Leveraging User Feedback in Project Prioritization

Leveraging User Feedback in Project Prioritization

This post is from Jacques Reulet, head of Customer Success at Canny. Here’s his insight into how gathering customer feedback is crucial when it comes to project prioritization, and how to make the most of it. See how ClickUp utilizes user feedback with Canny. 

“What’s the most impactful thing to work on next?” 

It’s a crucial question for project managers. No company has infinite resources, so it’s important to prioritize time and resources.

Even the best project management software can’t determine your priorities for you. You need to plan out which projects you’re going to work on and prioritize the order you’re going to accomplish them.

Usually, finding the answer involves hearing from your team. Marketing, support, engineering — everyone should be invested in the result. But many teams ignore perhaps the most important voice: your users!

You can’t build a user-centric product if you don’t listen to the user

Imagine logging into ClickUp to see a perfectly-sequenced board with a clear scope on every task. Harnessing user feedback will give you the confidence to rank your task lists by business impact. From there, it’s much easier to plan and prioritize based on effort and business goals. That’s the power of user feedback.

That doesn’t mean you treat every piece of user feedback as a direct order, of course. But it does mean you value their input (and show it), as they’re the ones using your product. You ask for their opinions and keep them updated on the things that matter to them. It’s a collaborative effort.

The issue is that, when left untracked, user feedback can be hard to quantify. Many companies mistake providing customer support for soliciting feedback. Obviously, you will get feedback when you hear from users, but offering excellent support is not the same as soliciting user feedback with a dedicated feedback tool like Canny.

It’s crucial to have tools to separate signals from the noise. Otherwise, it’s hard to turn user comments into actionable tasks with any confidence. The goal is to identify those high-impact ideas that will make your product better and add those to your ClickUp spaces.

Not all feedback is created equal

Sometimes, teams are hesitant to invite the user into the planning conversation. Factoring user feedback into your projects requires work, but not as much as you might think. 

The payoff is well worth the additional effort. For a user suggestion to make it onto your ClickUp board, it should be well-vetted.

There are a few pitfalls that often trip people up. It’s easy to mistake a vocal user (or a small set of users) for a majority of your clients. 

1. Quantify your feedback. That’s key to understanding the breadth of an idea’s impact. If we implement this, will it make a difference to thousands or dozens? Without a tool in place, quantifying those user votes becomes a manual affair.

2. Next, quantify your user’s value. Is this an enterprise user paying you thousands of dollars or a freemium customer who just signed up a month ago? That doesn’t mean you never work on your low-end offerings, but you can be strategic when setting your task priorities. You need to know exactly who is giving you feedback. That way you can determine the value of each suggestion based on key metrics like user revenue data.

3. Clarify the feedback you get. Reach out to your customers and ask them about their goals with a given suggestion. Invite others to comment. You will be surprised how a granular demand can morph into a broader solution. A public feedback board lets you receive and respond to user comments. That way, you can dialogue with people and get a range of diverse inputs.

4. Don’t be afraid to say no to a user suggestion outright. If you see an idea or proposal that’s just never going to be on your roadmap, don’t leave it hanging. Mark it as “closed” and explain your reasons. Leave it up so future users can see it too. You may lose a user or two, but that’s actually rare. And it’s alright if they do churn. It’s better to send them on their way with honesty than to string them along. That usually comes back on you.

A feedback solution that empowers you to do all of this is Canny. Of course, there are others out there—using Canny isn’t a requirement. Ultimately, it’s most important that you’re doing it, period. 

Be objective and systematic when it comes to prioritizing

It’s easy to confuse what’s present (urgent) with what’s important. 

We’ve likely all been a part of teams that couldn’t keep the bigger picture in mind and simply ran back and forth between “urgent” tasks. If your ClickUp board’s task list is constantly shifting its order, that’s a red flag.

Take some time to decide what’s important to you in a user suggestion. Is it the number of votes? The revenue impact? The age of the request? Weigh your criteria as objectively as you can. 

Factor in the expected effort and impact to try and arrive at a final “score.” (We use an Airtable formula here at Canny.) Having that in place will give you confidence when building your ClickUp board and deciding what goes where!

Canny Airtable formula

A word of warning here: Be careful to balance users’ current needs versus your long-term strategy. When in doubt, optimize for your target market—just be careful not to accidentally alienate your existing user base.

Harnessing user feedback will make your project management more efficient and effective

Fancy formulas and algorithms aside, merely collecting and quantifying what your users think will give you valuable insights on what to build next. This way, the voice of the user is represented when planning. It’s why the ClickUp team uses Canny (and the Canny team uses ClickUp)!

Having a feedback tool like Canny also means you’re able to keep users in the loop. Nothing breeds customer loyalty like a user who feels they helped improve a product. Whether via a simple email or a public Changelog, simple communication lets them know they’ve been heard and seen. 

We also strongly recommend showing users a public roadmap. That will show users what you’re currently working on without posting screenshots of your ClickUp board. Even if it’s not something they suggested, it shows them you are indeed working and not just sitting back. You’d be surprised how much more patient your users become when they can see your roadmap. 

Giving the user a voice leads to clear results. You can assign tasks in ClickUp comfortably, knowing you’re working on the right features in the right order for the right reasons. 

The result? A better product, happier users, and a more confident approach to project management.

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