Strategic initiatives are high-level efforts that help you achieve your goals. Adding initiatives to Aha! enables you to weave the "red thread of strategy" throughout your roadmapping process. Every release you plan will have a purpose of driving towards one or more of your initiatives. Features can be directly linked to the initiative they impact — agile teams will use initiatives as EPICs. Linking releases and features to initiatives ensures that the product team is working on what matters.
Initiatives are often achievable within 3-12 months but can sometimes be longer term. They are a powerful construct in Aha! because they can be set at every level in your hierarchy and rolled up from product to company level. For example, "expand into China" at the product level may take 12 months, but it's rolled up to the product line initiative "Expand internationally" — which will take two years.
Once you enter your initiatives, you can track and share them with your team and key stakeholders through Aha! Notebooks. Explain the relative value and effort of each initiative by manually dragging them to the right place on the chart. Based on relative value and effort, these initiatives can then be ranked or ordered within the list, and the Initiative Rank can be exposed as an attribute in the Reporting area. You can show your progress by setting it from the Progress dropdown menu next to the initiative below the chart.
You can also link your related goals and initiatives to the time frame in which they are expected to be completed within. This allows teams to do long-term strategic planning and then filter based on time frame to keep the team focused on what is next.
Examples of initiatives:
- Performance improvements
- UI Improvements
- Better reporting
- Language localization
- Expand into China
- Expand internationally
- Self-serviceability improvements
- Better analytics
To add initiatives, go to the Strategy > Initiatives page. Aha! will prompt you to add an initiative if you haven't already done so. To add a new initiative, simply click Add initiative. Enter the initiative name (and a description, if you wish). Roll it up to its parent initiative and/or select the goal(s) it drives.
Link initiatives to goals
While initiatives can be independent entities (such as when you use them as EPICs), you may link initiatives to goals when the initiative is driving the team to achieve that objective. Simply click on the Goals box on the right and add goals that are at the same level or higher in the product hierarchy.
For example, you may have a goal of being #1 in mobile in your market. You can link initiatives related to enhancing your iOS and Android apps directly to that objective. You may also have a goal at a product line level above that, to grow by 2X in 2015. If enhancing your mobile apps will impact that goal, you may link those initiatives to the product line level goal as well. Link your goals to initiatives from either the Goals or the Initiatives pages.
Link initiatives to releases and features
Ensure that you're planning what matters by linking releases to the initiatives they deliver against. By considering which initiatives (and goals) a release helps impact, you can identify what matters (and what doesn't). Having initiatives clearly defined helps keep the team on track and enables you to tell key stakeholders why your plan is the best strategy.
It is important to link features to initiatives in order to indicate strategic importance behind why features are being prioritized. You can create this link directly during your top-down design from the initiatives detail page by clicking the + icon next to the features section. You can also create the relationship to an initiative directly in the detail view of releases and features. Simply open a release and select an initiative from the Initiatives field as shown below.
Filter, chart and compare initiatives
You can filter your initiatives to communicate which ones are completed, in progress, not yet started, or any other custom statuses that you have set up through clicking the filter icon on the top left of the Strategy > Initiatives page.
You can visualize your initiatives on the chart to help you better understand which initiatives to pursue. Drag your initiatives on the chart to compare them as they relate to one another in the context of your goals or your product. Click on the existing default labels and axis values on the grid to edit them, and type in the new value or metric. Customize this text to use terminology that fits how you want to map them.