“There has got to be a better way.” This was my inner monologue as a product manager. I found myself creating the same reports again and again. I would spend late nights in the office, painstakingly updating the same spreadsheets and tracking down outdated versions. It was frustrating and incredibly time-consuming.
Product managers have important work to do. Why spend your days chained to a spreadsheet? You should be building great features, not just reporting on them.
No more spreadsheets — this is just one of the reasons that customers tell us they need a product roadmapping tool.
As a product manager, you probably have your go-to reports that you use to track progress and report on status. You might have already graduated from spreadsheets to product management software like Aha! to keep the team in sync.
If you do use Aha!, you might not realize just how many templates are available to you. So I asked our Customer Success team, who are all former product managers, to share their favorites.
These are the product management templates that our team loves using in Aha! — the ones that we find ourselves suggesting to customers again and again:
Progress and status of goals
“It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘set and forget.’ Product teams work hard to define and set strategy, but they do not always keep close tabs on exactly what work is being done to achieve the plan. You will make progress faster if you can reference strategy as part of your daily work. This is why the goals and initiatives by status report is so handy. At a glance, you can see the major themes and the progress so far.” — Nicole Wosje
Ideas sorted by category and popularity
“I love looking at the ideas that customers submit. Seeing the ideas grouped by category and sliced by popularity is a great way to understand where your customers are right now and what they need from you. You can use a pivot table report to show what ideas are in review, under consideration, and planned.” — Tom Bailey
Features linked to strategic initiatives
“Product managers need to understand how the current work that teams are doing connects back to the strategy. The hierarchy report in Aha! is perfect for this. It gives you a clear picture of your key initiatives and the work that is being performed to help achieve them. It also helps the teams understand why they are working on those features. Another perk: It quickly identifies any gaps, such as features that do not tie back to your strategy.” — Deirdre Clarke
Projected revenue sorted by the release quarter
“Before I joined the Aha! team, I was a customer and this was one of my favorite reports. Custom fields allow you to capture the data that is important to your business but not a part of Aha! by default. So this report template can be highly customized — I needed to create my own custom field in Aha! to capture the projected revenue. After a quick set up, I could show the total projected revenue across all releases, broken out by quarter.” — Justin Woods
Status of features and requirements in development
“Trying to manage a product in a development tool can be something of a black hole. When I was a product manager, tracking the status of features sent to engineering was difficult and took lots of manual effort. Since Aha! integrates with development tools such as JIRA and Rally, you can easily use a list report to monitor updates. The one below shows a real-time view of the status of each requirement and feature — along with the corresponding link to JIRA.” — Steve Dagless
“The new calendar report provides a nice visual for all that in-progress work. It is helpful for staying on top of tasks assigned to cross-functional team members, like your product marketing colleagues, in advance of a launch. Completed To-dos are marked in green, upcoming in gray, and overdue in red. Even better — it is totally configurable so you can view based on the assigned work that is most important to your team.” — Matt Case
Features shipped by quarter
“Product managers are always looking for ways to get an idea of the team’s velocity. One of the best ways to do this is with the features shipped by release report. I like to create this as a table like the one below — it helps me easily see the number of features shipped by release and product over time.” — Jessica Groff
A product manager’s full-time job is not creating reports — so why should you spend your days buried in spreadsheets?
You can use Aha! reports like the ones described above to focus on the important work of product management. Once you enter data into Aha!, it’s easy to generate the perfect view without having to re-enter it somewhere else. Consider what visualizations are needed to track your product progress, aid in prioritization, or showcase what’s next.
And if you are like me, once you break those spreadsheet chains, you will see a big boost in your productivity and happiness.
Which reports do you use the most as a product manager?