information, at the wrong time, or both. With Aha! a publishable roadmap is a real-time by-product view of what we do and it reflects our planning and working rather than being something that we have to spend additional time creating after the planning and working done. That means we can now publish a roadmap in seconds, whereas previously this involved several hours of tweaking in either PowerPoint or Excel.

Aha! is more than a roadmapping tool. It has given us structure and brought vision back to our entire product development process.

In addition, the ability to easily publish and share any aspect of the roadmap in real time means the thought process behind our roadmap can be shared not only with the various teams, but also with the business owners. This type of immediate visibility for the business owners, means errors or blind spots can be identified and corrected long before investment decisions are made. Aha! has gone beyond our expectations for a roadmapping tool and opens up opportunity for communication and strategy alignment within the company that we had not even considered possible.