Aha! Develop | Introduction to workflow boards

Use kanban-style workflow boards in Aha! Develop to pull in and manage your team's work. This makes it easy to visualize the status of work by individual, team, status, or custom swimlane.

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Overview

The workflow board can function as either a kanban or scrum board, depending on whether your team is using sprints.

  • If you follow a kanban approach, you can easily pull work onto the board with the Import sidebar.

  • If your team uses iterations, you will only see work assigned to the active sprint on a workflow board. You can pull in more using the Import or Backlog sidebar.

  • If you are an Advanced plan customer and have integrated your Aha! Develop account with Aha! Roadmaps, you can also pull work from the Prioritized backlog, or navigate to an Aha! Roadmaps workspace and pull work directly into your workflow board.

    Note: If you are an Advanced plan customer and want to disable the Prioritized backlog so that your team pulls work directly from the Import or Backlog sidebars, you can disable it in Settings ⚙️ Team Configure Backlog management.

No matter your set up, the workflow board visualizes your team's work so that you can track progress and pinpoint bottlenecks.

To access a workflow board, navigate to Work My board or Work Team board. Any user in your Aha! Develop account with at least contributor user permissions can add and manage work on the workflow boards.

There are two workflow boards to choose from. Click the Board type buttons at the top left of a board to switch between the views:

  • My board shows work assigned to you by status. This way you can track your own work.

  • Team board shows work assigned to every member of your team grouped in swimlanes by assignee. This way you can track what each team member is progressing on in one view — including work that is not yet assigned.

Use the tag and epics filters at the top of the page for a more focused view of a workflow board.

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Enable backlog management

The backlog management page helps you organize and define work before your team commits to it. Since work can come to your team through a variety of sources — importers, Aha! Roadmaps, and records you create yourself — it can be helpful to see it in one place so you know your team is always working on the most valuable items.

Whether your team prefers sprints or kanban, you can use backlog management to focus your workflow board. To do this, navigate to Settings ⚙️ Team Configure Backlog management.

  • Scrum teams will need to enable backlog management to use sprints. They can use the workflow board to see all work in the current sprint — or pull in more work from importers, the backlog, or the prioritized backlog.

  • Kanban teams can choose whether to enable backlog management.

    • If enabled, your team can access backlog management and pull records from various sources into the Prioritized backlog. The workflow board will only show records you pull onto the board.

    • If disabled, your team will not be able to access backlog management. All records assigned to your team will appear on the workflow board.

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Customize your board

Customize your boards to match your team's workflow. You will need to be an administrator with customizations permissions to do this.

Note: Every user on your team uses the same workflow board, so any changes you make to it will affect every member of your team. If multiple teams use the same workflow, then changes you make to your board will affect those teams' boards as well. Navigate to Settings ⚙️ Account Statuses and workflows to see which teams use your workflow.

  • To reorder a status, click and drag it to a new location.

  • To rename a status, click on the More options button at the top of the column, then Edit status.

  • To delete a status, click on the More options button at the top of the column, then Delete status.

  • To add a new status, scroll to the far-right side of the page and click Add column +.

  • To set a work in progress limit, click on the More options button at the top of a column, then Set column limit.

  • To remove a work in progress limit, click on the More options button at the top of the column, then Remove column limit.

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Change board view

As an individual user, you can collapse or expand individual status columns, then save and share that board view with any one on your team.

  • Click on any status column's chevron to Collapse or Expand it. Collapsed columns are not deleted, just hidden.

You can also customize the layout of the workflow board's record cards. The customizations you make will be unique to you and not impact other users in your team.

Click the gear icon ⚙️, then click Customize card layout to get started.

  • You can customize card layouts for Epics, Features, and Requirements. Click the appropriate record type's tab to customize it.

  • Click the View buttons on the right to see how the card will display in an Expanded or Collapsed view.

  • For features and requirements, click the toggle to show or hide the record's Parent record on the card.

Then, customize the card layout:

  • Select the fields you want to add to the card layout. If you have a lot of available fields, use the Search at the top of the tab to find the one you need. You can also collapse Standard fields or Custom fields to just see one type of field.

  • Drag and drop fields onto a card to add them. Click the X beside a field to remove it.

  • You can drop fields next to others on the same row, or beneath the bottom row of fields to create a new row on the layout.

Click Reset to default to revert your changes to the default layout, Cancel to exit the modal or Save to save your work.

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Add work

Work moves from left to right across a workflow board. If your team uses sprints, you will see the Backlog sidebar on the left and can pull work from it. All teams will see the Import sidebar.

Note: If you are an Advanced plan customer and want to disable the Prioritized backlog so that your team pulls work directly from the Import or Backlog sidebars, you can disable it in Settings ⚙️ Team Configure Backlog management.

Click Import on the left to expand the Import sidebar and pull work items from other sources.

  • Aha! Roadmaps, available for accounts that have integrated with Aha! Roadmaps, shows you a list of all Aha! Roadmaps workspaces you have access to. Select a workspace to see a list of that workspace's releases and every work item in each release. If you see something in there that should be assigned to your team, drag it into the middle of the backlog management page.
    Remember, in this integration product and engineering teams share the same work items — no need to map fields back and forth. Each team has unique statuses to match their unique workflows. Assigning a record to your team will not disturb the product team's release plan.

  • Aha! Ideas, available for all accounts that have integrated with Aha! Roadmaps and have configured an Aha! Roadmaps workspace to allow ideas imports, shows you a list of all ideas associated with a workspace. Drag an idea your team wants to work on into your backlog or click the Filters button to filter the list of ideas by Status, ideas Category, or ideas Portal. When you do, that idea becomes a feature assigned to your team and retains a link back to the original idea so you can automatically update idea subscribers on your team's progress.

  • More applications, available to every Aha! Develop account, provides a list of importers (you can also build your own importer!). Use importers to copy work items one at a time into Aha! Develop and create them there as Aha! Develop records. For example, you may pull support tickets escalated to engineering support or decide to investigate persistent Sentry errors.

In addition to importing work, you can also create work directly on the workflow board.

  • Hover over a status on the board and click Add feature to create a feature quickly. You will need to have contributor user permissions for a given team to be able to create work on that team's board.

  • Click on any record you have just created to open its drawer view and add or adjust information.

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Add swimlanes

The workflow board groups records in columns based on status by default. You can see all the work assigned to you (or your team) at a glance and how far it has progressed through its workflow.

For added visibility into your planned work, you can add horizontal swimlanes to your workflow board. To do this, navigate to a workflow board and select an option from the Group by dropdown. You can group work by the following standard and custom fields:

Standard fields:

  • None

  • Assignee

  • Epic

  • Feature

  • Release

  • Aha! Roadmaps workspace

Custom fields:

Note: These custom field types guarantee that a record will never exist in more than one swimlane in the workflow board.

  • Predefined choice lists

  • Editable choice lists

You get more visibility into work in progress with swimlanes. This might inspire you to change how you manage the work assigned to your team (or yourself!). There a few details to note when managing work on a board with swimlanes enabled:

  • You can change any record's status by dragging it to a new status column.

  • If you have grouped records by Assignee, you can change a record's assignee by dragging it to a different swimlane.

  • If you have grouped records by a custom field, you can change the custom field value on a record by dragging it to a different swimlane. For example, if you have a predefined choice list custom field to indicate a record's urgency, you could drag a feature from Major to Critical to change that feature's urgency.

The swimlanes you add apply only to your specific user — so Group by selections you make to your Team board will not change anyone else's view.

Want to share your workflow board view? Click the Export button in the upper right corner of the board and export it as a static image (.png or .pdf), or, for accounts integrated with Aha! Roadmaps, you can add the view to an Aha! presentation.

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Manage work

Any user with contributor user permissions in a team can manage work for that team. Use the filters at the top of the page to filter for work that matches the Users, Tags, or Epics you want to focus on.

Then, address the work itself:

  • Click on any record to open its drawer view. From here, you can:

    • Adjust information in the record description or custom fields.

    • Adjust the record's Estimate, or Log time spent on a record, in either hours or story points.

    • Comment on the record to start a discussion.

    • Assign or resolve to-dos.

  • Drag any record to a different status to move it along its workflow.

  • On the Team board, group records by Assignee, then drag any record to a different user's swimlane to change the record's assignee.

Once your team has completed several items, the Done column will start to accumulate records. Use the Completed records filter at the top of the page to remove records from the Done column that are no longer relevant to your team. You can filter that column to records completed within the last day, seven days (default), 14 days, and 30 days.
Note: The Completed records filter will not appear on workflow boards if your team uses sprints to manage work.

If your team uses parking lots, navigate to Work Details to see a detailed view of a single parking lot and all the records within it.

Finally, navigate to Work List to leave the kanban boards and view your work in a list report. From here, add filters or adjust data columns to analyze your work in the context of a list. Click on any work item to open a drawer view and see more details.

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Highlight stalled records

Ideally, your team's work moves through its workflow efficiently. If something gets stuck midway, that can be a sign that the work is inadequately defined — or that your team has a bottleneck. You can highlight records that have spent a long time in a particular workflow status by customizing the card layouts on your workflow board, filtering your board, or customizing your reports.

To do this:

  • Click the Customize cards ⚙️ dropdown and select Customize card layout.

  • Under Time in team status select the Time in team status icon and drag it onto the Epics, Features, and/or Requirements card layouts.

  • Click Save to save your changes.

Records in progress on your workflow board will now display a timer for how long each record has been in its current status. If this timer looks too long — for example, if a feature has been In progress for a week — then you can have a conversation with your team about impediments and prioritization.

You can also filter your workflow board by record age. To do this:

  • Adjust the Days in status filter to show records on your board that have been in their current status for a particular number of days.

Finally, it can be useful to analyze records that spent a long time in a given status. To do this:

  • Navigate to the Work List page.

  • Add a Data column for Record time in team status.

  • Add a filter for Record days in team status.

Analyze the available data as you see fit — sort the list view by records that spent the longest time in their current status, or filter by a particular number of days in a workflow status.

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Report on work (Advanced plan)

If you have enabled Aha! Develop Advanced functionality in your Aha! account, you can visualize your team's productivity over time with the throughput report. As your team completes records each week, you can compare team productivity week-over-week — and gain insights into how team performance is trending over time.

To reach this report, navigate to Reports Throughput. From here, configure your report:

  • Set the Time period you want to use. The default is 6 weeks.

  • Select the User(s) you want to see in your report. The default is All users — your entire team.

  • Select the whether you would like to visualize throughput by Records completed or by time logged against Estimates (by time or story points).

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Share progress

Workflow boards help you manage your work and track your team's progress. When it is time to share that progress (or document changes), you have a few options open to you:

  • Click Save view to save your current workflow board view, including any columns you have collapsed or expanded. When you save a view, you will have the option to name it, choose who you wish to share your saved view with, and select if others can edit the view. The Views dropdown lets you access any view you have ever saved.

  • Click the Export button in the upper-right corner to export a static image of your board as a PNG image or PDF document.

  • Use notes to document process changes, key information, or resource libraries in a wiki format.

  • If you are an Advanced plan customer who has integrated with Aha! Roadmaps, add your workflow board to an Aha! presentation.

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