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We had a problem
Our business has a large global sales and customer success team who spend countless hours with customers and have a great pulse on product feedback. Most of that feedback was sent through email, which took a lot of time to sort through and synthesize into the top requests. It was very tough to close the loop and let people know when we decided to implement something.
We also used multiple tools and spreadsheets to roadmap and track progress. None of these things were connected and different people had different ways of communicating status. This made it tough to get a single view into how the team was moving forward against what we had planned.
In addition to challenges within product and engineering, the tools we were using to track status were hard to share with other teams. Communication was ad hoc and manual. For example, our marketing team frequently asked for updates on features to help with planning — which created a lot of unnecessary busy work and things were lost in translation.
Aha! as a solution
We addressed the problematic product feedback loop with the Aha! ideas portal. We knew that the ideas portal was working when the ideas, comments, and votes began consistently streaming in, and emails came to a standstill.
Our product and marketing teams now review ideas as a group once a week to make sure we’re on top of feedback, responding to the field, and promoting top ideas into our roadmap. There have been some top-voted ideas that we’ve decided not to implement — however, Aha! has given us a much cleaner view into what is most important.
A few things we did to make sure the ideas portal rollout was successful:
- We had the product and marketing teams initially “seed” the portal with ideas and then roll it out to a small pilot group. That way, when we rolled it out more broadly it didn’t feel like the crickets were chirping.
- We got support from our executive team, including our head of product and global head of sales, and announced at our all-hands meeting.
To address the status tracking and communication issues, we created Aha! Notebooks for sharing live-updated roadmaps with marketing, sales, and customer success teams. Our global field now has a real-time view into what the product team is working on, how it is moving, what has begun ramping externally, and associated collateral to share with customers. This allows us to give a lot more visibility into roadmap and answer the perennial question of “how is feature X coming along?” or “what’s coming next?”
Life is good
We’ve stopped asking teams to create and manage multiple lists of features we’re building. We run our bi-weekly scrum of scrums meeting out of the Aha! feature board and have customized the views so that we’re able to quickly identify features that are blocked or off track to discuss with our product and engineering leads.