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Aha! Develop | Create SAFe program increments (Advanced plan)

Large enterprises often need sophisticated development frameworks to plan, prioritize, and deliver against their ambitious goals. The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) helps large organizations organize multiple teams into agile release trains (ARTs) so they can coordinate delivery across the same sprint cadence.

If your organization follows SAFe, you can structure your Aha! Develop account to create and manage program increments — to create greater alignment across your teams.

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User permissions

Action

User permission

Create team lines

Administrator with customization privileges

Create program increments

Owner

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Organize teams into team lines

Use team lines to group multiple Aha! Develop teams together. You need to be an administrator with customization privileges to do this.

  • Navigate to Settings ⚙️ Account Customizations Teams. If you have already created multiple teams, this page will list all teams across your Aha! Develop account.

  • Click Add team line to create a new team line.

    • Name the team line. This team line is synonymous with your agile release train.

    • Create the record Prefix that all records created in the team line should use (e.g. ENG, DEV, ART).

    • Select teams to group under this team line. Once you create a sprint cadence for a program increment, each of these teams will complete sprints in the same cadence.
      Note: You cannot add teams to a program increment once it has been created.

    • Click Create team line to create your new team line.

  • Once you have created your team line you can choose to Edit it and add team members directly to it. While any administrator in your Aha! account can access your team line, you may choose to have a subset of owners with access to the team line — but not account level permissions. If so, add those users here.

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Create program increments

Use the team hierarchy dropdown in the upper left of your screen to navigate to your new team line. This is where you will create program increments, define sprint cadence and monitor progress against your planned work.

  • From the team line settings (Settings ⚙️ Team line), configure settings that the child teams can inherit. Settings like consistent terminology, custom layouts, or custom record workflows orient each team towards their work in the same way.

  • Navigate to Plan Program increments and click Add program increments.

    • Name your program increment, and add a Description if you choose. This is a good place to document your vision for the PI.

    • Set the Date range for the PI. Sprints will be generated automatically to fill this range, at the Sprint cadence you select.

    • Select a Sprint cadence. Once you click Create sprints and confirm that the sprint schedule looks appropriate, sprints will be created in each child team at the same cadence, so every team has the same rhythm of work.

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Customize program increments

Because every team in the agile release train is aligned around it, the program increment is a key locus for business critical information. You can customize a program increment to track this information.

  • Set the Progress calculation to Calculate from sprints completed. Sprint progress will now roll up to PI progress.

  • Add appropriate stakeholders as Watchers. Watchers will receive notifications about PI progress.

  • If you have integrated your Aha! Develop account with Aha! Roadmaps, link your PI to strategic Initiatives, so the product team can track initiative progress against PI progress, and so everyone contributing to a PI knows how their work contributes to product strategy.

  • Add a custom field to the PI custom layout. Custom fields can capture any information critical to PI planning, progress, and successful completion.

  • Click the More options menu and Create a new custom layout for the program increment. Custom layouts organize fields on an Aha! record, so you can highlight the most important information.

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Move work into sprints

You have created the team hierarchy and PI structure to deliver against your plan. Now it is time to prioritize work, estimate effort, and assign records to sprints. PI planning is a sophisticated collaboration between product and development teams, and the end result is cross-functional alignment on the strategic mission, cross-functional dependencies, and required capacity it will take to realize your strategy.

Whether you choose to meet in person with the rest of the ART or complete distributed PI planning, you can use your Aha! account to define and schedule work.

  • Product team: If you have integrated your Aha! Develop account with Aha! Roadmaps, product managers can add the Program increment field to their custom layouts, then link product work directly to the PI. Strategic record links, custom fields, and product value scores give development teams strategic context, though it is up to development to estimate work and break it down into user stories.

  • Development team: Each team will create the technical work necessary to achieve the PI vision — and break down the strategic product work into user stories. Estimate the effort (in time or story points) necessary to complete the work, then move records into their individual sprints. On the Sprint planning or Board pages, select Program increments from the sidebar on the left to see any records that have been linked to the PI but not yet assigned to a sprint.
    Note: This is a good opportunity to manage sprint capacity by individual team members, so you can more accurately predict how much work a team can achieve in each sprint.

Use the Related tab on any individual record to add dependencies to other records in the PI.

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Deliver against your plan

Time to get to work — and manage the PI. Reports and visualizations in your Aha! account help you identify dependency conflicts, mitigate risks, and report on progress.

  • Team line: As each team starts and completes sprints, you can view progress from Sprints tab of the program increment in the team line. If you need more detail, click into an individual sprint.

  • Team: Use the reports available in each team to review burndown and velocity for sprints or individual team members.

  • Aha! Roadmaps: Aha! Roadmaps users can use the Program increment field in reports, charts, and roadmaps, so they can visualize progress and mine the work for deeper insights.

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