9th November 2022
Asking users to decide our priorities
Cursor Curated Issue 7
There are no two ways about it – when it comes to design, the user experience comes first. User advocacy offers tons of benefits, from saving time to reduced risks. The right feedback can help us make the right decisions – but what happens when there’s too much feedback?
In some instances, gathering feedback can work so well that we end up with hundreds of features that our customers want to see built. So how do we go about prioritising features? We need to consider the fine balance:
- Driving business value
- Keeping users happy
Coupled with the fact that some users can be more vocal than others (and often, unjustifiably so), we may end up wasting money on non-commercially viable features. We need to present a clear business case before making these decisions.
Capturing and validating user feedback
One of the inherent problems with gathering user feedback is that it’s often siloed. We may have sales, customer service and marketing teams, for example. It’s important to have a single source of truth where all users can access data.
A public product roadmap is a great place to start. This shows users that you have taken their feedback on board and publishes their thoughts. This helps them feel valued, and brings all viewpoints into one platform for continuous improvement.
How to better prioritise product features
Once everybody has had a chance to have their say, it’s time to start prioritising product features. We can make this easier with a few best practices.
Get a clear understanding of your organisational goals and vision
This should be the steer for all of your development projects. Naturally, users’ considerations should always be top of mind, but how do they align with the overall goals of your organisation?
Going back to the drawing board and looking at your values will help to determine which feedback is most useful. Let’s say one of your values is about serving a particular subset of users. You might want to focus on the comments you get from this segment.
Of course, you’ll need to get sign-off from all stakeholders – but you’ll be able to present a strong business case.
Agree on a methodology
Are you falling prey to the HIPPOs? By that, we mean pandering to the highest paid person’s opinion. We can agree on how to prioritise feature requests by using a trusted methodology. There are a few ways to approach this:
RICE is a simple framework weighing up the pros of the feature. Reach, impact, confidence and effort – can the first two be justified by the second two?
Value vs. effort
We can also try value vs. effort. This involves looking at the overall value of a product feature, be it financial or to improve the user experience, against the effort it takes to build. If the numbers look positive, play on.
Feasibility, risk and impact
This scorecard methodology assigns scores to each of the above-mentioned factors. Feasibility ranks how easy or time-consuming a product feature will be to develop. Risk assesses how likely it will be that the feature is difficult or time-consuming.
Finally, impact looks at the bottom lines – again, thinking about that value.
The Kano method
The Kano Analysis Model is also known as “Customer Delight vs. Implementation Investment”. This analyses customers’ emotional responses and seeks to categorise them, for example “must-have” features versus attractive or indifferent.
Make trade-offs visual and easy to communicate
Once you’ve agreed the best method for prioritising product features, it’s time to communicate it. Pick your favoured prioritisation metrics and visualise them.
Include all teams in this – share items, criteria and scales you’ll use to rank the user feedback. Make this accessible with some of our favourite tools, outlined below.
Establish a cadence for reviewing user feedback
It’s one thing to communicate your prioritisation matrices. It’s another to decide how often users’ opinions will be reviewed. Agree this internally and establish a process for who, when and how. Again, we’ve chosen some of our favourite tools below.
Some of the tools we love
Make prioritisation and collaboration easier with these tried and tested tools:
- Canny – here you can capture, organise and analyse product feedback in one place
- Miro – a visual collaboration tool to develop and document visuals, such as prioritisation matrices
- User testing – this is an online user testing platform that helps you trial ideas with your target audience, both non-customers and existing
- Jira – this allows you collate development tasks into a Kanban style product roadmap, which helps you plan, track and release from one place
- Jira Product Discovery – this tool helps you balance business goals against user feedback and priorities.
All feedback is useful, but it won’t all contribute to crucial business decisions. By prioritising feedback, you’ll show your stakeholders that their opinions are valued, while improving those bottom lines.