Killer Feature: Fast, efficient and accessible Initiative(Epic) and Goal Filter

Project management is the art of dealing with large numbers of tasks in the most efficient manner possible. 

-- Ed Henderson

Here is a very very common technique that I use in Jira, Open the backlog, and use the Versions(releases) and Epics filter on the sidebar to quickly drill down to the tasks for a particular release and feature. This particular capability is a key to efficient use of Jira for sprint planning. I have a vision for a similar feature in Aha that I expect would be easy to implement, and could be "THE" killer feature of Aha. Your mission, should you choose to accept it --- and if you have a desire to make Aha! awesome --- would be to implement it as soon as possible.

In a nutshell, the idea would be to build an "Goal+Initiative" filter that can be displayed in a compact or expanded form. This filter would be used on the Stories board to quickly filter down to specific goals and initiatives. The filter would be limited to just "not done"initiatives and goals. There is little need to plan or filter by "complete" items. A small floating toolbar would work great, with colored icons that match the Epic color, and hover state to show the full name. Some specific features:

  • Filters should have "Or" functionality, so selecting multiple epics would display all items from all selected epics. This makes it easier to focus on larger project items that might include multiple epics.. Jira does not work like this unfortunately.
  • Goals -> Epics -> Features would be cascadeable as a selection, such that:
    • Filtering by a particular Goal or Goals would remove (or disable) epics that are not associated with that goal, and automatically filter tasks that are associated with Epics associated with the selected goals
    • Clicking any Epics filtered by the selected Goal(s) would further filter the tasks
    • Clicking a selected Epic/Goal would uncheck that item.

Comparison with Current Capabilities

The current solution is to use filters on the Stories board. It *is* possible to go in and add filters, and I could add filters for Goal name AND Epic name, however, the current solution falls down in a few key areas:

  • Inefficient: The time to switch between these items is many times slower than what I am suggesting. 
  • Frustration: PM takes time, too much time.. save me time, and you have become my friend, cost me time, and you will frustrate me. The side is currently frustrating me.
  • Applicability: The current solution will give me a check box list of ALL Epics. Even ones that are complete. Wow.. not what I want, in fact, it's confusing, and significantly hinders the usefulness of the current capability. 
  • Selecting a Goal does not in turn filter the Epics by that goal, so "drill down" focus doesn't exist.
  • Clickiness: A seriously "good" UI minimizes the number of "clicks" to achieve a particular Goal. The current solution maximizes them.

One more thing:

While we are on it, lets focus on "state" of the icon bar.. Epics and Goals have multiple states.. so, while we are focusing on a compact toolbar, lets add some additional information to that toolbar to indicate "completion". I would actually say use a Color bar to do this, but some percentage of the population is color blind (you design for that right?), hence color alone isn't always so good. How about length? 

I wish I could insert an inline image here.. I did a really simple mockup for you.. just for fun. 

The mockup attempts to show a bar to indicate how far along an Epic or Goal is, based on the feature stages. It would not be necessary to show 'Completed', as these would automatically be removed.

  • Ed Henderson
  • Sep 5 2016
  • Unlikely to implement
Release time frame
  • Nov 11, 2016

    Admin Response

    Thank you for the request and for taking the time to provide all of the details and mocks. As you had mentioned, it is possible today to filter the board by initiatives and goals (as well as a nearly all other data objects in Aha!). While we understand that it does take a couple extra clicks, the current design allows for flexibility around all of the different use cases that one  may look to filter the board.

    At this time, based on current priorities and the existing functionality, we are unlikely to make updates in this area in the near term. However, we will keep the idea open to gather additional feedback over time. Thank you again.

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