The product management guide

Aha! helps product managers get their mojo back

Introduction to Idea Management

Idea management is the ability to capture feedback or insights from internal and external stakeholders for the purpose of adding this feedback into future products or product releases.

Every organization wants better ideas. But it is often too tough to capture them in a manageable way. And product teams need a way to quickly capture, categorize, and prioritize ideas. The best solution is to practice ideation -- the creative process of generating, developing, and curating new ideas.

Better ideas lead to innovation, and innovation leads to market leadership. Ideation software provides an integrated means to capture and respond to customer feedback, recommendations, and questions within the context of submitted ideas. Ideation software also allows product teams to quickly answer ideas submitters once those ideas are prioritized and scheduled for future releases.

The most effective ideation software allows you to create as many ideas portals as you need. This means you can have one private portal to collect internal ideas, a separate public portal to collect customers ideas, and more. Here are some tips to consider while vetting your portals to practice ideation:

Ensure that information is complete
Idea management can be approved in several ways. To save time, start with a quick review of new ideas to determine if more information is needed. If so, email the idea submitter directly.

Merge duplicate ideas
Ideas that already exist should be merged. This reduces your list to unique ideas without losing the details and nuance of each request. When you merge two ideas, the one to which you merge becomes the "master" idea. All ideas merged from that point on should become part of that master group.

Prioritize ideas
Sometimes, you review an idea and know right away that it will be promoted to a feature. In other situations, the value of an idea is not as clear. These latter ideas should be prioritized based on projected benefits to the customer and business. You should have a process to score submitted ideas so that you can sort them effectively.

Promote ideas to features
When you promote an idea to a feature, a link is established between the original idea and the new feature. This ensures that a feature's origin is always accessible. It also allows users who submit and subscribe to ideas to be automatically notified when an idea is implemented as a shipped feature.

Respond to those who provide feedback
Responding quickly to ideas with, "Yay", "Nay", or "Soon" has clear benefits for the person who submitted the idea -- and anyone who has visibility. But this process helps the product team as well. It clearly communicates and reinforces product positioning and direction. Quick responses also encourage quality discussion and additional ideas.

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