Marketing teams execute breakthrough campaigns and marketing plans using detailed, goal-driven schedules. In Aha!, schedules include a set of prioritized activities. Schedules are used to define the scope for each chunk of work needed to execute your marketing plan, including due dates, dependencies, and milestones.
Create a new schedule
The Plans > Gantt page offers a visual representation of your schedules with phases, milestones, activities, and dependencies.
To create a new schedule:
- Navigate to Plans > Gantt.
- Click the Add schedule button.
- Complete the form, then click Create schedule.
When you add a new schedule, you can create your schedule from scratch or use a template by selecting one of the following options:
- Default: Provides a standard marketing schedule template from Aha! to help get you started.
- No template: This option offers a blank canvas for you to create your own schedule by entering phases and milestones manually.
- Custom template: This option will leverage any template that has been created for the marketing line or workspace. See the Create custom schedule templates section below for more information on templates.
Copy an existing schedule to a new schedule
When creating a new schedule, you may want to copy the phases, milestones, activities, dependencies, and to-dos from an existing schedule. Choosing to copy a schedule differs from selecting a schedule template (see the Create custom schedule templates section below) in that a copy includes activities.
Copying a schedule is most applicable for companies that reuse a set of activities. A common practice is to create a schedule to serve as a template that contains not only phases, milestones, and dependencies but also a company standard set of activities.
Phases, milestones, and dependencies
Phases and milestones allow marketers to visualize key dates and organize activities into groups. For example, you may have a date when you expect to receive a finalized budget from your executive team, and after that date, your digital marketing team can start drafting paid advertising plans.
- To add a new phase on the Plans > Gantt chart, expand the schedule and hover your mouse over the schedule name. Click the New phase option that appears below the schedule. You can also add a phase or milestone by clicking an existing phase or milestone which launches the detail drawer. Then, choose the Add phase or Add milestone buttons and name it by clicking into the row.
- To modify a schedule phase, click the schedule bar to bring out the schedule detail drawer. Phases can be converted to milestones by choosing Milestone as the type in the schedule phase detail drawer. When you convert a phase to a milestone, the milestone date is set to the start date of your phase.
- To remove a phase or milestone, click on the phase or milestone. This will launch the detail drawer. From the drawer, click the More options button and choose Delete.
It's very common in a marketing schedule for one activity to depend on the completion of another activity. For example, you may not want to send a press release announcing a new product until the new website is live. When you are unable to start one activity until another activity is completed, you can create a dependency in Aha! to represent this relationship on your schedule.
Aha! supports end-to-start dependencies between phases and milestones. If you move phases or milestones that have a dependency, any dependent phase(s) or milestone(s) will move as well, allowing you to see how a delay will affect your delivery.
You can create dependencies by hovering on a phase or milestone, clicking the dot icon that appears, and dragging it to the phase in which you would like to establish a dependency.
Create custom schedule templates
For a schedule that contains a set of phases and milestones that are repeatable or routine for your team(s), you can create a schedule template. Templates can be created for workspaces or marketing lines — depending on whether or not your schedule applies to a dedicated workspace or all workspaces within a marketing line.
Templates include the schedule phases, number of days between phases, milestones, and dependencies of a marketing schedule. You can also add to-dos to your template. To-dos allow you to ensure that assignees are aware of their tasks and the due-dates that are defined for each new schedule. To create and complete to-dos on an Aha! marketing workspace, the minimum access level required is viewer.
To create a schedule template:
- Navigate to Settings > Marketing line or Workspace > Schedule phases and milestones.
- Click the Add schedule template button.
- Click Add schedule phase to begin building your template.
Once a template is added to a schedule, you can always add or remove phases and milestones according to the unique needs of that schedule.
Show master activities on the Gantt chart
Master activities are used for managing groups of activities that share a common theme. To show master activities on the Plans > Gantt chart, click the Customize view button and select from one of these options:
- Hide master activities: This setting will hide all master activities on the gantt chart.
- Highlight bars by master activity: This setting allows users to show the master activity that each activity relates to while maintaining the chronological order of the activities in the timeline. This is perfect for showing the timing of each activity when the team is focused on multiple master activities at different times during a schedule.
- Group bars by master activity: This setting allows users to organize activities into master activity groupings, overriding the default chronological order. This is perfect for telling a story of how a particular master activity will be delivered.