Features are incremental additions of business value for your customers. There are several ways to flag features with additional key business details so that the work is easy to tie into business strategy, while also efficiently assigning and scheduling them for development.
It's important to pick the right type of flag (initiative link, tag, custom table, or custom field), based on how you want to report the feature details and track the feature through the development process.
Initiatives are for higher level strategic themes that are driving your goals. If goals are where you want to be, initiatives are your strategic "initiative" roadmap to get there.
Initiatives then, ultimately, get broken into releases and features. Individual features can be linked directly to strategic initiatives to provide the "work" detail behind your strategy execution, and to confirm that the feature is aligned with your initiatives. If a feature cannot be linked to an initiative, it's time to revisit its overall priority within your strategy.
Consider what other metadata you need to consistently collect for features - all of the details you'd like to capture - so that later on you can answer any question.
These are just some examples of consistent detail on features you may wish to track:
- Which component of the product it affects
- The target personas
- Priority "bucket" (P1, 2 and 3)
- Whether it's front-end or back-end development
- The geographic region driving the feature
For these well-defined data areas, create custom fields with their own labels so it's obvious where to capture this information. Custom fields provide structure around the data captured, such as numbers only or a limited drop-down of choices (you can add pop-up descriptions to custom fields, as well).
In some cases custom fields are only a start -- this is where custom tables come in. Custom tables are only available to Enterprise+ customers. A custom table is a collection of records organized in a table with data defined by custom fields. With custom tables you can capture key business information to expand your use of custom fields exponentially.
The following are a few examples of the expanded data you may wish to associate with a feature:
- Customers who have requested the feature and all the associated customer data
- Budgets for the teams involved in the feature's go-to-market
- User interviews and the direct feedback as it relates to the feature
By managing this information directly in Aha! you can make better prioritization decisions based upon internal and external business factors, and share the most important information related to your product plans and roadmaps.
Tags can be tricky to define, because they are different for everyone. Use the tags field for the other "stuff" you want to capture, but that really doesn't warrant its own custom field.
Perhaps as a product owner, you wish to temporarily flag certain features for a highlight in an upcoming conference or event; a tag is a great way to do so, and provides the marketing team a way to quickly report on those conference highlights. After the conference, the tag can be deleted.
Leveraging all these flags (initiatives, tags, custom fields, custom tables) at the feature level will enable you to publish your roadmaps with these key business details highlighted when needed.