I was spending quite a bit of time over the last few weeks in getting a public feature request board setup for MagLoft customers. This was one of those “sounds like a great idea” tasks and “sounds like a quick win” too!
Don’t get too excited about this short blog post. I can tell you now that I did get a board set up, but we ended up not using it. So if you’re looking for a great blog post detailing what you need to do to setup a public feature request board using Trello, then this isn’t it. Sorry…
I have nothing against Trello and I’m actually hoping someone will prove me wrong during this post. If you are using Trello for a public feature request board please do let me know in the comments below.
Why Create A Public Feature Request Board?
The idea behind the public feature request board would be to get a better understanding of what our customers are actually requesting for new features. We wanted an easy way for our customers to add to their wishlist of features and also to be able to see what others had already requested. Couple reasons for this:
- a public board would save us time managing some feature requests as customers would be able to see if it had already been requested
- it would allow customers to interact with feature requests in order to upvote and indicate which ones are more valuable
- the MagLoft team would be able to plan accordingly and factor in the most upvoted/valuable features for new releases
The last point sounds too easy as there are different ways of prioritizing, but at least it would give us a little more than we have today. Overall some good reasons for investing time and resources into getting this setup.
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
We didn’t want to build this feature ourselves as I was positive there would already be a lot of apps out there we could just tap into. After doing some research I ended up looking closer at Trello (which I was already somewhat familiar with). I was quite optimistic about Trello and started setting up the board.
Now I just had to figure out how to add users and this is where things got a bit tricky. In order to interact with the board you need to register for a free Trello account. This was not something I was super optimistic about, as most of our customers are not already using Trello.
But ok, I decided to move forward with it and set up an “About This Page” card to instruct visitors to register for Trello. Then I learned it wasn’t possible for non Trello team members to post cards which was another blow. So I created a “Suggest New Feature Here” card explaining to add a comment as a feature request. This was another blow as we would now have to manually monitor the comments and copy/paste them out into new cards for each feature request.
Fair enough, moving forward I wanted to allow customers to vote on feature requests and here is where we had to upgrade our Trello account. Not a huge deal as it is only around $15/month but still another blow. However after finally figuring out how to enable voting, it was yet another blow to see how “hidden” the vote button actually was:
I know, I know, it’s not a big deal, but all these things added up to my frustration with Trello. Without a doubt Trello is awesome and for the teams/companies using Trello for task/project/goal/etc management these things I’ve mentioned is nothing. We use Asana for task management and Intercom for all our customer support and marketing automation so adding on another tool “just” for a public feature request board seemed to be overkill at this point.
We Use Intercom for Feature Requests
The MagLoft team loves to hear from customers and users and we welcome all feature requests. We are extremely good at managing these internally as we can tag conversations and our customers with a specific feature request. This is to make sure we group, prioritize and follow up with everyone who tells us what they think we should add or what is missing. Intercom is amazing for that, but it doesn’t support any public functionality like listing, voting and commenting on feature requests.
Is A Public Feature Request Board A Must?
As with all decisions we have to make in business, we always need to consider if it’s really an important requirement. Is it the best investment of our resources at this given time? What else could we do to boost business and service customers better? Many times I personally just want to get stuff done because I think it’s a great idea. However, it’s always important to take a step back and really ask yourself if it’s the right choice. I had spent too much time on Trello already. Just because I thought it was a good idea to have a public feature request board. No doubt it is, but is it the right time for us and more importantly can we do what we really want with the tools we already have in place?
I finally decided to stick to our current work flow using Intercom. It’s not that we don’t think a pubic feature request board isn’t a great addition, we just don’t have as much of a need for it as we thought.
Oh and if you haven’t heard of Intercom and you run a startup/company then you definitely need to check them out asap: http://www.intercom.io (we love this software and the team)! Their customer support is also incredibly talented … and funny and we learn a lot from them.
What do you know … they don’t have a public feature request board either: