Aha! Develop | Whiteboards

Whiteboards are a critical tool for each stage of the product development lifecycle. They help you build out and refine concepts in a visual form — an important first step in building lovable products. Create beautiful diagrams, journey maps and user flows, and collaborate with your team to develop and visualize new concepts. And when the time is right, convert whiteboard elements into actionable items on your product roadmap.

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Add a whiteboard

There are three different ways to create a blank whiteboard.

  • Add a personal whiteboard to your My work page the same way you would add a personal note.

  • Add a new whiteboard to your team notes. Keep whiteboards neatly organized in your nested notes hierarchy and add as many new whiteboards as you choose.

  • Map out a user flow for a new feature or illustrate phases of a new initiative with a flowchart by embedding a whiteboard in a note or in the description field of most Aha! records — like initiatives, features, and requirements — so you can add visual context to the work your team is doing.

    Note: You cannot yet add a whiteboard to the description of an idea.

Create a new whiteboard

From your team or personal Notes, click + Create and select Whiteboard. Your new untitled whiteboard will open automatically. Update the name by editing its Title. The whiteboard will appear in your document hierarchy below the note you currently have selected. You can drag and drop it to change its location.

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Create a copy of a whiteboard

To create a copy of a note, right click the note from the List view and select Copy note. A copy of the note will open and will appear in the List view below the the original note.

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Embed a whiteboard in an Aha! Develop record

Add a whiteboard to an existing note or other Aha! Develop record from the text editor. While editing a note or record, click the + dropdown and select Whiteboard. The new whiteboard will appear one space below your cursor. Click inside the whiteboard or click the arrow icon in its top-right corner to expand the whiteboard window. Click the X in the top-right corner to close it and return to the note.

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The Aha! whiteboard provides infinite space to ideate, sketch, and diagram. As you add objects, your whiteboard will expand to provide even more space for you to use. You can navigate around your whiteboard and between any frames you add by using the navigation toolbar in the bottom-right corner.

  • Scroll around your whiteboard by selecting the Pan button or hit the Space bar.

  • Adjust the Zoom level with the plus and minus buttons or by pressing Ctrl and scrolling.

  • Navigate to a specific frame on your whiteboard by clicking the Zoom % and select a frame from the list in your frame navigation.

  • Scroll through frames quickly by using the Next frame and Previous frame options or by using the Space bar.

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Use the toolbar

The whiteboard toolbar remains static on the left side of your screen, even as you resize your whiteboard. Use it to add objects and text, draw, and build diagrams. Just click an icon from the toolbar to select it or double-click to select and retain a tool for extended use.

Tool

Keyboard shortcut

Options

Function

Pointer

'


Text

T

  • Color, opacity, and border options for the text box

  • Aha! text editor

  • Add text and text boxes to your whiteboard

  • Edit and format text

Shape

S

  • Square

  • Circle

  • Star

  • Badge

  • Image

  • Beveled square

  • Triangle

  • Cylinder

  • Text

  • Diamond

  • Hexagon

  • Cloud

  • Annotation

  • and more

Sticky note

N

  • Color and opacity options

  • Square or rectangle options

  • Capture thoughts and ideas

Connector

C

  • Arrow and line style options

  • Color and opacity options.

  • Straight, fluid, or static angle options

  • Connect shapes, text boxes, symbols, and other whiteboard objects

Pen



  • Sketch out ideas

Frame

F

  • Editable label

  • Color and opacity options

Stamp emoji

E

  • Resize or rotate

  • Stamp approval on whiteboard objects

Image

I

  • Resize or rotate

  • Add an image to provide more context to the contents of your whiteboard

Template


  • Create consistent whiteboard configurations throughout your account

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Create diagrams

Diagrams, flowcharts, decision trees. All are great visual aids to illustrate sequences, processes, structures, and hierarchies. Your Aha! whiteboard tools empower you to build attractive diagrams that are both customizable and easy to construct.

Diagrams are made of objects and connectors. Add objects to your whiteboard. Then join them together using connectors and arrows to show relationships, map processes and user journeys, diagram an organizational structure, or illustrate sequences.

Objects

An object can be a shape, sticky note, uploaded image, text box, emoji, or icon. Most objects have various connection points around their borders to neatly add connectors. Although you can join any objects with connectors, shapes are the most commonly used objects in diagrams and flowcharts.

  • Add a shape by clicking the Shape icon on your toolbar and choose a shape. Then click and drag it to your desired dimensions.

  • Resize a shape by selecting and dragging its corners.

  • Rotate a shape by selecting the rotation icon and dragging it to your desired angle.

  • Format a shape using the customization options above it — you can edit the fill color and opacity or the line weight, color, and style

  • Add text to an object by double-clicking the object, then begin typing. Align text you have added to an object by selecting the object and clicking the Align button.

Connectors

A connector can be an arrow or a line. Connectors can be used to join objects together or on their own as simple arrows and lines.

  • Add a connector by selecting the connector icon on your toolbar, then click and drag it to your desired length. You can also add a connector directly from a shape by clicking one of the connection points along an object's border.
    Note: Double-click the shape icon on your toolbar and then click a connection point on an existing shape to add both a connector arrow and additional shape with one click.

  • Resize a connector by selecting and dragging its endpoints.

  • Manipulate a connector's angles or curves by clicking and dragging the midpoints on the connector.

Connect shapes by selecting the endpoint of a connector and dragging and dropping it to a connection point on an object's border.

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Use advanced shapes

The Advanced section of your Shapes menu offers functional objects designed for specific tasks. Use Advanced shapes together to build beautiful early-stage roadmaps and structure content on your whiteboard.

Annotations

Use the annotation shape to add context to any object or area of your whiteboard — so you can highlight key concepts that you want to point out or discuss further with your collaborators.

Access your Shapes toolbar and select the annotation shape. Drag the end of the shape's connector to the object or area of your whiteboard that you need to comment on. Double-click the annotation shape to add text. Right-click to format its color, border, and text.

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Milestones

Add the milestone shape to your whiteboard to signal deadlines or significant dates. Paired with the timeline and progress bar shapes, the milestone can represent important dates like release dates, kickoff or launch dates, or the beginning or end of a time frame.

Select the milestone from the Advanced section of the Shapes menu and click your whiteboard to add the milestone. Use its toolbar to customize its color, shape, and the location of its label.

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Progress bars

Add progress bars below a timeline to represent work you want to accomplish. Use them to represent initiatives, epics, features, themes, or events. Then edit their fill to show progress on those work items.

Select the progress object from the Advanced section of the Shapes menu. Then click your whiteboard to add the progress bar. Use the toolbar to customize your progress bar:

  • Change the progress bar's color, font color, style, text location, and text alignment from its toolbar.

  • Double-click the progress bar to edit text.

  • Drag the handle below the progress bar to adjust its fill.

  • Add an additional progress bar connected by an arrow by clicking the blue dot at either end of the bar. This can help you show a relationship — like a next step or a dependency — between the items the bars represent.

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Icons

Add icons to your whiteboard to represent specific themes or add personality to your whiteboard content. Icons can add context to your plans and are useful for scanning on expansive whiteboards that have a lot of content.

Select the icons option from your Advanced shapes menu. Click your whiteboard to add an icon. Then use its toolbar to select which icon you would like to display. There are many icons to choose from — use the search bar to narrow your choices. After you have selected your icon, you can use the toolbar to change its color, opacity, and border.

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Tables

Tables provide a flexible way to visualize and structure information on your whiteboard. Use tables for strategic activities like tracking dependencies, managing timelines, and prioritizing work. Or use them to structure content like project plans and meeting agendas.

To add a table, open the Shapes menu, then choose the table icon. Click your whiteboard to add a 3x3 table. Use the table's formatting bar to change its color or border. Change a column or row's dimensions by dragging gridlines between cells. Use the guides at the top of a column or the beginning of a row to rearrange its place in the table. You can also format cells individually — select a cell and right-click to change its color or add rows and columns relative to its position in the table.

You can add any type of content to the cells in your table. Drag a sticky note, shape, or text box into your table to add it to a cell. Once you have added an object to a cell, it will remain in that cell even as you rearrange columns, rows, or move your table to another area of your whiteboard. Drag and drop objects you have added to your table to move them to different cells.

Note: If you want to add text to a cell, add a text box from your Shapes menu.

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Timelines

Whiteboards are a great tool for brainstorming and ideation, but they are also very useful for early-stage planning. Add timelines to your whiteboard to visualize a time frame for work you would like to deliver. Then add progress bars to represent the work you want to accomplish during that time frame.Select the timeline object from the Advanced section of the Shapes menu. Then click your whiteboard to add a timeline.

By default, your timeline will be set for a three month time frame. Use its toolbar to format your timeline's color and opacity. You can also use the toolbar to select the time frame displayed on your timeline:

  • Select the time increments you want displayed in the dropdown menu in your toolbar. You can choose from Quarters, Months, Weeks, or Days. The Auto option will be selected by default and displays increments based on the size of your timeline.

  • Select a time frame. You can choose between 3M, 6M, 1Y, and Custom. The Custom option provides a calendar date selector for you to choose your own start and end dates.

  • Expand your timeline to expose more dates by dragging the handles at either end — use the left handle to add more dates at the beginning of your timeline and the right handle to add more dates at the end of your timeline.

After you have configured your timeline, you can add progress bars or the annotation shape to add details about what you plan to accomplish when.

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Add images

Select the Image tool on your whiteboard toolbar. Select an image from your computer and click Open. Your image will appear on your whiteboard. From there, you can resize, rotate, or move your image.


Note: Supported file types include .png and .jpg.

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Group, align, and reorder objects

Once you have added multiple items to a whiteboard, you can customize your whiteboard's layout by grouping, aligning, and ordering objects. Aligning objects can help you create neater, more visually appealing diagrams, flowcharts, and mind maps. And if you have multiple overlapping objects, select their order to show dimension or illustrate sequences.

Group objects

To group objects, select the area around the objects or hold the Shift key and click them one by one. Then use the Group button to group objects. Use the Ungroup button to reverse your action. Double-click an image in a group to edit it individually without ungrouping.

Align objects

To align objects, select the area around the objects or hold the Shift key and click them one by one. Then use the Align button to align the objects.

Reorder objects

If you have placed objects that are on top of one another or overlapping, you can customize their order by selecting and object and clicking the More options button. From here, you can choose to Bring to front or Send to back.

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Use whiteboard templates

Your Aha! subscription includes a library of prebuilt whiteboard templates with a range of product uses. These purpose-built templates were designed to support every step of the product development lifecycle. Add as many templates to a whiteboard as you want and organize them with frames to keep your whiteboard neat and easy to navigate.

Add a template to your whiteboard

Select the Template icon on your toolbar. From here, you can use the search bar at the top to find a specific template or select a template category on the left. Click a template to see its description. Click Use template to add the template to your whiteboard.

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10Ps marketing matrix

Define the essential elements of your go-to-market strategy.

Useful for: ✓ Strategy

How to use the 10Ps marketing matrix template:

  • Capture the fundamentals

  • Build out the matrix

  • Assemble your team

  • Plan and share

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2x2 prioritization matrix

Identify the most valuable projects to work on next with a 2x2 prioritization matrix.

Useful for: ✓ Research ✓ Strategy ✓ Planning

How to use the 2x2 prioritization matrix:

  • Create sticky notes to represent each upcoming project

  • Place sticky notes in the appropriate matrix section

  • Share findings with your team

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Brainstorming session

Quickly capture ideas, group them into themes, and identify solutions to any problem.

Useful for: ✓ Ideation ✓ Meetings

How to use the brainstorming session template:

  • Define the problem

  • Create sticky notes for each idea

  • Assign a color to each person

  • Organize your ideas into themes

  • Create sticky notes for solutions

  • Use 👍 to vote on the best ideas

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Business model

Align on how your company creates value by answering fundamental questions.

Useful for: ✓ Strategy

How to use this template:

  • Research the market

  • Build out components

  • Customize your template

  • Get to work

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Customer journey map

Collaborate with your team to identify improvements across the customer journey.

Useful for: ✓ Research

How to use the customer journey map:

  • Discuss each step of the customer journey row by row

  • Complete Actions for all steps before moving on to Touchpoints

  • Use sticky notes to capture data in each section

  • Identify solutions that will improve each step

  • Use 👍 to vote on the best ideas and solutions

  • Share findings with your team

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Kanban

Track tasks by status to stay on top of work in progress.

Useful for: ✓ Planning

How to use the kanban template:

  • Visualize your workflow

  • Limit WIP

  • Visualize roadblocks

  • Share with your team

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Lean canvas

Take a problem-focused approach to making an actionable business plan.

Useful for: ✓ Strategy

How to use this template:

  • Solve the problem

  • Position your product

  • Optimize workflows

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Mind map

Diagram each component of your customer experiences.

Useful for: ✓ Brainstorming

How to use the mind map:

  • Choose a central topic for your mind map to focus on

  • Break out related thoughts by adding branches

  • Click on one thought and select the blue dot to connect it to a new thought

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Porter's 5 forces

Analyze the market and competitive landscape as you plan for the future of the business.

Useful for: ✓ Strategy

How to use this template:

  • Conduct market research

  • Evaluate the competition

  • Apply your learnings

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Product roadmap

Communicate your product vision and put product plans into action.

Useful for: ✓ Planning ✓ Strategy

How to use the product roadmap:

  • Identify strategic initiatives

  • Identify key epics

  • Identify core features

  • Set a timeline

Use the Aha! Roadmaps roadmapping guide for inspiration.

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Pros and cons list

Be confident in your choices by weighing the positives and negatives.

Useful for: ✓ Research

How to use the pros and cons table:

  • Outline each choice with a name and brief description

  • List pros and cons on individual sticky notes

  • Summarize and share your recommendation

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SAFe PI board

Align on team goals, foster collaboration, and boost productivity. Facilitate your PI planning meeting and coordinate the delivery of your upcoming increment.

Useful for: ✓ Planning

How to use the SAFe PI board template:

  • Prepare for PI planning

  • Share your PI board

  • Create a high-level plan

  • Finalize the details

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SAFe PI planning

Use these four program increment (PI) planning templates to coordinate delivery across multiple agile teams.

Useful for: ✓ Planning

How to use this template:

  • Plan your program increment

  • Organize sprints by team

  • Assess program risks

  • Conduct a planning retrospective

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SAFe PI retrospective

Reflect on your PI planning session and take actionable steps to improve.

Useful for: ✓ Planning

How to use the SAFe PI retrospective template:

  • Share the whiteboard

  • Reflect on proceedings

  • Apply your learnings

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SAFe ROAM board

Categorize the risks in your SAFe program by resolved, owned, accepted, and mitigated work items.

Useful for: ✓ Planning

How to use the SAFe ROAM board template:

  • Identify the risks

  • Categorize and prioritize

  • Mitigate and update

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SAFe team sprint planning

Help each team in the agile release train create a sprint plan so they can effectively deliver the PI on time.

Useful for: ✓ Planning

How to use the SAFe team sprint planning template:

  • Outline the work

  • Create a sprint plan

  • Commit and regroup

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Segment profile

Define each group of customers, the market value of serving them, and a plan for your approach.

Useful for: ✓ Strategy

How to use the Segment profile template:

  • Define the segment

  • Research the potential

  • Outline your approach

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Sprint retrospective

Reflect on completed work as a team and identify ways to improve.

Useful for: ✓ Meetings

How to use the sprint retrospective template:

  • Reflect on the previous sprint

  • Assign a color to each person

  • Use sticky notes to share input

  • Use 👍 to vote on others' notes

  • Discuss as a team

  • Identify and assign action items

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Sticky note pack

Jot your ideas down on sticky notes.

Useful for: ✓ Ideation ✓ Design

How to use the sticky note pack:

  • Add your thoughts to a sticky note

  • Place the sticky note anywhere you need to point out relevant details

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SWOT analysis

Identify what you do well, what you can improve, and how you compare.

Useful for: ✓ Research

How to use the SWOT analysis:

  • Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

  • Use 👍 to vote on the most important items

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User story map

Virtually map out a user journey, and break it into prioritized user stories.

Useful for: ✓ Ideation ✓ Planning

How to use the user story map:

  • Frame the problem

  • Understand the product's users

  • Map activities and user stories

  • Flow and prioritize

  • Plan sprints and releases

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Organize your whiteboard

Use frames

You can keep your whiteboard tidy by adding frames. Use frames to organize your diagrams, templates, and other objects. Add frames and build diagrams within them or draw a frame around an area to group items together.

From your toolbar, select the frame icon and draw your frame. Then rename your frame by editing its Title field. The label you enter here will be used for the frame navigation in the lower right corner of your whiteboard.

Note: Your frame will be named by default as "Frame" plus a number, with the first frame being "Frame 1" and so on. Frames will appear in your navigation in the order that they were added to your whiteboard.

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Convert a whiteboard object to an Aha! record

Creative tools like whiteboards are great for sparking inspiration. In fact, that is how many product teams use them. The next brilliant idea may stem from a collaborative session, a weekly team meeting, or a personal whiteboard. Put that idea into action by promoting items on your whiteboard to work on your product roadmap immediately — then go back later and add in important details.

On your whiteboard, an object that has been converted to a record will display a link icon in its lower left corner. Clicking the link will open the record's drawer view, where you can edit and update the record's details.

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Convert to features

  • Use the More options button or right-click on a shape, sticky note, or text box and select Convert to feature.

  • Select a Release. You can select any release in any workspace or workspace line that you have access to.

  • Edit the feature's Name.

  • Click Create feature.

You will find your newly created feature record in release and workspace you selected. You will find a link to the whiteboard where the feature originated from its Related tab.

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Convert to epics

  • Use the More options button or right-click on a shape, sticky note, or text box and select Convert to epic.

  • Select a Release. You can select any release in any workspace or workspace line that you have access to.

  • Edit the epic's Name.

  • Click Create epic.

You will find your newly created epic in the release and workspace you selected. You will find a link to the whiteboard where the epic originated in its Related tab.

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Aha! Roadmaps