Posts Tagged ‘planning’

Aha – Project Management Roadmaps for Effective Business Solutions

Launched in 2013, today Aha is one of the fastest developing product roadmap and marketing planning applications in the world. The company offers exhaustive road mapping facilities alongside project organization, which clients can utilize to the maximum. Once the association is made, Aha works with companies on projects right from their conceptualization to a successful launch. At present, the company works with more than 25,000 people all over the world. The Aha software helps clients come up with feasible business roadmaps for their respective companies. The software is extremely user-friendly and is designed to help users navigate information so that they can accomplish their business targets in the most productive way possible.

Aha!

Aha – Helping clients achieve targets with effective roadmap software

The basic principle, which Aha functions on, is very simple. It works with companies, especially their project heads, to decide upon different business targets on the basis of extensive study and analysis. The road maps designed by Aha go a long way in ensuring that all the desired business goals of the respective clients are achieved. A big advantage of working with Aha is that it gives equal importance to employees, as well other stakeholders, to present their ideas through the company’s idea portal. The advantage of designing such an idea portal is that project managers get access to many ideas and these can be put to good use while designing roadmaps for prospective clients.

Now let us take a closer look at some of the main features of the Aha online tool:

  • When users decide to work with Aha, they can either start from nothing or work with the given 6 templates. These templates are designed in such a manner that they can be shared across products.
  • Aha has release tools which help users working in close connection with cross-functional teams bring out products, keep track of dates and events, and immediately know if there are any changes.
  • Other important features include making a release template, estimating work, different charts and sharing a ship release.
  • Once you come to the product roadmap software, you come across tools, which support crowd sourcing ideas, working with a dashboard, and collaborating with end users.
  • Clients can also add tags, attachments, custom fields, comments, and reviewers who need to work on them. Working with reviewers gives them ideas to grade their performance and on a later stage, make it a feature.
  • For first-timers, Aha has a starter roadmap, which can be used to move around goals, releases and features. All of the items can be customized and shared through different mediums like images, PDF, or a secured web page.
  • With the help of Aha, users can create multiple roadmaps like portfolio, strategy, releases, as well as, features. The roadmaps can also be customized as per their choice.
  • The analytics section of Aha helps clients develop charts to prioritize tasks, oversee the present status of ideas, and observe the number of features shipped over a certain period of time.
  • While using the Notebooks section, users can share any screen. It can also be sent to non-Aha users and can be branded as well.

Aha! - screenshot 1

How It Works

Let us now take a look at how the Aha online tool functions:

  1. When you login to the Aha page, go to the strategy section where you will have to select a business model. This will be the framework for the work ahead. It is from this framework that the user decides his value proposition, future market plans, and so on.
  2. Next, you will have to define your vision, which sets the tone for the further strategy. This will help decide your team and bring clarity to your work.
  3. With the vision in place, the online tool will work on your strengths, weaknesses, customer challenges, competitors and personas.
  4. The next step is to find out where the client is positioned. The positioning of the product is very important as it will inform potential users about the benefits of using the said product.
  5. In Aha tool, users can create a picture of the customer by using custom personas. You can add all the description about the customers and link the personas to actual features. This will help you get to know the client better.
  6. Keeping an eye on your competition just became all the more easier with Aha! The tool helps users create complete profiles of key competitors and shares the data with your team. With Aha you can compare important parameters like revenue, customers, growth rate, and so on.
  7. After the vision is in place, Aha will help clients decide on their specific goals and the KPIs they have in mind. After the goals are set, the tool also keeps a track of the progress made against these goals.

Aha! - screenshot 2

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent Customer Support: A big advantage of using Aha is that it offers high-quality customer support for its clients. There are many platforms where the user is excellently guided by the support staff on how to go about using the tool to the best of its capacity.
  • Highly functional: The Aha online tool is highly functional in all areas of project management. It has on offer, time management and scheduling tools all in one place. The tool also offers various types of data analysis features, which make graphs, charts and detailed reports.

Cons

  • Takes time to understand: A disadvantage about Aha online tool is that users take some time to get used to the functioning of the tool.
  • High pricing: The high prices of Aha for marketing and products may pose a problem for potential users.
  • Change the game with brilliant product roadmaps & marketing planning: @aha_io aha.io/ via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

It’s an overall positive verdict for Aha. The project management roadmaps designed by the tool go a long way in helping small and medium-sized enterprises create product, technology, manufacturing, marketing, and consulting roadmaps.

Collaborate Better with RealtimeBoard

People who work in teams understand the purpose and vitality of whiteboards. What looks like a simple, glossy, white surface actually solves the purpose of a thousand notebooks, scrap books, blueprints, maps, or any other term you might want to give to something that is used while planning and brainstorming for development. Today, you’d hardly find an organization that doesn’t use whiteboards in its discussion rooms. Even schools have made a switch from black and green boards to the more sleek white boards, and there’s a genuine reason behind the liking. Whiteboards are smoother, easier and quicker to clean, and can also be used as projector backgrounds. No wonder they’ve become so popular.

realtimeboard

With technology taking people places, project teams have become distributed. People often make use of online tools to collaborate and share ideas. Even meetings are conducted through video conferencing. But then, how can whiteboards be carried around? Does that mean teams no longer have a tangible place to brainstorm and depict their ideas through flow diagrams?

Well, that’s where RealtimeBoard comes into picture.

RealtimeBoard – collaboration made simple!

RealtimeBoard is an online tool that plays the role of an infinite whiteboard. Just as whiteboard can be reused over and over again by erasing and rewriting on it, RealtimeBoard lets distributed teams brainstorm seamlessly. The platform is laced with simple sharing options and powerful collaboration features to provide seamless communication and boost productivity. Moreover, it allows users to keep everything they need on a daily basis at one place including post-it notes, images, videos, documents, diagrams, spreadsheets, Google Drive files and more.’

The makers of the tool work with the mantra – “a picture paints a thousand words”. If you ask us, RealtimeBoard lives up to that mantra in every single aspect.

Here are some of its most remarkable features:

  • Easily customizable flexible workspace to jot down ideas, or build an entire project on the board
  • Facilitates remote collaboration with teams scattered all around the world
  • Uses an intuitive toolkit to create mockups and schemes, and leave feedback on your colleagues’ inputs
  • Enables easy addition of files, images and documents from your computer and Google Drive
  • Contains built-in collections and integrated libraries of icons, wireframes and other content ready to be used on your boards
  • Includes cool templates that you can refer to draw ideas for your projects
  • Allows you to share your whiteboard with your team and collaborate in real time
  • Easy conversion of whiteboard into presentations using the Frames tool

realtimeboard1

Here’s how you can use RealtimeBoard

Visit the tool’s homepage and click on the blue button that says, “Start Collaborating Now”. You’ll be asked to sign up. Just punch in your name, work email and a password. Next, you’ll be asked to provide your official details, as in, team name, company size and a work phone. You can also start adding teammates immediately or leave that to later. A few more details later, you’ll be all set. If you wish to, you can watch a 2 minute video about how to use RealtimeBoard on the next screen. That will save you a lot of time of exploring the platform.

Post signup, you’ll have access to all premium features of the tool for 14 days. Once the trial period expires, you’ll have the choice to either downgrade your account to a basic one or pay to keep your premium features.

Once you’ve reached your board, you’ll see a grid layout depicting your whiteboard. On the left hand panel you’ll see a toolbar including various editing options – Insert Tool, Selection, Text Box, Sticky Note, Shape Drawing Tool, Pencil, Comment Box, Undo / Redo Button, Frames Tool (to create presentations from whiteboard), Full screen Toggle, Zoom In / Out Button. Go ahead, give the whiteboard a try, it’s quite simple really.

Once you have some ideas drawn or inserted or pasted (sticky notes) on the board, you can choose to export it as an image, PDF, download as backup, save to Google Drive, or attach to JIRA. To do this, click on the up arrow on the top left side of the screen next to your board’s name. Alternatively, you can invite teammates to edit the ideas or leave their comments. This can be done by clicking on the message icon on the bottom right corner of the screen. You can also share the board with other people by emailing them the link of the board. For this, click on the “Share” button on the upper right corner of the screen.

If you click on the home icon on the upper left corner of the screen, you’ll be redirected to your dashboard. Here, you can view all your different whiteboards and also keep monitoring the whiteboards other people have shared with you. This screen also displays some helpful examples of whiteboards fitting to different scenarios.

realtimeboard2

Pros VS Cons

RealtimeBoard proves to be quite an interesting brainstorming platform for distributed teams. It has a lot of pros associated with it which are evident from its feature description and usage. But there are a few drawbacks too.

  • Deleting stuff on the board is tricky. You have to select the object to be deleted through the selecting pointer (arrow on the upper left corner of the toolbar), then right click to open a pop-up menu and then select delete. A simple erase button would’ve been more convenient.
  • The tool is truly beneficial only for teams that have people located at different physical places. In house teams can be much quicker with actual whiteboards.
  • The tool isn’t free of cost unlike the good old physical whiteboards.
  • Take your whiteboard wherever you go, try @realtimeboard realtimeboard.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Verdict

Good tool, but only for those who wish to bring in a certain level of organization to their brainstorming sessions.

Using CoSchedule to Run Your Blog

Guest Post

Most blogs fail in the first 100 days, and one of the main reasons is disorganization. Successful blogs post new content frequently and consistently. But if you aren’t organized, you won’t be able to do either.

How do I keep my blog organized? CoSchedule. It’s an excellent tool which allows you to plan, assign, write and share content on social media–all in one place.

coschedule

What Is CoSchedule?

CoSchedule is a web application designed to make blogging easier and more efficient. CoSchedule provides you with a calendar to plan your content and syncs with your WordPress and social media accounts, so you have all your blogging tools at your disposal in a single window. CoSchedule also allows you to communicate with everyone on your blogging team, send them assignments, and set deadlines for them.

Using CoSchedule to Plan Your Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar helps you set deadlines for yourself and for your team, and ensures you are putting out content consistently. An editorial calendar is also a great tool for planning your topics in advance, so you never find yourself in a situation where you run out of ideas.

The first step in using the CoSchedule calendar is brainstorming topics. A good keyword tool is useful in this process. Once you think of an idea for a blog post, create it as either “content” or a WordPress post. Creating the WordPress post right in CoSchedule will save you an extra step later. Place that content on the day you want to publish it. Repeat that process until you have a full calendar.

When you are ready to actually write the blog post, simply click on the calendar entry, and you will find a link to edit your blog post in WordPress.

Try to plan your content as far in advance as possible. You always want to give yourself enough time to research, write, and create visuals for the post. You can set deadlines for these parts of the blogging process using the “tasks” feature in the calendar.

coschedule1

Using CoSchedule to Connect to Your Team and Assign Content

If you have a team of bloggers, you can use the tasks feature in CoSchedule to send assignments to them. Simply click on a calendar entry, create a “write draft” task on it, and assign it to the writer. The writer will then get an email that they have been assigned a task. You can also do this for photo sourcing, and any other part of the blogging process.

CoSchedule also has a “comments” feature, which you can use to write a more detailed description of the assignment. The writer can also ask questions in the comments. If your writer has access to WordPress, he or she can go straight to WordPress from CoSchedule to write the post. If your writer does not have WordPress access, he or she can easily attach a word document to a comment in CoSchedule.

Using CoSchedule to Manage Social Media

Many blogs use Hootsuite to manage their social media accounts, but Scribblrs now uses CoSchedule. CoSchedule allows you to access your social media accounts from your Coschedule calendar, or from the WordPress “Edit Post” page.

When you schedule social media posts, CoSchedule will show you a dropdown menu with all your social media accounts. Select which accounts you want to share your content to (you can easily do them all at once). CoSchedule will then automatically pull photos from the article, and fill in the text of the social media post and meta description. All the hard work is done for you, but you can also easily customize the fields.

CoSchedule gives recommendations for how often you should share your posts on social media. With CoSchedule, you can easily create social media posts for one day from now, and one month from now. If your content will stay relevant for a long time, you can schedule more social media posts for even further in the future.

coschedule2

No matter what your goals are, good planning will set you up for success, and poor planning will set you up for failure. CoSchedule provides you with the organizational tools you need to build and maintain a successful blog. It’s definitely a worthy investment.

  • Plan and Manage your social media posts better with @CoSchedule coschedule.com/ via @supermonitoring

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About the Author

c1fa872eadf6a23b44ab469e63b95d0fEric Brantner is co-founder of CutCableToday.com, a blog that sees hundreds of thousands of hits each month. He now seeks to help others start their own blogs on his newest site, Scribblrs.com.

Make better Gantt charts with TeamGantt

If your organization uses Gantt charts for project planning, you know they’re horizontal bar charts used to bring about better project management through production planning and control. Such charts provide a graphical illustration of a schedule that helps to plan, coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project. When they play such crucial role for organizations, even slight errors in them could lead to huge losses. It thus becomes pivotal to spend quality and ample time into their making and studying. Additionally, since Gantt charts are used in project planning, coworkers within a team or across teams need to share them among themselves and use them for frequent discussions.

With the advent of technology, everything literally, is moving to the online space. Taking the case of Gantt charts for instance, creating such charts to manage projects and sharing them with coworkers has now become an online thing. And this article is focused on an online tool that excels in the task. Presenting – TeamGantt.

teamgantt

TeamGantt – Online Gantt chart software

TeamGantt is an online software that brings a new and easy feel to Gantt charts. The tool boasts of making the entire process so easy that you can create a project plan in minutes. Moreover, it enables inviting coworkers, teammates and friends to view and edit Gantt charts online thus making everything simpler. With a user-friendly approach, this online Gantt chart software helps you better understand your projects by helping you see what everyone is working on, check for tasks that are lagging behind schedule, better organize things and make comparisons between what was planned and what is actually achieved.

Key benefits that TeamGantt offers:

  • Quickly create and edit Gantt charts online through simple drag and drop approach.
  • File sharing becomes easy since the software is online. You can also receive comments on shared files to help you better collect information.
  • Particularly worthy for managers since they can easily see who is working on what on a daily basis
  • Makes tracking progress easier.
  • Eliminates the need to download or update software

 

Additional features that make TeamGantt stand apart from its competition include:

  • See the project taking shape in a step-wise fashion
  • Individual task management becomes a lot more enhanced. For example, Even if you only have one project open, you can still see if they are assigned a task in another project.
  • You can view multiple projects in one Gantt chart
  • A single TeamGantt screen lets you view all conversations, files, tasks, assignments, availability and more right in your Gantt chart.
  • Enables information filtering by person, due date, progress status and more to cut out the clutter.
  • Allows to print Gantt charts in PDF format
  • Allows you to create your own Gantt chart templates and use them within your team.

 

With features as awesome as these (and more), who wouldn’t want to try it out?

How it works

Sign up for free through a convenient link on the homepage. Once that’s done you’ll be asked to login with the credentials you just created. Thereafter you’ll be taken to your account’s homepage. Here you’ll see options to view your Active Projects, Task List, Week View etc. which will be empty initially.

teamgantt1

You can start adding projects by clicking the “+ New Project“ button. On doing so, you’ll be given the option to create a new project from scratch or import an existing one from a CSV. You can even choose to duplicate an earlier project if you have one.

Once you’re through this step, you will be redirected to a page where you can add people or resources to the project. Once done, click on the “Done” button at the bottom of the screen to arrive at the main software screen.

Here you can actually get down to business. Create tasks, assign them to people, drag to mark deadlines; basically do what you need to do to get the ball rolling. If you’re into creating Gantt charts for some time, you’ll know what to do. And if you need help, watch a tutorial video by clicking on the link that says “Watch this quick video to learn how”.

In addition to this video, there are a lot of other tutorial videos that can be found on the TeamGantt “Learning Center”. They’re accompanied by Blog posts and articles on the topic to help newbies out. They also have a live chat option where a helpful assistant answers random queries you have and gives tips and pointers.

Strengths VS Weaknesses

The strengths of this tool are many and are basically evident from the list of features described above. Add to that the immensely powerful advantage of being omni-accessible owing to its web presence, and the tool is a clear winner.

The weakness of this tool lies in its pricing. For an account where you can create unlimited projects with unlimited users and 100 GB of file storage, you’ll need to fish out almost $250 per month. There are other plans too with lesser charges but they have lower storage, user and project numbers allowed. While large organizations may be able to afford a tool so pricy, it might be a little too steep for small teams looking to better manage their short-term projects.

  • Make project planning fun and interactive with online Gantt chart software @teamgantt teamgantt.com/ via @supermonitoring

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To sum it up

Overall, TeamGantt is a great online tool if you have the pocket for it. It anyways comes with a free 30 days trial so if the feature list is tempting you but you’re unsure, try it out first. If you really like it, buy one of their plans. If you decided against it, well, who’s stopping you from backing out?

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