Once you’ve collected and analyzed user feedback - the next stage is turning that into a plan of action and sharing it with the world through your FeedBear Product Roadmap.
Why Build a Product Roadmap with FeedBear?
Your roadmap is the ideal place to plan your product’s evolution, align team members, and keep users updated on your challenges and successes. With a public roadmap, customized to your brand, everything is transparent, and everyone is aligned.
The roadmap is the most important part of your overall product strategy, a visual distillation of high level projects, goals, and milestones. That means that it needs to be organized, clear, and easy to understand.
With a FeedBear roadmap you’ll be able to organize everything perfectly.
With tasks categorized as planned, or in progress - stakeholders and users are aligned, expectations calibrated, and upcoming challenges are objectively framed.
We’re all about user-centered design and product management though, so your roadmap won’t just be a broadcast that you publish for users to look at. This is how a lot of businesses do public roadmaps and we believe that it's a wasted opportunity.
Your FeedBear roadmap will continue the conversation that you started with users in the feedback stage, and give you a wealth of new data and input to help you and your team to get an even deeper understanding of your users needs and expectations.
For starters, users will be able to vote on roadmap items. Obviously, the number of votes won’t be the only thing you use to make product decisions. We aren’t necessarily advising that level of democracy.
But opening up the roadmap for voting serves two purposes:
It gives you additional data on what resonates most with your users, so you can factor their priorities into the decision making process
It makes users feel more heard, more valued, and more a part of a community. It continues the overarching theme of FeedBear - showing your users that their voice matters
It doesn’t stop at voting either. Users and team members might want to express opinions and ideas beyond a simple vote. They can do that too easily.
Every item on the roadmap is linked back to the Feedback Board. Just by clicking on it in the roadmap, they’ll be taken back to the feedback board where they can see the whole conversation around the idea, as well as add their own thoughts and opinions.
Try it out now on our own Roadmap to see how it works.
Should you have a Public Roadmap?
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Should you even have a public roadmap in the first place? It’s a valid question. The answer is yes, probably. Let’s take a look at why.
The arguments against public roadmaps fall into two main buckets.
Public Roadmap objection 1: “Our competitors will steal all our ideas and copy us!”
As far as your competitors copying you, that is a possibility. Should you care though? Your FeedBear roadmap will be the end result of a lively and productive conversation with your users.
They'll tell you what they want, and you'll factor it into your decision making.
If competitors copy off your roadmap, they are building for your users, not their own.
They are not innovating or listening to the people that matter most, and are just taking the lazy road. Is that likely to pay off for them? Unlikely.
On our own roadmap, we’re happy to share what we’re working on with our users, stakeholders, and yes, even competitors! If they want to build features based on the feedback of our own users - then they are welcome to.
Public Roadmap objection 2: “We’ll be tied to the roadmap and will look even worse if we miss milestones or abandon certain projects”
This is also true to an extent. But when you build the kind of connection with users that FeedBear allows you to, you’ll find that they’ll be very understanding.
People know that product development is a demanding thing. They know that roadmaps are targets, not iron-clad guarantees. They are understanding when you occasionally fall short of expectations.
The great thing about a public roadmap is that users can be more involved in the overall process. They get to see you working in real time.
They’ll feel more affinity and loyalty, and will be more understanding when you miss targets as they know you’re working hard. This is much better than keeping them disappointed in the dark.
Ultimately, the benefits of public roadmaps significantly outweigh any real or perceived drawbacks.
However, if you do decide that a public roadmap isn’t for you, we have you covered.
It’s easy to use FeedBear roadmaps purely for internal, private roadmaps too. Simply activate invite-only mode, and your team can use the roadmap to collaborate on projects privately and securely.
The private board can easily be shared with all stakeholders, and your team can still comment and vote on different initiatives.
Close the Feedback Loop
So a user submitted an idea. There was a conversation about it on the feedback board, a lot of other users voted on it. You decide to build it. It becomes a project on the Roadmap, and in no time at all you release it as a new feature.
How do you make sure that the user who originally submitted the idea feels properly credited? What about the users who commented, voted, and showed interest in the idea?
A general announcement on your blog or social channels isn't personal enough. On the other hand tracking down every user involved and emailing them sounds overly manual and time consuming.
FeedBear solves this for you with automatic email updates.
Whenever you change the status of an idea on your roadmap - like from "in progress" to "done" - everyone who posted, voted or commented is updated automatically with a branded email.
If you want to go further into detail, and announce your product wins to the world - that's what our Changelog is for!