Manage product components using custom tables

Product managers often communicate their single customer-facing product as a collection of components.

One way to track product components in Aha! is with custom fields. However, if you track components at many levels of your roadmap -- the products that have it, the releases that showcase it, and the features that enhance it -- you may wish to track a single, universal component listing versus separate custom fields.

When your component custom field is instead a custom table, you can manage component information in a single location, and then leverage your component list at any level (strategy, releases, features) of your roadmaps. 

Custom tables, available to Enterprise+ customers, further extend our custom field capability so that you can truly design the way you manage important information. With custom tables, you enhance full records with as much supporting detail as you wish, and associate the whole record to your Aha! roadmaps with a single link.

In this example, we detail the special key benefit of custom tables, even when the data is one-dimensional -- creating the single "source of truth" once, and using that one source at all levels in your product roadmap.

Custom Tables for managing product components

Custom tables are advantageous when you need to relate more than one Aha! object to a component, or when you have multiple component-based products in your organization. Storing components in a central table in Aha! with values defined at the product level will allow you to:

  • Relate values to objects across Aha! such as features, initiatives, releases, etc using a single source
  • Create product-specific component values allowing you to ensure accuracy at the product level
  • Create reports across products, showing releases or features planned by component using a single Component name column

Create your components custom table

The first step is to create the Components table at the account level. Select Settings -> Account -> Custom tables -> (+) to create a new table. Set the table name as "Components," provide a description for how the custom table will be used in Aha!, and set the unique key for the table. 

In our example, we are tracking components with the following core data:

  • Name (Text field)
  • Development lead (Users field)
  • Subject matter expert (Users field)
  • Target market(s) (Many to many link to another custom table)
  • Persona(s) addressed (Personas field)

Add fields to your table as noted in the example below.

After the custom table has been created you can then enter the component data. Component values will be added at the product level in this example, since components will typically be product-specific. This will allow you to keep the component values that your users see restricted to just those that are relevant for each product. If you do have components that are relevant to multiple products, those should be entered at the highest level applicable in your product structure so that all products in your portfolio may reference them.

 

Use the component information

Components in our example will be tracked at the following levels:

  • Product
  • Initiatives
  • Releases
  • Features

The following steps repeat for each of the above links. In general, the first step is to create a custom field for your Aha! data linked to the custom table, and the second step is to expose the link in a custom field layout.

For each level above, go to Settings -> Account -> Custom fields -> (level) -> Create custom field and create a Many-to-Many custom field linked to the Components table:

Once the field has been created, edit the custom field layout that is used in any product that has components and needs to leverage the custom table values. Once the field is visible in the layout, it will be available within Aha! for use:

As your components are linked to key deliverables across your product, you may go to the custom table detail record to see all work that is related to the component:

Creating reports with the Components table

Once components are added to the custom table and those components are linked across your products, you can use the fields from the custom table as columns to create component-based reports and roadmaps. For example, a component-based feature timeline can provide on-demand component roadmap detail.

To demonstrate, go to Reports -> Timeline -> +New Timeline. Add the Feature name, Feature start date, and Feature due date columns, then add Components name, Release date, and Release name columns.

Organize your rows, cells and time frame settings as illustrated here:

Once you have the data you need in your report, add a Product name filter to select which products should be included in the report. Next format the view to color by "Components Name" and use thick bars with text inside:

The timeline will provide a chronological view of features that will be delivered by component in each of your planned releases:

Tailor it for your company

This custom table example is a simple one to demonstrate the flexibility of custom tables. How you manage components at your company may require more record data, and present in different styles of reports. If you would like to discuss how to tailor this use case for your company's needs, contact the Aha! Customer Success team for guidance.

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