Tools

How and where do you keep track of your users and stakeholders’ feedback?

Feedback comes at different times and from different corners. How not to lose track, and not to get overwhelmed? What to act on and what to ignore?

  • PM at Workfront

    Behind every piece of feedback there’s a problem that a person has with a product. While the feedback itself can take a lot of shapes and forms, the problems are much fewer and you will usually get feedback on the most urgent ones.

    Documenting the problems and tracking feedback against them makes it much more manageable. That’s why it’s important to never ignore feedback, but to actually dive deeper and understand the “why” for it. The tools you can use for that vary, but here are a few I use regularly:

    • Private beta programs with select stakeholders participating in close collaboration with PM. Those allow to gather fast and deep feedback about the problems, but are limited in scope.
    • Google Forms surveys allow to validate targeted questions and hypotheses across a larger user base, but are limited in content.
    • Direct communication is always the best though. Calendly can help with that, allowing for easy call scheduling across different time zones.

    I'd also recommend you look at...

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  • PM at Blank

    UserVoice is great tool for collecting feedback and ideas from users. People can see each other's suggestions, vote or comment on good ideas.

    Internal feedback is logged in a big spreadsheet, and any ideas from UserVoice are added too, so we have a consolidated list. We then have regular reviews with product owners to triage the list.

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  • Founder at Pona

    I'm a big believer that the best ideas always come back, whether because other customers repeatedly mention them, because they're so obvious that you keep rediscovering them in your product research, or because they're so unique that they get stuck in your memory.

    We've kept a backlog of product ideas in the past, but realized that seeing the list every day was a major energy drain (think Inbox Zero!), that we rarely lacked quality ideas to work on, and in the rare instances when we did get through our entire roadmap, most ideas would be outdated anyways.

    This of course assumes a small to medium-sized team and product. Once you scale your userbase and your product becomes more stable, there's certainly value in a more quantitative approach to feedback collection and prioritization.

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  • The Team at JAM

    Let’s agree on one thing first. We’re making an implicit assumption that it’s valuable to keep track of the feedback you’re receiving. (Except for the one “This sucks!” comment from you fav reddit troll.)

    Why would we say it's valuable?

    Two basic points:

    • Your product is for the people, you need to listen to them.
    • It saves you thinking what to work on :P

    Number three might be less obvious. There are several stakeholders who you need to consider. Each of them might have a different objective in providing you with feedback. Some are more into quick monetisation and ignore the long-term value of the product. Others want endless features and don't consider dev time and server cost.

    Logging the source of feedback helps you see what degree of importance you should assign it. A voice of a VC has a higher weight than that of @MsSpandex from Tumblr (no offence to that user if they exist). Similarly, an opinion of a long-term paying user ranks higher than that of a newly logged-in one who used just 30% of the product’s features.

    Qualitative or quantitative?

    Most feedback will seem qualitative, but you can translate it into quantities.

    Idea board

    An idea board with a list of features and an upvoting function is a simple way to outsource the (some of the!) decisions to your users. Options to consider:

    • Opening the idea board only to selected user group.
    • Duplicate the same idea board and share it separately with higher-level stakeholders.
    • Don’t read treat its results like an oracle. Supplement with other forms of feedback.

    Tagging.

    If you have help desk with a tagging function, tag messages that include feedback. After a while you’ll be able split messages into categories, for example: feature requests, usability, speed, bugs. Periodically go through the messages and categorise them in an excel table, or on a Trello board.

    More mentions = higher priority?

    Not always. Besides the rule different source = different level of importance, different categories of feedback should also be organised in a hierarchy. A function "share on slack" might have gotten 100 votes. But, if the upload button still makes the website crash…

    You get the point: fixing bugs takes priority. But, other categories might be less straightforward. Establish your own hierarchy.

    Once you have the feedback…

    It’s time to act! Schedule regular team meetings to discuss the feedback you received and decide how it should impact product plans.

    Then get back to taking over the world. Easy.

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