Configuring Aha! for Pragmatic Marketing alignment

Pragmatic Marketing is a well-established product management and marketing framework with its origins dating back to 1993. Their training and practice aids provide a blue print to guide product teams in taking an "outside in" approach to delivering market and problem focused solutions. It has been widely adopted by product managers the world over and the Customer Success team at Aha! is well represented with former Pragmatic Marketing certified practitioners. 

Pragmatic Marketing and Aha! - philosophical alignment

A common question we hear is does Aha! work with Pragmatic Marketing? The answer is yes it does and there are many Aha! customers that are following the Pragmatic Marketing framework in their usage of Aha! The good fit between the framework and the application begins with philosophical alignment. Both companies share the following common ground in their core beliefs:

  • Products should be driven from a strategic point of view, understanding that having a sound strategy is fundamental to delivering successful products.
  • Aim to assist the product manager with finding the right balance and alignment between strategic and tactical activities.
  • Recognize that product management owns the "what" while engineering owns the "how".

The framework & product intersection

The primary points of alignment of the Pragmatic Marketing framework and Aha! are in the areas of strategic and tactical roadmap planning. The MARKET, FOCUS, BUSINESS and PLANNING activities align well with Aha!'s emphasis on defining the "Why" [Strategy], the "When" [Releases], and the "What" [Features] for your products.

The resulting plans facilitate buy-in and transparency with key stakeholders and help the cross-functional product team with managing product launch activities. Most activities centered on PROGRAMS, READINESS, and SUPPORT are commonly owned by Marketing and Sales Support teams.  

 

Configuring Aha! for the Pragmatic Marketing framework

Some Pragmatic Marketing activities are inherently designed into the Aha! application. For those that are not, the flexible nature of Aha! for customizing terminology and modifying templates makes it easy to add them. The primary modules and views in Aha! that are configured in accordance with the Pragmatic Marketing framework are as follows: 

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Positioning your product in the Product Overview [MARKET, FOCUS, PLANNING]

Use the Pragmatic Marketing Positioning template to define your product and market in the Product -> Overview page. This provides valuable insight for sales, marketing, and other cross-functional product team members in support of their product launch deliverables. 

Configuring strategic activities [MARKET, FOCUS, BUSINESS, and PLANNING]

Many of the MARKET, FOCUS, BUSINESS, and PLANNING activities are captured within the Aha! Strategy module. 

  • Strategy -> Vision: Your vision represents the core essence of the product and sets the direction for where it is going. Customize the components to capture key MARKET, FOCUS, BUSINESS, AND PLANNING activities identified in your team's Pragmatic Marketing action plan. Activities such as Market Problems, Distinctive Competence, Market Definition, Competitive Landscape, Personas and Buying Process are commonly summarized here. 

 

  • Strategy -> Business Model: The Business Model tab allows you to capture the essence of your Pragmatic Marketing Business Plan on a single page. Customize the components to represent the business plan attributes found in the Pragmatic Marketing business plan template -- Market Problems, Solution Definition, Market Definition, Distribution Strategy, Competitive Landscape, Product Portfolio (how it fits with other products), Buy-Build-Partner Strategy, Revenue Projections, and Cost Projections.  
  • Strategy -> Personas: Personas are fundamental to the Pragmatic Marketing framework and allow the entire team to empathize with your customers' pain points and better understand their point of view. Marketing is able to better tailor the product marketing message and developers are able to create a better user experience as a result. The Personas tab allows you to create and customize user and buyer personas and link them to requirements & use scenarios (i.e. Features in Aha!) through persona custom fields
  • Strategy -> Competitors: Define the Competitive Landscape by creating profiles on your competitors in the Competitor details view and visualizing how your products stack up relative to the competition in the Competitor matrix view. 
  • Strategy -> Goals: While Pragmatic Marketing doesn't have a specific framework activity dedicated to goals, the importance of having quantifiable goals at the center of the product launch process is a point of emphasis. Aha! allows you to define and align your goals at each level of your business and link them to releases and features to ensure you are building what matters most. 
  • Strategy -> Initiatives: Initiatives are used to represent themes or large efforts that typically span multiple releases and are required for achieving your goals. There is flexibility for how you decide to use them relative to the Pragmatic Marketing framework. They can be used to represent significant market themes or innovations of which specific requirements are linked. They can also be used to represent large requirements consisting of work on numerous use scenarios spanning multiple releases and potentially multiple products across the portfolio.    
  • Product -> Notes: Remaining activities that are not inherently built into the data model or appropriately captured through the customizable components above are best managed as unstructured data documents. The Product -> Notes wiki-style page provides the perfect repository to organize all unstructured data for your products. Use the built-in text editor to create, copy, and store many of the Pragmatic Marketing templates such as the positioning document, marketecture worksheet, and interview matrix worksheet to name a few. Use @mention or #mention functionality to collaborate with colleagues on notes or to link them to other data objects. 

Defining and prioritizing requirements and use scenarios [PLANNING]

Pragmatic Marketing defines requirements as market problems to be solved. Requirements consist of use scenarios written as stories to provide additional context. Each requirement and corresponding use scenario(s) are linked to personas and need to be prioritized. Aha! has each of these covered in the following ways:

  • Features -> Board: This is where Product Managers will spend their time defining requirements as market problems and use scenarios. Features in Aha! are two levels - the feature serves as the parent and consists of children requirements. You can choose to capture requirements and use scenarios in the following ways:
    • Aha! Features = Requirements and contain Use Scenario(s) in the description.
    • Aha! Features = Requirements and Aha! Requirements = Use Scenarios. This approach makes sense if requirements commonly consist of multiple use scenarios. You should customize the terminology so the main navigation and all references to Features appear as Requirements and Aha! Requirements appear as Use Scenarios in the user interface. 
    • Strategy -> Initiatives = large scale market problems/Requirements and Aha! Features = Use Scenarios. This mapping makes sense if you have requirements consisting of work spanning multiple releases and/or involving multiple products.  
  • Create a Pragmatic Marketing requirements template that will automatically appear each time a product manager creates a new feature.

  • Link Requirements to personas through persona custom fields. This will allow for creating requirement reports by persona as illustrated in Pragmatic Marketing templates. 
  • Prioritize Requirements using scorecards. You can configure the scorecard metrics to use the scoring approach recommended by Pragmatic Marketing consisting of Market Evidence * Impact to derive an overall prioritization score. 

Collecting and curating requirements from customers [PLANNING]

You can choose to provide your customers - both internal and external - with an idea portal for submitting their market problems/requirements to the product team for consideration. Aha! idea portals allow you to collect, curate, and ultimately promote ideas into features or initiatives to ensure that key feedback and requests are seamlessly integrated into your product planning and development processes.

The product team may also choose to manage all their requirements initially as ideas for the vetting and prioritization process. This helps to keep the Features backlog restricted to only those requirements that have been validated and deemed worthy for inclusion into an upcoming release.

The idea scorecard can be customized in the same manner as outlined above for features to align with the Pragmatic Marketing scoring methodology. If you assign the same custom scorecard to both ideas and features for a product, the score will be carried over from the idea to the feature upon being promoted to a feature. The same is also true for having idea custom field values carried over to feature and initiative custom fields during the promotion process.  

Managing launch plans [PROGRAMS, READINESS, SUPPORT]

The Launch Plan [PROGRAMS] activity aligns perfectly with the Releases -> Overview which enables the creation of cross-functional Go-to-Market plans complete with phases, milestones, and tasks required for a successful launch. This project management gantt chart view is also perfect for managing READINESS and SUPPORT activities. 

Creating roadmaps and reports [FOCUS]

You have put great data in to Aha! aligning with Pragmatic Marketing categories and activities. Reports help you with getting data out and sharing your product roadmap with stakeholders. There are six roadmap and five report formats that can be used to analyze and communicate your plans to your diverse group of stakeholders who each have their own point of view and questions that need to be answered.  

The following is an example of a list report showing a prioritized list of requirements by Persona using the Pragmatic Marketing prioritization method. 

Publishing stakeholder communications [FOCUS]

Communicate product roadmaps and status reports with stakeholders through Notebooks for transparency into the vision, strategy, releases, requirements and launch plans for your products. Any of the roadmaps, reports, and views used for adding and managing inputs can be added to a notebook and published as either a web URL or a PDF. Notebooks are also part of the Reports module and are accessed via the Reports [Notebooks] -> Overview page.  

 

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