Aha! Roadmaps | Frameworks

An agreed-upon product development process is essential for team success. But even if you try to standardize how you build software, it is incredibly challenging to get teams aligned. You might have an idea of how you should work — but that does not mean it lines up with how you do work.

Aha! product development framework in a whiteboard

Frameworks help the team define and diagram their methodology or processes — from setting strategy to measuring value delivered to customers. This makes it easy to standardize how you work.

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Best practices

Documenting your product development framework is an ambitious (and rewarding) undertaking. Walk through these best practices before you start:

  • Start at the line level: Define your framework at the top of your workspace hierarchy — at the product portfolio or even company level — so every workspace can approach product development the same way. Individual workspaces can inherit frameworks from parent lines, but you can also Copy the parent line's framework to create an adjusted version for your own team.

  • Use a pre-built framework: Your Aha! account includes three pre-built framework templates. These templates cover the most common development methodologies as well as The Aha! Framework for product development. Each one comes with defined activities and detailed best practices. Add the appropriate template and personalize it to your use case.

  • Build from scratch: You always have the option to build your framework from the ground up. Use any whiteboard object or template to visualize your methodology, and convert individual objects into formal steps in your framework. The Build your own template comes stocked whiteboard objects that you can use to design a custom framework.

Start with ideation templates to help you define your framework before you begin designing it.

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Add a framework

To add a framework, navigate to Knowledge Frameworks. Click Add framework and select a template:

  • The Aha! Framework: This template shares our strategic approach to agile work for the first time. You can use it as a blueprint for your own success.

  • Scrum: Visualize your team's agile workflow, using sprints to iterate toward a lovable product.

  • Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®): Visualize how your team follows SAFe while planning and delivering software.

You can use Aha! Whiteboards to run through program increment (PI) planning from start to finish.

  • Build your own: Use a template stocked with all the shapes you need to design your own framework.

After you add a framework, click its name to adjust it.

  • Description: Use this area to provide more high-level detail about the framework. Insert a table to organize relevant information, or use the AI assistant to give you a first draft. Just like an Aha! record's description, you can also attach files that help describe the step visually.

  • Duration: Select how many months it will take to cycle through the framework.

  • Starting month: Select the starting month for the first cycle.

  • Color: Select the framework's color. You will see the color on the framework page's sidebar.

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Edit a framework

After you add a pre-built framework, you should review it. Make sure the steps match your team's actual workflow and adjust any instructions or descriptions.

To do this:

  • Click Enable editing in the top-right corner.

Everything in the template is editable, and you have access to the full whiteboard toolbar. It might make sense to review the framework first and note areas you would like to adjust.

Start with the overall design:

  • Does the framework include the high-level phases you need?

  • Do the steps follow one another in a way that reflects your workflow?

  • Do you want to adjust the colors to match company or product branding guidelines?

Next, let's look at the steps.

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Populate steps

Open a drawer view of each step of the framework to see more details (such as an overview and key resources).

Note: Many of the objects in the pre-built framework templates are steps, but you can convert any whiteboard object that contains text to a step. To do this, right-click it and select Convert to step.

Each step has five main components:

  • Name: The step's Name will also change the step's text in the framework.

  • Description: Use this area to provide more high-level detail about the step. Insert a table to organize the information. (You can save this table format as a custom template to use for other steps). Or use the AI assistant to generate a first draft. Just like an Aha! record's description, you can also attach files or create a whiteboard to help describe the step visually.

  • Overview: Use this tab to define:

    • Location: Where the work for the step is done (e.g. the initiatives chart, or the features board)

    • Starts: A date (e.g., January 15) or time frame (e.g., EOY, Q1) when the step should start

    • Duration: How many weeks the step should take

    • Stakeholders: Specific users in your Aha! account who are responsible for the step's success or who need to approve the step before it is complete

  • Resources: Use this tab to record:

    • Instructions: Links to notes and whiteboards or external links that help define how your team should complete this step

    • Meetings: Meetings for gathering stakeholder alignment or reporting on progress. Document your meeting notes here, along with any resources that meeting attendees might need to review, vote on, or interact with.

  • History: Review an audit log of changes to the step.

Finally, you can also link to an individual step elsewhere in your Aha! account. Click the Step icon in the top-left corner so you can refer back to it.

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Use frameworks

Frameworks are a powerful tool for coalescing your team's product development workflows into one standardized methodology. But they will only help you if they drive real change across your team.

First, use the framework to adjust your Aha! account configuration:

  • Create standardized record description templates. This ensures that as team members create and manage work in your Aha! account, they use your framework's terminology, are aware of its timeline, and can reference individual steps.

  • Adjust your release templates to fit the framework's timeline.

  • Link to the framework — or key steps in it — in your product team's meeting template so every meeting starts with framework alignment.

You will then prepare a framework kickoff:

  • Just like a product launch kickoff, consider a formal meeting to align everyone around the framework and answer any questions.

  • Celebrate the foundational accomplishment of a visual framework.

Finally, review your framework annually to ensure it still defines the best way for your team to deliver lovable software.

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