But what do you do with it all? How do you decide what makes it onto your product roadmaps?
A few ideas based around our own roadmapping strategy, as well as tactical application of your SmartLists, are listed below.
1. Find your strategy
What kind of SaaS are you? What's your value and mission?
Do you do bespoke work for each of your accounts? Is your mission to help customers? Or to be the #1 sales platform for pharmaceutical companies?
Features that don't align with your strategy and mission are easy to spot when you're clear about what your goals are and what's important to you as a company.
2. Specify themes to focus on for the next 4+ quarters
Instead of constantly adding new big features to your product, set efforts around certain themes for each quarter to help you fill in any gaps.
3. Who are the key product decision makers?
Find out who needs to be involved in roadmapping meetings and make this list official. See more on engaging your stakeholders below.
4. Define your roadmapping process
How you determine what makes it onto your roadmap is going to depend on a variety of factors including how your company works, how large your teams are, how many products, etc.
The one thing that's going to be consistent is your need for a defined process to avoid product decisions being made on the fly or when urgent things come up.
Monthly feature request Fridays
One process incorporates monthly "Feature request Friday" meetings.
Here's an overview of how this could work:
Throughout the month as new features come in:
- A designated member of the product or customer success team reviews feedback as it comes into Receptive. For anything unclear, additional feedback and/or use cases are requested from the customer within the discussion section.
- All features are set to the status “Awaiting Feedback” in order to gauge demand and collect additional feedback from your colleagues & customers.
The week of the "Feature request Friday" meeting:
- The Monday of the upcoming meeting, the Receptive Customer, Internal, and Prospect SmartLists are exported and sent to all attendees. These reports contain feature requests sorted by their Receptive value. (These will be filtered by feature tag to avoid exporting anything that's already been reviewed - see more on this below.)
- Attendees are asked to review the list for clarity so no time is wasted during the meeting.
On Feature Request Friday:
- The meeting should have a strict time limit (90 mins)
- Lunch is brought in for all attendees
- The meeting is started by reviewing the highest value features from each SmartList to determine “yes, no, or maybe”. In order to determine if and where a feature fits on the roadmap they ask:
- Does this align with our strategy?
- Does this fit into our current initiatives and areas we want to optimize?
- Is it important to the success of those initiatives?
- Do we need more information?
- Is this something our competitors are doing?
After the meeting:
- A member of the product team updates the features in Receptive:
- Unreviewed items are left in Receptive as "Awaiting Feedback" for another month.
- Reviewed features are tagged as “Reviewed” so they aren’t included in the next month’s meeting.
- Features that are marked as a “maybe” are left in Receptive without the “Reviewed” tag so the feature can gather more feedback before a decision is made.
- Features that are marked as “no” are tagged as "Reviewed" and declined, with the reason in Receptive. All team members & customers who are subscribed to these features are automatically notified and can add additional use cases for re-review.
- Features that are marked as “yes” are tagged as "Reviewed" and moved to the “Planned” status which adds them to the Receptive roadmap, JIRA (if applicable), and notifies all customers and team members who requested that feature.
Whatever your process is, there are countless benefits to having one in place including:
- Huge time savings
- Improved transparency & efficiency of your roadmapping process across the business and your user base
- Peace of mind knowing your Release Log & Product Roadmap(s) are automatically updated as requests change status
- Customers & team members can rely on your Receptive data because it's prioritized & always up-to-date
[blog post] Roadmaps: a product team's friend or foe?