How we solved a problematic product feedback loop in Aha!

Steven Kaplan

Senior Product Manager

We had a problem

Our global sales and customer success teams spend countless hours interacting with customers. These teams have valuable insights into what our customers want. Previously, most of this feedback was sent via email. It took a lot of time to sort through requests and synthesize key learnings. It was also tough to close the loop and keep people informed of our plans.

We used multiple tools and spreadsheets to manage our product plans. None of this data was connected and different people had different ways of communicating status. This made it hard to understand how the team was progressing against our roadmap.

The tools we used to track status made it difficult to share updates with other teams. Communication was ad hoc and manual. For example, our marketing team frequently asked for updates on features to help with launch planning. But we did not have a simple way to gather and share these updates — and important details were often lost in translation.

Aha! as a solution

Implementing an ideas portal quickly addressed the problematic product feedback loop. Our product and marketing teams now review ideas as a group each week. We can stay on top of feedback, respond quickly to the field, and promote the best ideas onto our roadmap. Evaluating each idea against our strategy provides clarity about whether to move forward or not based on business value.

We did a few things to make sure the ideas portal rollout was successful. First, 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. Second, we got support from our executive team, including our head of product and global head of sales, and announced at our all-hands meeting.

Aha! tickles my PM cortex. I know nothing is falling through the cracks and can spend more time doing what I love — dreaming up and building exciting new features.

We use the features board to manage day-to-day work. It is great for running our bi-weekly scrum meetings. This view helps product and engineering leads quickly identify features that are blocked or off track so they can determine the best path forward.

Aha! presentations have changed the way we communicate with cross-functional teams. We share live views of our roadmaps so global marketing, sales, and customer success teams can see exactly what the product team is working on and the status.

Life is good

We knew the new approach for gathering feedback was successful when ideas, comments, and votes were consistently streaming in and emails came to a standstill. And our product management teams no longer need to create multiple spreadsheets to manage the backlog of features we want to build.

Today everything runs out of Aha! — from product feedback to tracking progress on current features to sharing roadmaps.

Aha! saves us a lot of administrative time and gives us one source of truth. This means we can provide greater visibility into our product plans. Our global field teams now have a real-time view of what the product team is working on, how it is progressing, what has begun ramping externally, and associated collateral to share with customers. And we no longer have to keep answering the perennial questions of “how is that feature coming along?” or “what’s coming next?”

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