About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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The Founder’s Paradox: The Shame of Failing at Mindfulness

Founders Paradox Mindfulness

The thrill of achievement is irresistible. It is gratifying to set a goal, work hard to accomplish it, and then start to look forward to what is next. Thinking beyond today is part of achieving and yet we are often shamed for not being “in the moment.” The paradox between mindfulness and ambition can be disconcerting. This is especially true if you are someone who enjoys constantly striving. You know the best version of you is still coming.

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Dear Public Company CFO

On the surface, it was not unique. An email requesting extended invoicing terms for an Aha! subscription. Not atypical considering world events, but it was the tone that made the team look twice. A very successful, publicly traded company was insisting on amending their plan to pay their bill at a future time — many months from now. Their reasoning? The CFO wanted to improve the optics of cash on the books.

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Project vs. Program vs. Portfolio Manager

project portfolio program

Projects belong to programs as programs belong to portfolios. Sounds like a word problem from a school assignment to me. You might not think it is necessary to discern the differences between common project management roles. But the distinctions are important to understand.

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Strategic Thinking vs. Strategic Planning

strategic thinking vs planning

Goal first. There is a reason this is the number one principle of The Responsive Method, the framework we use at Aha! for personal and business success. A goal-first approach is foundational — it influences every decision we make about serving our customers and teammates. When you have a clear vision for where you are headed, you can think strategically about each situation to determine what is worth investing effort into (and what is not).

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5 Signs You Need an IT Roadmap

IT roadmap

Be more agile. Create better user experiences. Plan for today’s technical needs and the future unknown. Most IT teams are struggling with this juxtaposition. Addressing day-to-day tactical requests that need to be prioritized alongside adopting new technologies and improving infrastructure. Phew — that is a lot. It is not so easy to focus on the present while guaranteeing future success. 

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4 Major Transformations That Happen When Companies Shift to Remote Work


“We need a better way to work.” Our team at Aha! frequently hears this from folks looking for a tool to support strategic planning. The desire to streamline processes is often a natural outcome of an internal business transformation. Most of the time, these transformations are spurred by dynamic markets and evolving customer needs. But I believe another fundamental shift is underway — this time driven by a global challenge.

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The 6 Principles of Strategic Product Roadmapping

strategic product roadmapping

Strategy is not optional. I wrote this just a few weeks ago in a blog post about recent world events. The context was how to make clear decisions when the future is cloudy. I explained how I approach rationale evaluation of the unknown while acknowledging that it is not possible to predict the future. But while longer-term strategic thinking is important in challenging times, having a plan and taking action is mandatory.

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What Does a Program Manager Do, Anyway?

program manager

Program manager vs. project manager. I recently wrote a blog post describing these roles. Several folks took the time to thank me for digging into the differences between the two. But many of you wanted more. Specifically, for me to go even deeper into what a program manager does and how the role functions in different scenarios.

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Product vs. Program vs. Project Management

project program product

What does “discipline” mean to you? I bet a few words come to mind — self-control, punishment, or a system of rules. You might also conjure a field of study or branch of knowledge. This is how I most often think of it. Especially in the context of how our team at Aha! serves customers working in the disciplines of product, program, and project management.

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10 Tips From the Aha! Team on Working Remotely With a Full House

Everyone is asking me about remote work right now. I just spoke with a CIO who is deploying 5,000 laptops to employees who have never needed one before. COVID-19 is forcing many folks to adjust. Since Aha! has always been an entirely distributed company, people are naturally curious to learn how our team moves so fast and efficiently. Yes, our teammates all work remotely — but there is also a new challenge for us too.

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The Founder’s Paradox: How to Make Clear Decisions When the Future Is So Cloudy

I never imagined that I would talk with our company about a pandemic. But for many leaders, last week brought the unimaginable. It did for me on Wednesday, which I typically set aside for deep introspection and strategy. I spent that afternoon going through my own assumptions about the potential impact of coronavirus on the world, our company, our customers, and our team. Those reflections were the basis for a heartfelt conversation with the entire Aha! team last Friday.

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