Five bucks. That was my reward for drawing a cartoon that made my dad laugh. As a kid, a few dollars was plenty of motivation — do you know how many packs of Big League Chew you could buy? But the true prize was earning a deep chuckle. To do so, I had to figure out how to use my visual storytelling skills, awareness of context and timing, and understanding of my dad’s sense of humor to snag that gum money.Read more…
Some days it feels like you are mired in repetitive tasks. From checking that data is entered correctly to adding comments and to-dos, this work is critical to delivering quality work. But I bet you are like me and would like to gain that time back. How nice would it be to automate some of those tasks?
I am happiest outside. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, I loved spending time in nature. Some of my favorite childhood memories were hiking and backpacking in the woods. My dad was an educator and my mom was a research assistant at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, so summer camping trips were our family’s budget-friendly vacation of choice. I joined the Boy Scouts, where my mom was a troop leader, and eventually worked my way up to Eagle Scout.Read more…
Visibility and clarity. These are two key characteristics of high-performing teams. When everyone understands exactly what needs to get done and in what order, they can work together to make it happen. This is why many of you love using kanban principles and the workflow board in Aha! to visualize who is working on what and the status.
How much time does your team spend each week tracking down the approvals needed to move certain work forward? I bet the answer is “too much.” Many teams struggle with the chaotic review cycles needed for work to proceed. It would be so much easier if you could standardize your workflow with specific approval gates.
A world of caring communities. This is what we envisioned when we announced our philanthropic initiative which is appropriately named Aha! Cares last year. Our first year was an incredible success. We gave more than $100,000 in 2019 to community-based nonprofits. And collectively, Aha! teammates clocked 794 hours of service — everything from packing meals for at-risk kids to improving housing for victims of domestic violence.
Not many lawyers headbang. For me, music came first. I learned to play guitar in my early teens and honed my performance skills as a member of several heavy metal bands. As I evolved and grew as a person, I came to enjoy an eclectic mix of genres — everything from Killswitch Engage to Bon Jovi. My later journey through the legal profession was similarly diverse.Read more…
What do dates, dependencies, and blockers have in common? Big projects. I am talking about product releases, software rollouts, and marketing launches — major cross-functional efforts. Many of you rely on the Gantt chart in Aha! to coordinate all the details. And over the last few months, we have been working on our own big project.
Did you ever read the children’s magazine 3-2-1 Contact? It was an extension of the educational science television show of the same name. As a 6-year-old subscriber, I spent hours poring over the BASIC problems in the back of the magazine trying to solve each one. Eventually, I hooked up a used Tandy Color Computer to my parents’ television. I enjoyed revising the initial program as I gained knowledge and insight into what the best solution might look like.
We started Aha! in 2013 because we wanted to help companies build what customers love and be happy doing it. Product teams were the beginning, but we quickly discovered that many other groups were struggling to capture strategy, create visual plans, and report on the impact of their work. So last year we introduced a workspace for marketing teams. And now to kick off 2020, we are expanding to serve even more groups.
Have you paused to reflect on what you achieved this year? Or are you already living in the future? We are the same at Aha! — always focusing on our next big plan. But before you can dive into the new, it is important to pause and celebrate the gains you have made so far.
There are two kinds of surprises at work. There are the welcome ones, such as when you learn that your teammate completed a critical work item ahead of schedule. But there are also not-so-delightful surprises, like when your engineering team discovers a technical blocker during development. Unknown dependencies like that can put your big plans at risk.Read more…
I mostly thought computers were for playing games. That is, until I realized I could use DOS’s batch programming language to automate tasks. For example, I wrote a program to make my modem dial my friends’ phone numbers for me. The code itself was simple, but the solution had a real impact. I no longer had to memorize or keep a phone directory around. I loved that I could use a computer to solve problems and make life easier.
Standing meetings. Sprint retrospectives. Customer interviews. If you already use Aha! to capture wiki-like notes, then you know how powerful it can be to collaborate with your colleagues in real time. But free-form notes have a downside too — such as when everyone takes notes in a different way. It would be nice if the team captured the right details in a logical way, every time.
I like to think that I have been a product manager my whole life. My dad brought home my first computer, a Macintosh SE, when I was 6 years old. I taught myself how to type really fast, then play games, and eventually code. By high school, I was creating simple online games. I wanted to apply my knowledge to make the experience more fulfilling for the players — my friends.