October 10, 2016 custom fields update

We are about to change the way that custom fields work. The change should be seamless for most customers. We know that custom fields are highly flexible today and widely used -- but all of that flexibility is causing confusion and problems for some of you. We are going to fix that and enable additional capabilities with this upcoming change.

On October 15, 2016 custom field configuration will be moving from the product level to the account level.

Here is why we are making this change. It will:

Reduce complexity and waste With the current behavior, custom fields defined at the product line level are automatically inherited by all of their children products. This means that a custom field that you set up at a product line is also visible for all of its products, even if the custom field is only useful at the product line level. This clutters the UI unnecessarily.

Eliminate duplicate custom fields There is currently a lot of room for confusion depending on where you add custom fields in your product hierarchy. For example, you could create a custom field for “revenue" in one product. Then later, the owner of another product within that same account adds another custom field for “revenue." The account now has duplicate custom fields. Moving custom fields to the account level eliminates this possibility. You can both use one custom field.

Simplify reporting across your products Currently, as described above you can have two separate custom fields with the same name in two different products. This can be frustrating when trying to report on or filter those fields because you do not know which one to choose for your report. Custom fields at the account level will streamline reporting.

Enable moving records between products We do not allow some records (like goals and initiatives) to be moved between products today. That is because if you moved a record from one product to another that already had the same custom field, the action could result in data loss. After this change, we will soon be able to implement support for moving custom field records more freely between products.

Control the visibility of custom fields When custom fields are moved to the account level, we will also introduce a new feature that allows more control over where custom fields appear in the user interface. But don't worry, the initial configuration will keep the same visibility that you have in your account today. We will share more on this next week.

How to prepare for the change to custom fields To ensure a seamless transition for customers currently using custom fields, a back-end migration will be run by our development team. Exact-match, duplicate fields will be automatically merged together into a single, account-level field.

We will be able to merge custom fields when they have the following characteristics:

  • Identical field names

  • Identical field API keys

  • Identical field types

  • Identical field values (for predefined value fields)

If you have a custom field where the names and keys match but the type or values do not, the field will not be merged. Instead, those fields will be migrated and handled as separate fields differentiated by appending a numerical suffix to the API key.

Here is an example of how the migration will work when similiar but not exact match custom fields exist:

  1. For example, let's imagine you have a field named "Customer" that exists in two different products where each field uses the same API key, "Customer."

  2. However, each version of the field has a different pre-defined list of customers unique to its product.

  3. The result will be two "Customer" fields migrated to your account where the first has the API key "Customer" and the second has the key "Customer1."

This is particularly important for customers making use of the REST API with custom fields, as you may need to make adjustments to how you are integrating with Aha!

Because we are moving custom fields to the account level, we also introduced additional levels of Admin user permissions to provide more granular control over who can do what.

While the migration is performed, Aha! will function as normal with one exception. There may be a short period during which custom fields values are not visible in the user interface. Once the migration is complete, the custom fields will become visible again.

For the majority of customers, the move of custom fields to the account level will be seamless. If you have questions about how the migration will work, please let us know. It will follow the rules outlined above.

Our Customer Success team (all former product managers) is here to help. If you have any questions, email us at support@aha.io.