The better you can manage user feedback, the more able you are to create a Product Roadmap that allows you to build a better product and build it faster.
When you’re creating and executing your Product Roadmap there’s nothing more frustrating than hitting unnecessary roadblocks, drifting off-course or ending up at the wrong destination. This quick guide provides examples of how you can leverage user feedback in order to keep your Product Roadmap on track and maximize your chances of product success.
User feedback provides insight into user needs, preferences, and pain points — the information you need to identify areas of improvement, prioritize features, and develop strategies for solving customer problems and addressing their needs.
Additionally, user feedback can provide valuable information on the effectiveness of existing features and functions, helping you to refine and optimize your Product Roadmap.
“A systematic approach to capturing and synthesizing customer and user feedback is critical to making the most informed product prioritization decisions.”
Productboard 2022 Product Excellence Report
1. Validate your vision
Whether you’re building from scratch or enhancing an existing platform, when you have a vision for what you want to achieve, you will be making assumptions and decisions based on your past experience and gut feel.
However, we live in rapidly changing and increasingly unpredictable times. No matter how well you think you may understand your users and their requirements, there’s every chance that there will be some level of discrepancy between what you think people need and what they actually need.
By continuously collecting and assessing user feedback throughout the product development lifecycle you can validate your product decisions and identify opportunities based on realtime data and insights, rather than relying on inaccurate assumptions or untested hypotheses.
Discover how Userback makes it easy to collect feedback to validate the vision for your product roadmap here.
2. Focus on the needs of users (not stakeholders)
During the Product Development Lifecycle there can be friction between the drive to meet user needs whilst trying to meet potentially unrealistic stakeholder expectations, for example timelines, sign ups or ROI.
User feedback provides Product Managers with the evidence they need to create a Product Roadmap that is designed to meet user needs.
If on the other hand you’re unable to collect user feedback — or cannot process it in a meaningful way — then it can be easy to default to focusing on satisfying stakeholder requirements at the cost of the user experience.
Learn how Userback allows you to focus your product roadmap on user needs here.
3. Give everyone a voice (and build a stronger product community)
Collecting diverse 360° user feedback creates greater opportunity for developing a Product Roadmap that meets the needs of a wider range of people, while strengthening user community.
However, when you collect user feedback you often only hear from those people who are highly passionate about your product — they really love it or they’re really frustrated. But just because someone is ‘shouting’ louder than others doesn’t mean their feedback is more valid (although you may need to manage them more carefully)!
Regardless of whether their feedback is positive or negative, it’s important to be able to understand whether their feedback is representative of your broader user base. The easier you make it for users to provide feedback, the more comments and suggestions you’ll get to validate product decisions. At the same time these interactions will help to grow your user community.
Discover how Userback’s feedback portal gives your users a voice when it comes to shaping your product roadmap here.
4. Prioritize features and fixes that add greatest value (and park the rest)
When you have a number of features or fixes to implement (including your own ‘bells and whistles’) it can be hard to know where to start.
The best people to guide you are your users themselves. When you make the list of features and fixes available to your users on a portal they can help you to prioritize things through activities like voting. This helps you to get ruthless with your prioritization (this is no time to be sentimental!) before you commit precious time and resources. You can then focus on those activities that will create greatest impact, and park the ones that won’t deliver value for your users.
Not only does this allow you to fine tune and streamline your Product Roadmap with their feedback, it also helps you to build an emotional rapport with them as they become more emotionally connected to your product and development process.
See how Userback helps you to prioritize features and fixes on your product roadmap here.
5. Address issues before they become frustrating delays
Bugs can create significant roadblocks in any Product Roadmap. They slow things down and you need to re-allocate precious developer time to fixing retrospective problems rather than building future features.
When you collect bug reports it’s important to understand exactly where problems are occurring and how they happen.
The more advanced visual feedback tools accelerate this process by automatically capturing information like system data and session details for developers so that they can get to the source of the problem as quickly as possible and fix it before it can have a significant negative impact on the user experience.
Visual feedback tools also make it easier for users to submit detailed bug reports — and feature requests — so that you are aware of them sooner and keep the Product Roadmap on track.
Discover how Userback enables your team to identify and fix bugs faster to keep your product roadmap on schedule here.
6. Leverage the past
While the Product Roadmap is about realizing the vision for the future, user feedback can help you to leverage past learnings.
If you have a product that has been around for a while then you may find yourselves scoping features or functionality that have been discussed or implemented in the past.
By reviewing historical user feedback you can see how users felt about these features back then and involve them in the process to ensure that what is being proposed adds value and is a improvement on anything that has been done before.
7. Close the loop and keep moving forwards, faster
The longer feedback goes unresolved or unacknowledged it can have a negative impact on your Product Roadmap.
The most obvious being that there’s a potential issue that you either need to address or decide not to do something about it.
The other issue is that you increase the likelihood of the user or team member who raised it feeling unlistened to or unappreciated, which in turn can affect their motivation to provide feedback in the future.
When you are able to close the user feedback loop efficiently you’re able to resolve issues faster — getting the Product Roadmap back on track.
Discover how Userback helps product managers to keep their product roadmap moving forwards here.
8. Use the Product Roadmap to inform the Product Roadmap
One of the best ways to leverage user feedback to fine tune your Product Roadmap is to get users to give you feedback about it!
When you develop your Product Roadmap you can create different versions with specific information for specific audiences, for example:
- Developers & Designers
- Customer Success & Support
- Shareholders & Investors
- Customers & Prospects
It may be daunting at first, but when you open up your Product Roadmap to feedback from users and prospects you show that you are transparent and inclusive and build a sense of community around your product.
Take a look at Userback’s product roadmap here.
By actively engaging with customers and gathering feedback, you can ensure that your Product Roadmap is built with an understanding of user needs and preferences, leading to the development of a more successful product.
User feedback is critical to the validation of product decisions and developing an effective Product Roadmap.
From visual and contextual feedback to one-to-one interviews there are different kinds of user feedback that you may use at different stages of your product lifecycle.
Managing user feedback can be challenging, but there is a growing number of tools that streamline and automate the collection and assessment of user feedback, making it easier to incorporate it into product decisions and your Product Roadmap.
As demonstrated by the 8 examples in this guide, when you can manage user feedback effectively, you can avoid dead ends, lengthy delays and never-ending roundabouts in your Product Roadmap.
Founded in Australia in 2016, Userback is a market-leading user feedback platform helping 20,000+ software teams to understand what customers need so they can build better web applications, faster.
Userback streamlines and automates the realtime in-app collection, evaluation and management of visual feedback and contextual surveys. Userback can be used standalone or seamlessly integrated into existing business workflows to allow product managers and developers to validate ideas, optimize product-market fit, refine roadmaps, prioritize features, fix bugs and deliver value with greater insight, impact and efficiency.
Start free at userback.io/signup
Power up your feedback loop with The Ultimate Guide to User Feedback for Product Managers
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to download The Ultimate Guide to User Feedback Management. From collection to closure, this comprehensive eBook highlights what you can be doing to streamline your user feedback processes and better understand what your users need in order to deliver the features they want, faster!