Exposing feature request trends at executive level

  • 27 April 2022
  • 5 replies
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Hi There - Looking for best-practices on how to tell a thematic story regarding feature requests to the executive team.  We collect insights and feature requests through our Insights area of Productboard. They come in via Salesforce, directly into Productboard, or via email.  I then label the insights and they move into different collections.

What I’m struggling with is how I can use Productboard and some of its integrations to tell a story to the executive team about feature request themes that we’re seeing.  Our Support team does a great job using Salesforce to tell the story about ticket trends - what types of tickets are coming in, how many, how often, from which lender, etc.  It allows the executive team to have a good pulse on big-picture trends.  

I’d like to do something with insights/feature requests, but I’m struggling to come up with a Productboard solution.


5 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Daniel English,

This is a really interesting problem.

My first inclination is that this sounds like a job for our Insights Trends - you can use this to great a comprehensive view of the feedback, insights, opportunities, and needs of your customers and also how that’s changing over time. Have you seen this? You can even drill down using filters to begin to understand things at more granularity.

A big part of telling the story is just that. For example, the Features board and the hierarchy with the User Impact Score can help your team begin to understand what’s surfacing as important to your market and customers. Drilling down and using Segments, you can better understand what important for your target audiences or customers, and the linked insights and feedback can help you communicate what’s happening and why on your roadmaps. Perhaps a solution here is also in readying some views that surface the right details that your teams need or want to see.

Would love to hear a little bit more too from you as to what you’re doing today to convey this, what great would look like here for you. What would you want an executive to be able to do and see? How do you envision them working with these details?

Userlevel 5
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I’m not sure what the best practices are, but I can tell you what I’ve done …

As feedback comes in, there are two primary layers of categorization.

  1. Tags: This is primarily an internal prod ops tool for me. It helps us classify and collaborate to ensure insights end up in front of the correct eyes.
  2. Feature links: As you know, this is the magic of Pb. Every relevant insight should be associated with something.

If you can be disciplined about #2 (which is fed by #1 and team member comments on insights), then you will always have a shareable view of customer feedback trends.

When an idea or pain point comes across, even if I don’t yet have something on the board, even if I don’t really understand it yet (most of the time), I create a “good enough” placeholder feature to represent that feedback. Sometimes I don’t even know what product or component to link it to -- I have a placeholder for that too: “Orphans”.

I save a filtered feature list using the User Impact column (like the filter shown below). It’s critical that everyone is aware of that view and knows exactly what it represents.

Placeholder features I’ve added that are legitimate and valuable will rise on the list. That’s when I start getting uncomfortable with my lack of definition and I’ll carve out some time to really figure things out. The feedback submitters are an invaluable resource at this point.

And if I’m putting effort into something like that, I can just point to the “By the users” view and my boss knows exactly why it’s important.

It’s also worth noting, that view should feel a lot like the strategic roadmap we’re executing against. If it’s not, I start to re-evaluate the strategy. Either that or the team hasn’t been using the insights feature right.

 

 

Userlevel 5
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@Daniel English we also have a very similar setup as you and I tend to use custom segments that filter based on the salesforce account details to report on features. For example on the feature board I added the customer segment and prospect segment to see how many customers are voting for a specific feature vs how many prospects have requested a feature. This is critical for us as we identify gaps in our products that could cause a prospect to go to a competitor. 

 

To get this in an easy to display format I created a very simplified feature board that only has the following columns:

user impact score

effort

segments

 

You could also use the Insight Trends aspect on the All notes collection. This shows you a breakdown of insights created, segments that they are associated to, popular features, popular tags

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@plainclothes question for you - I generally try not to interfere with my PM’s features in PB because each PM does theirs a bit differently and I don’t want to mess with the organization they’ve made.  Do you not run into that issue when creating “placeholder” features on your PMs’ feature orgs?

Userlevel 5
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@Daniel English  that’s a fair question …

When I say “I have a placeholder” that means “the product team has a placeholder”.

Tags and comments help to get feedback in front of the right people. Each sub-team will process feedback and attribute features as they come in. I try to make this a morning routine, before stand-ups, if possible.

In larger teams, the associate PM (or whatever role you use) who is monitoring the list might create a placeholder and mention their manager or another teammate to validate it.

I really don’t worry about stuff being perfect since you should be reassessing and reading through feedback and features on a regular basis.

Over time, just like a healthy engineering team will start to develop working norms across the department, the same thing happens within Product. Processes like feedback classification and creating placeholder features (or whatever you do) will normalize and it becomes less challenging to understand opportunities across the portfolio.

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