Business operations help organizations thrive. You manage the inner workings of your company, constantly seeking ways to generate revenue, increase productivity, and reduce costs. With Aha! you can bring your strategy to the forefront, do all your operational planning in a purpose-built workspace and tie objectives to each department's work — all while monitoring status in real time and being able to quickly report on critical business metrics.
Use this article to tour a business workspace. We will walk through the demo workspace, called Fredwin Business (Demo). You can enable it in your own account, use this information to start building out your own business workspace.
We created Fredwin Business (Demo) as a fictitious company, fully populated with records and data. By exploring it, you can get a sense of how Aha! works and how you might like to structure your own business operations workspace.
All Aha! trials are fully functional — including the ability to set up integrations. This means that you can start adding your own strategy, roadmaps, and activities at any time, even after starting with the demo workspace. You can also import your data into Aha! if you have business operations plans in another tool.
Click any of the links to skip ahead:
- Enable a demo business workspace
- The business operations data model
- Workspace hierarchy
Enable a demo business workspace
A demo business operations workspace is available for paid and trial accounts by navigating to Settings ⚙️> Account > Profile and scrolling down to the Demo data section. Click Add demo to add the example business operations workspace to your account.
Once you become comfortable with Aha! by using the demo workspace or creating your own demo business operations workspace, you can easily delete all demo data and start managing your real business operations work with your team. To delete the demo workspace, navigate to Settings ⚙️> Account > Configure workspaces and click the Delete button that appears to the right of the workspace.
The business operations data model
Let's start with an overview of the data model for business workspaces.
The Aha! data model does two things: It highlights the key building blocks in Aha! and it explains the relationships between them. The five main objects are lines, workspaces, schedules, activities, and ideas. You can set strategy at both the business workspace and the business line levels and then link it to your schedules and activities.
One of the first tasks in your new workspace will be to create your workspace hierarchy.
Click the dropdown in the top-left corner of Aha! to see the Fredwin Business (Demo) hierarchy. This demo company and workspace has two levels, but you can create as many as you need. This allows you to structure your Aha! account to reflect the design of your organization.
In the Strategy tab, you can capture your strategy for each level of the workspace hierarchy — beginning with your workspace and rolling all the way up to the company level. You should link your strategy to the work your team completes as well, so that every activity, schedule, or idea has a clear connection to your strategic vision and every person on your team can see that strategic connection.
You will find goals and initiatives already set at the workspace level. When you link initiatives to schedules, it populates a portfolio roadmap view. This helps you visualize how your schedules tie back to your strategy.
You can link initiatives and goals together to show their relationships. However, initiatives can only be linked to goals at the same or higher level in the workspace hierarchy.
Your team's success often depends on your ability to prioritize your work, coordinate with other teams, and deliver on time. Schedules in Aha! help you do just that.
We created four schedules. This is reflected on the Plans > Gantt page. You can set up your own schedule template (with custom phases and milestones) under Settings ⚙️> Workspace > Schedule phases and milestones.
You can also use these steps to add records to a schedule:
- If you want to add activities individually or structure schedule phases and milestones, click on your schedule in the Plans > Gantt view to open its detail drawer. From here, click Add activity, Add phase, or Add milestone. Edit the details of each after you add them.
- If you know exactly where you want to add a schedule element, expand your schedule on the left side of the Gantt view, then click the + icon between the two records where your new schedule element should appear. From there, you can add a New activity, Existing activity (one that has been hidden from the Gantt view), a Milestone, or a Phase.
Note: You can also use the + icon that appears alongside a phase name to add New or Existing activities directly to the phase.
Better ideas lead to innovation, and innovation leads to market leadership. Every organization wants better ideas, but it's tough to actually capture them in a manageable way.
We created a set of ideas at the workspace level with varying statuses.
- You can see a list of all the ideas and their statuses on the Ideas > List page.
- You can click on ideas to view descriptions and scorecard values, then promote the best ideas to activities.
- You can visualize the relative value and effort levels for each idea on the Ideas > Chart page.
Activities represent the incremental units of technical and non-technical work that carry out your strategic goals and initiatives.
Activities have been linked to goals and initiatives. Aha! scores can be added using the Aha! scorecard to highlight the business value of each activity. Click on an activity to see its details.
You can organize your backlog items by adding as many parking lot columns as needed — just click Add Column.
Master activities are used to group activities that share a common business objective. Master activities are also created with an Aha! score but are turned off by default. To enable master activities, go to Settings ⚙️> Workspace > Configure. Once enabled, you can switch between viewing master activities and activities on the Activities > Board page, and between viewing master activities and schedules on the Schedules > Gantt page.
Visual roadmaps are one of the most powerful ways to communicate where your project or service is headed. Use them to showcase upcoming activities you plan on delivering, set expectations around project timelines, or ensure key stakeholders are apprised of your high-level initiatives.
Let's focus on the activities roadmap for this tour. Go to Roadmaps > Activities and make sure that Fredwin Business (Demo) is selected in the hierarchy dropdown. With this roadmap, you can check which activities you want to highlight and uncheck the activities that you do not want to show.
From the Share menu, you can add the view to a new or existing Aha! presentation. Adding Aha! views to a presentation allows you to securely share your roadmaps with non-Aha! users.
Analytics let you analyze your Aha! data using highly customizable list tables, pivot tables, and charts. To get started quickly, navigate to Roadmaps > Dashboard > Overview. You will find more than 75 example reports that we created to help you get up and running.
For example, select the Activities folder and choose List Table: Activity status. This will generate a report that lists the sample business activities in the selected workspace and their status.
In addition to the example reports, the Analytics section allows you to manipulate the hundreds of data objects in Aha! to create your own custom roadmaps and business reports.
An Aha! presentation is an easy way to share your roadmaps, reports, and other information from Aha! with your audience via secure webpage or PDF — or, for a live audience, deliver it from your browser using Presentation mode. The information shared in your presentation is directly connected to the data in your account, making it painless to keep your audience informed as updates are made.
After you have gone through the demo business workspace, it is time to add one of your own.