Post your feature requests here :D

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Post your feature requests here :D

Postby mandelmus » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:02 am

:D :D I knew it! I knew it! Per 37signals.com (BaseCamp), I finally
figured out why feature requests get ignored and/or take so long to
implement ... http://37signals.com/svn/archives2/gett ... e_reques...

Ok, so I’m positive this post will be misunderstood and we’ll be
branded as arrogant, self-centered, customer-hating snobs. But here
goes anyway…

When you launch your products, customers will send you hundreds or
thousands of feature requests. Just take a look at the Basecamp Forum
or the Backpack Forum — the feature request category trumps all the
others. They’ll want everything under the sun. You’ll hear about “just
this little extra feature” or “this can’t be hard” or “wouldn’t it be
easy to add this” or “it should take just a few seconds to add this”
or “if you added this I’d pay twice as much” etc. Of course we don’t
fault them for making requests. We encourage it and we want to hear
what they have to say. Most everything we add to our products started
as a customer request.

They’ll post messages in the forums, send your emails, and find your
IM address and hit you up there as well. They’ll fire requests at you
faster than you can imagine. So what do you do with all these
requests? Where do you store them? How do you manage them? How do you
track all these requests? You don’t. Read them and then throw them
away.

Yup, read them and throw them away. The ones that are really important
will keep bubbling up. And those are the ones you’ll remember. Those
are the important ones. You don’t need to track or remember everything
— let your customers be your memory. They’ll remind you.

How did we come to this conclusion? When we first launched Basecamp we
tracked every major feature request on a Basecamp to-do list. When a
request was repeated by someone else we’d update the list with an
extra hash mark (II or III or IIII, etc). Then one day we figured we’d
review this list and start working from the most requested features
down. Truth is, we never looked at it again. Our customers constantly
remind us what’s important by making the same requests over and over
again. There was no need to be analytical about it since it was
happening in real time. You don’t forget what’s important when you are
reminded of it every day.

So, ask for requests, read the requests, listen to your customers, and
then forgot what they said. Let them remind you over and over and over
again. That’s how you find the real gaps in your product. That’s how
you’ll remember what new features are really worth considering.

And one more thing: it’s not just about the sheer number of requests
(we don’t recommend adding something just because X# of people
requested it), it’s about customers planting a seed in your mind. If
they keep reminding you of something, it forces you to think about it.
Maybe it is a good idea. Maybe it isn’t. But at least it’s important
enough to consider if so many people keep asking for it.
mandelmus
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:51 pm

Re: Post your feature requests here :D

Postby Overload » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:32 am

There's of course some truth to that. We get a lot of reasonable requests, but there's a fair number of unreasonable ones too. Often it's the new users that don't have a firm conceptual grip on how StrataSearch works that make requests that don't really make sense in the big picture. But sometimes it's a balance between the work involved versus the benefits it will provide. A massive 3 month project that adds one additional performance value to the Detailed Analysis is probably not going to happen. But a 15 minute project that's been requested by at half a dozen users has a pretty good chance. In any case, all requests are considered. But, a word of warning... the same request over and over from a single user becomes counterproductive and will actually move it down on the priority list. Don't do that.

In the early days of StrataSearch, we used to post new releases a couple times a month, with nearly all requests being added each time. But as our user base increased, this became problematic because a lack of beta testing was allowing too many bugs to slip into the code. And this was affecting too many production users, so that approach had to come to an end. Now, requests are generally added only with major releases, and we make sure they are fully tested first. So they happen less frequently but the code is significantly more stable. And, of course, we also add our own enhancements with major releases, so that adds additional turnaround time as well.

Still, the explanation by 37signals was pretty amusing. Thanks for posting.

Pete
Overload
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 12:14 pm


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