Introduction to epics

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  • Switch to the new experience using a toggle in the More options button in the drawer of each record.
  • The toggle is unique to each user — so you can opt in and out as often as you like.
  • We also updated the application font in the new experience for improved text legibility.

Epics are used to group features that share a common business objective. With epics, you can track and prioritize groups of work. Similar to features, you can also add key strategic elements like goals and initiatives to epics.

Epics are very flexible. They can be used to manage groups of features that reside in multiple workspaces across multiple releases. Or if you prefer, they can be used to manage groups of features within a single release.

Note: This article refers to releases and features. Depending on your workspace type, you may see "schedules" and “activities" in your workspace.

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When to consider using epics

  • Your product team is agile and you are looking for epics to group your stories.
  • Your marketing team has large objectives that will take several schedules to complete. You need a way to track these epics and view them on a roadmap. 
  • Your team currently uses strategic initiatives to group user stories but you would rather utilize initiatives for strategic themes and group user stories by epic instead.

For the purposes of this article, we will use the product management terminology of features, epics, and releases. Just remember that these records function the same way, even if you are working in a different workspace type



Enable and configure epics

To enable epics for your workspace:

  1. Navigate to Settings ⚙️ > Workspace > Configure > Epics.
  2. From there, you can select Enabled, Disabled, or Inherit from [parent line].

The default value is Inherit from [parent line], which means the setting is enabled or disabled based on the status of the Epics setting on the parent line. Once enabled, you can begin adding epics. 

To further customize epics:

  • Update the terminology from epics to any label that works better for your team.
  • Create custom statuses and workflows for epics on the Settings ⚙️ > Account page.
  • Customize the epic card design. Just like features, epics have their own customizable card design. They can also be scored using the same custom scorecards that are used on features.
  • Show epics and features on the same board by enabling the Show epics setting. When this setting is enabled, the epic name and feature reference ID will appear in a tab above the feature card. This setting is located on the features board by clicking the Customize cards icon that opens the Customize feature and epic cards modal. The features workflow board also has its own customizable feature cards that can be configured to show epics using the Customize view icon.
  • Show epic labels on the Features > Details page by enabling the Settings ⚙️ > Workspace > Configure > Customize record cards > Show epics setting.


Create epics

Once you have enabled epics, you can add and manage them from the Features > Board or the Features > Detail page. The toggle located on the features board in the upper-left corner switches between epics and features. When you toggle to epics, you can create a new epic by clicking Add epic or by clicking the More options button located next to each release name. 

Epics have Start dates and Due dates, but because epics can have child records — features — you can choose to have an epic's dates Calculate from features. If you select this (or if a workspace owner has set this as the Record dates default setting), your epic's Start date will be the same as the earliest feature Start date and its Due date will be the same as the latest feature Due date. If a feature's dates change in such a way that it affects your epic's dates (even through an integration), your epic's dates will update automatically.

Note: If an integration updates an epic's Start date or Due date, the calculation type will change back to Enter manually, and updates to child features' dates that you make in Aha! will not update the epic.  

You can configure epics further by adding information to them or by opening an epic's detail drawer and selecting the More options button. 

  • Add to initiative to link your epic to an initiative. 
  • Link to another record to create a record link.
  • Create related idea to create a linked idea with your choice of idea's visibility.
  • Convert to initiative to convert your epic to an initiative. Epics and initiatives both organize large bodies of work, so it is not uncommon to discover that what you thought was a theme of work is substantial enough to upgrade to an initiative. 
    Note: Converting records may cause them to lose information.
  • Time tracking history breaks down the estimates and time tracking applied to your epic. 
  • Use features estimates generates an effort estimate for your epic based on the individual estimates of its child features. 
  • History shows you an audit log of changes made to the epic.
  • Add progress field adds a progress field to your epic. You choose from several different methods for calculating your epic's completion progress and visualize its progress in roadmaps. 
  • Add custom field adds a custom field to your epic layout. You can also create custom fields in Settings ⚙️ > Account > Custom fields. But this option is useful for times when you realize you need to add a custom field but do not want to leave the page and lose context.
  • Edit custom field layout pulls up the epic layout, which lets you add, remove, or rearrange existing custom fields. Again, you could edit your epic's layout in Settings ⚙️ > Account > Custom layouts, but this option lets you edit your epic layout without leaving the epic itself. 
  • Add automation rule takes you to Settings ⚙️ > Workspace > Automation, where you can add a new automation rule. Automation rules, available to Enterprise+ customers, are useful for streamlining your workflows and driving consistency across your workspace. 
    Note: This option will only appear in the More options button for Enterprise+ customers.
  • Copy epic copies your epic, including requirements, to-dos, and to-do assignees (but without to-do due dates). 
  • Delete epic deletes your epic.  

Epics can be prioritized the same way that you prioritize features on the features board.

Although epics reside within the workspace and release where they will be completed, you can assign an epic to child features from multiple workspaces and releases



Manage epics

The Features tab in your navigation includes four different ways to manage your epics and features. Depending on your workspace type, some of these are disabled until you customize your navigation to show them. The available pages are: 

  • Board: A view of all your epics and features across all your releases and parking lots. 
  • Details: The details view of epics and features in a given release.
  • List: A prebuilt list report of your epics and features.
  • User story map: A view of how your work affects your user's journey
  • Workflow: A kanban-style view of your initiatives, epics, features, and requirements.

To switch between your views, you can use the navigation bar at the top of your page. However, if you have used filters to focus your view of your epics, use the Change view type dropdown to switch between several common views while retaining any filters you have added.

Note: Filters you add yourself will transfer to a new view. Page filters — filters associated with the original view that cannot be removed — will not appear on the new view.

Your View type options are: 

  • Board: A view of all your epics and features across all your releases and parking lots. 
  • List: A prebuilt list report of your epics and features.
  • Workflow: A kanban-style view of your initiatives, epics, features, and requirements.
  • Roadmap: The features roadmap is one of the most useful ways to visualize the progress of your epics and features.

Let's focus on the two most commonly used views to manage epics: the features board and the features detail views.

The Features > Board page shows features and their associated releases. Features can be rearranged into a priority order within a release by dragging them to their desired position. 

To find specific features, you have two search options.

  • Use the in-page search bar to filter your board to only view specific epics, by searching for epic cards that include the text of your search terms in their NameID, or any fields visible on the card.
  • Run an account-level search while you are on the features board. Enter your search terms, then click into the Features board tab to see the relevant results from your features board.

The Features > Details page displays one epic at a time, allowing you to see every detail at a glance and other epics in the same release to the left.

Note: The Features > Details page is hidden by default for new Aha! accounts. If you would like to enable it, you can do so by customizing your menu navigation

You may find it useful to break down the work being done in an epic even further, using features, to-dos, and comments.

  • Features are the fundamental unit of work. You can define them with descriptions, requirements, attachments, and mockups that articulate the exact challenge that you are trying to solve. You can organize them into releases (containers for work organized around a release date) and then use the epics view on the Gantt chart to see how your features contribute to the progress of your epic.
  • To-dos are as simple as they sound. They allow you to assign a piece of a feature to one or several people. Click the + icon next to To-dos on a feature card to create one, describe it, and assign it to a member of your team.
  • Comments allow you to collaborate on a single feature without losing track of the conversation. Anyone on your team can comment on a feature by clicking the + icon next to Comments on a feature card to create one. Type the @ key to tag members of your team and the # key to link in another Aha! record.


Report on epics

Once you have your epics defined, you can create reports to share with your stakeholders. The toggle that appears on the features roadmap allows you to visualize the epics that will be shipping in upcoming releases. You can also build custom analytics reports and roadmaps with data from epics.



Show epics on the Gantt chart

It can be helpful to visualize epics in a Gantt view to see how your releases affect your epics. Navigate to Releases > Gantt to see this view.


To show epics on the Gantt chart, click the Epics button at the top of the page. You can customize this view just as you can the releases view, including the ability to add dependencies between features and epics. 

There are three differences to note: 

  • You can choose to color the bars by Workspace or Release as well as StatusAssignee, and Type
  • You can see a new field at the top of the Gantt view called Release names. Click this to see the Release dates of the releases in the date range you have chosen. 
  • You can sort epics by their Aha! Score in addition to their Start dateEnd date, or Name.

    Note: If the data you sorted by changes over time (or if you drag the epics to create a custom sort order), your Gantt chart will not automatically re-sort itself. If you ever want to re-sort your data by one of these options, just reselect that option from this submenu.

Features with and without Start date and End dates will appear in the epics view, at the start of an epic with hazy borders to their bars.

  • Assign dates to a feature by clicking and dragging its bar on the Gantt view or by clicking on it to open the feature detail drawer.
  • Hide the feature from the Gantt view by clicking the More options button beside the feature's name and selecting Remove from Gantt. This will not remove the feature from the epic, it will just hide it from the view. To display the feature again, click the More options button beside the epic and select Show hidden feature


Use epics in integrations

Epics are available to integrate with any 2.0 integration.


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