I find myself taking notes in a notebook, capturing some stuff in spreadsheets, trello, miro, docs, etc.
I can’t find a way that works for me to capture these things in a way that makes it easy to review it later on and to keep adding to it.
The input comes from various sources, research, customer service, market insights, conversations with colleagues, etc.
Anyone have any methods or tools that can solve this problem?
Productboard, has integrations to bring feedback from sources like Slack, Intercom etc. plus ability to add manually (e.g. for interview notes) so sounds like it can cover what you mentioned and keep all that feedback in one place.
Yup. I tried a few different things and found productboard the best when I was dealing with a significant volume of input, mostly because there was more flexibility with the structure/relationship between the snippet of feedback or request or idea and the potential solution. Too many of those tools are built more to help you generate roadmaps, or prioritise feature requests (I’m on a personal mission to eradicate feature request voting anywhere I go) so it was difficult to store stuff first then join the dots later. Productboard made that way easier and when it came time for someone to say “OK we’re going to go ahead and build something for this purpose” I’d be able to bring up a single view where I’d collected loads of feedback related to that thing that would help us start the conversation about further research or scoping.
Yes I sound gushy, but it really was a game changer for me.
Why do we all hate feature request voting?
My experience of it went like this:
Say someone requests “Reporting” in your product. You get 500 votes for that. Great. But what about all those votes for “Dashboard”? Did the people who added +1 for reporting mean what you imagine when you think of reporting? How is that different from a dashboard? How do you know how to scope the initial stab at it? You’re starting from zero when it comes to finding out what someone wants to achieve with this thing that they’ve asked you to build, so now you have to reach out to them all and say “hey when you asked for reporting, what did you mean?” and it turns out that half of them meant having a weekly email summary and the other half wanted a dashboard. Or better, half of them thought it sounded like it might solve an issue they are having that would actually be better served with a completely different kind of functionality.
It’s solution-led, it makes extra work for discovery, it gives a false sense of being quantitative data, and it means you end up deciding which feature is more important to build instead of which problem is more important to solve and basically discards most of the skills of the PM, designers and devs in coming up with the best solution to achieve a goal. It’s impossible to know if you can provide something with x amount of resources that actually fits the need because the need was described as a feature, not a need. You could easily miss out on building something that really hits the spot for a load of your customers because there isn’t an obvious and familiar solution to a need that they have. It’s also a recipe for having other teams point the finger at product for missing a sale or renewal or getting loads of tickets “because we need to build feature x” without taking into account any of the stuff I just explained.
Ultimately my problem isn’t with the voting. It’s with voting on features. If customers could vote on “which issue impacts me more” or “which problem is more important for me to solve” I’d be alllll over it
I try to convert into standard process artifacts as soon as possible, so insights might end up in a team charter, in a customer research recording, on an opportunity map, in a user story map, in a ticket, in code, or in a product announcement. If I have more insights than I can add to artifacts, I temporarily store them in a text file which I transfer each evening. If I have so many notes that I can’t transfer all of them most of the time, then I adjust my processes and throw away more information, as it is too much to be actionable.
Thanks for sharing!
I’m not familiar with opportunity maps but I’ll look them up
Best source is the book “Continuous discovery habits” which I can’t recommend strongly enough, not only for Opportunity maps, but many other topics as well.
Thanks! I have it on hold at the library. Can’t wait to read it!
The sooner you can get your notes out of internal, hard to share notes/docs/spreadsheets, the easier everything will be for you. My company uses confluence, and that works really well. When a challenge / limitation /opportunity / tradeoff etc. arises, we just document everything and share it internally via copying and pasting the url. For monitoring/transcribing meetings/interviews/partner meetings etc., platforms like dovetail and otter.ai are also worth looking into.
I’d usually use Trello for this purpose. Scribble something in a notepad, excel, txt file whenever something pops up and make sure to transfer to Trello periodically. Add labels such as Q3 Planning, Spike story etc. that will help to keep them more sorted.
Has anyone tried savio.io? Their pitch is on point. I found them through an article they posted and you can see that the founders lived through these pains.
I mostly used spreadsheets but may give this a try.
Similarly Miro, is an infinite whiteboard where you can stick on pretty much anything you want.
Yeah, I like Miro and have used it a couple of times. I guess I just need to find a better structure for storing everything there. Any templates you use/recommend?
Not really, I just organize it the way I find it more comfortable for me.