At Buffer, we’re very lucky to obtain tons of of function requests each month. Our neighborhood is keen to assist us enhance, and it’s an absolute blessing.
We’ve experimented with totally different processes for incorporating person suggestions and concepts into our product and maintaining our neighborhood knowledgeable of real-time updates, however it may be difficult to do this nicely.
Within the spirit of transparency, it’s necessary to us that we let of us know when their requests are being labored on, whether or not their concept is technically doable, or if there are different issues we have to prioritize.
At the moment, I’m excited to share the following evolution of constructing along with our neighborhood, Buffer Suggestions.
Learn on for the backstory of how we received right here and why we’re so enthusiastic about our new suggestions hub and clear roadmap.
Our first clear roadmap
Almost eight years in the past, we launched the first version of our transparent product roadmap.
It was a public Trello board with product options from customers organized by stage of growth. Anybody may vote and depart feedback on a suggestion.
To submit a suggestion, you’d need to fill out a Typeform that was embedded on our web site.
We linked this Typeform to an inner Slack channel in order that we may keep watch over all submissions and have discussions about them.
Lastly, if we determined to discover a function request, we might add it to the clear roadmap. Due to the amount of requests we obtained, solely a really small share of requests would make it to the roadmap.
It wasn’t the perfect course of
This technique of gathering and managing function requests labored pretty nicely, however over time we began to determine some flaws.
Duplicate function requests.
As a result of we did not publicly share each function request, we ended up getting the identical request from totally different individuals again and again.
Figuring out who requested the function.
When contemplating whether or not to construct a brand new function, it’s useful to know who the function is for. At present, there was no manner for us to attach a function request to the person who shared it, past manually trying up their e-mail handle in our database.
Maintaining customers knowledgeable.
After submitting a function request, the person didn’t obtain any comply with notifications to allow them to know in regards to the standing of the request. Did we see it? Is it being labored on? Has it been declined? With such numerous requests, it was just about inconceivable to maintain everybody posted on how their request was being dealt with.
A renewed give attention to neighborhood and a brand new activity power
This yr, we recognized our neighborhood as a precedence for our workforce.
We have now a small advertising and marketing funds and no salespeople. Due to this fact, we rely closely on individuals having optimistic experiences with our product and our workforce after which recommending us to their associates to others.
Taking good care of our neighborhood and ensuring they really feel linked to us helps construct a greater product, develop our model, and it’s additionally simply the suitable factor to do.
Our CEO, Joel Gascoigne, is without doubt one of the leaders behind our renewed neighborhood efforts. To get issues rolling, he created a brand new challenge and taskforce to revamp how we acquire and work with function requests. The duty power included Brandon from our Product workforce, Adam from our Advocacy workforce, Sofia from our Design workforce, and me, from our Advertising and marketing workforce.
A enjoyable, cross-functional crew!
The challenge concerned figuring out and implementing a brand new, clear, customer-facing software to interchange the makeshift system we’d created utilizing Trello, Typeform, and Slack.
After performing some analysis, we landed on featureOS.
With featureOS you’ll be able to centralize, arrange, and reply to buyer requests in a single place. There are a selection of different instruments which can be related however we selected featureOS as a result of:
- They have been very aware of our suggestions. They even constructed a brand new function for us!
- Their pricing felt cheap for our wants.
- They provide quite a few integrations.
- Their product felt intuitive.
With this new software, we set about creating model 2.0 of our clear product roadmap.
Essentially the most thrilling factor about our new transparent roadmap is that it’s, nicely, much more clear!
You possibly can see each function request that has been submitted by the neighborhood. You possibly can vote or remark in your favourite concepts. And, in fact, you’ll be able to submit your personal. You can even select to get notified when a function goes from being “Deliberate” to “In Progress,” or “In Progress” to “Full.”
And better of all, you should use your Buffer login credentials to do all of it.
Sharing your suggestions and concepts
Anybody can share a suggestion or vote on present options by going to suggestions.buffer.com. Present options are sorted by essentially the most upvotes, so the most well-liked options will likely be on the high.
You can even kind by recency, product growth stage, and votes by you.
All new options are mechanically categorized as “In Evaluation”. This offers different customers the chance to upvote the request and our workforce an opportunity to think about if and when so as to add it to our product roadmap!
So as to add your personal suggestion to the board, hit the Counsel a Function button and fill out the shape.
Viewing the product roadmap
You possibly can see how the way forward for Buffer is shaping up by switching to the Roadmap view. On this view, options are sorted into Kanban-style columns. You possibly can remark, vote, or subscribe to a submit from this view, too.
Getting notified about our progress
While you submit a suggestion, you’ll mechanically obtain an e-mail at any time when somebody feedback on the suggestion or its standing modifications. You can even subscribe to different options to remain up-to-date with any modifications.
Over to you!
What ought to we construct subsequent? We would love so that you can assist us form the way forward for Buffer by adding your votes and suggestions to our new roadmap. We will not wait to see your concepts!