How much influence should users have on your final product? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but it’s generally accepted that your user feedback should influence your product development… without driving the train. Hearing the customer voice is crucial to building an app that users love, but balancing feedback with overall strategy can be challenging. In this blog post, we'll discuss how to manage your users’ relationship with your roadmap:
- Should you make your roadmap public?
- Feedback sources and analysis
- Product validation and continuous discovery
- Feedback segmentation and prioritization
Should you make your mobile app product roadmap public?
Your roadmap is a reference for your product goals and development all throughout its life cycle. If your company chooses to make your roadmap public, it sends your customers a message of transparency. It keeps them informed about your future together—and for B2B companies, it's also powerful for attracting prospects who are on the fence about your product and might be waiting for new features. It’s also a valuable resource to provide during customer support conversations. For an in-depth look at public product roadmaps, check out this study from Product Coalition.
Some product managers advise caution with public roadmaps due to the fact that it reveals your strategy and progress to your competitors. This is certainly a potential pitfall—you can manage how much you choose to reveal, if anything. But to others (including major players like Slack), the community engagement and atmosphere of trust are worth the risk. Whether or not you choose to make your roadmap public is completely your call; either way, it will become an invaluable asset to you and your team.
An alternative to a purely public roadmap is creating a public feature request board, which will stir up community engagement and get users more invested. If you allow commenting, it’ll become a new feedback avenue for your most devoted fans. You’ll be receiving valuable feedback while keeping your users in-app. If you’re using Instabug, you can mark your feature requests with status updates, so your users know what’s in progress and which features have been added. This involvement will get them excited about the next steps in your product development, but you have the advantage of not completely revealing your roadmap.
How can you get user feedback for your mobile app product roadmap?
There are numerous feedback avenues for your users, especially if you’re using an in-app feedback tool. Use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. Qualitative information will help you direct the focus of your quantitative analysis, which can sometimes be misleading without context.
Some possible sources of customer feedback:
- Customer support messages
- Bug reports
- In-app surveys
- Feature requests
- Public roadmap comments and votes
- NPS surveys
- In-app chats
- Customer interviews
- Analytics trackers
You can check out our detailed guide to qualitative feedback sources here. One of the most simple ways to collect current data as your product evolves is by running short, easy surveys during the testing phase (or even live!). You’ll gradually collect data without annoying your users—a win-win situation for all of you. As you gather your data, you can break it down and analyze it. Your analysis doesn’t necessarily have to be rigorous and technical; there are plenty of simple and effective ways to process the qualitative feedback you receive, many of which are outlined in our guide to user feedback analysis.
Product validation and continuous discovery
Feedback analysis is an opportunity to give yourself a reality check. By keeping up with your customer thoughts and feelings, you’ll be continuously validating your product strategy throughout its development. Check in with your progress by considering:
- What do your users think of your product?
- What is your product vision?
- Is the customer experience in alignment with your vision?
Keep your perspective fresh (and real) by frequently listening to your users. Continuously build upon valid feedback to inch your product’s reality closer to your vision. Gathering data will also reduce aimless speculation and keep you on an informed path toward your goal—or in some cases, cause you to pivot. This situation is different for everyone, but in the section on prioritizing feedback, we’ll address how much weight should be given to customer voices.
Your users’ perception of your product matters. It’s important for you to examine whether their thoughts and interaction with your app are in alignment with your positioning and messaging. If your most common use cases and your marketing efforts are a total mismatch, then one of them might need to change.
Keeping watchful eyes on your feedback during the development process will help you build a successful product. It’s helpful to adopt an outlook of continuous discovery; to be evolving and iterating incrementally, guided in the right direction by feedback from your users.
User feedback segmentation and prioritization
Receiving large amounts of feedback can sometimes be overwhelming. You’ve probably heard from many users with diverse or even contradictory opinions. What do you do with all of this data? How do you decide which voices to listen to?
Customer segmentation is key to balancing these many viewpoints. It’s important to know where all these opinions are coming from, what users with similar viewpoints have in common, and how they relate to other users.
Your app users aren’t all the same: you’ll have some power users, casual users, those who signed up but rarely log on, freemium users, paid users, and so on. There are numerous ways you can divide them up. Just remember that not all opinions carry the same weight. By getting granular with your segmentation, you’ll find out if patterns start to emerge within different groups.
Choosing the right group is context-dependent, according to Kik product manager Ashton Rankin, who uses Instabug for user feedback and bug reporting. Here's what she has to say about power users:
It’s important to remember that the loudest voices are not necessarily your most valuable users, and segmentation will help you sort through the noise. You are less likely to prioritize requests that come from casual users than those from your most frequent or paid users. Balance feedback intensity with quantity. In order to prevent feature creep, you’ll have to avoid taking too much advice from your users.
Wildly successful e-commerce platform Veepee segments users before the feedback collection begins, in order to streamline their feedback process. Segmentation should be goal-oriented. For Veepee, their highest-value clients were the segment whose opinion was wanted.
You should also be keeping tabs on the developers’ vision for the app and how the features you’re considering tie in with them. You and your developers should discuss potential feature additions and decide together which ones are compatible with your goals and abilities.
Once you’ve determined which requests are worth your consideration, it’s time to prioritize them. An impact-effort matrix is a simple way to sort your features into “NO” vs. “GO” by stacking difficulty and cost against the potential outcome. Read more about how to analyze user feedback in the articles below.
- Why Every Mobile Product Manager Needs an In-App Feedback Tool
- How to Analyze User Feedback for Your Mobile App
- Types of Qualitative Feedback You Need for Your Mobile App
- Best Practices to Gather User Feedback
- The Beginner's Guide to In-App Surveys for User Feedback
- How to Segment and Target Users to Get Relevant User Feedback
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