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Stay Hydrated ... Customer Insights Quench Engineers Need for Context on Features

“Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink …”


          -- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner


Product managers understand the mariner’s dilemma in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - thirsting for insights but surrounded by an inaccessible sea of customer feedback.  In our dynamic world, we are surrounded by opinions, but where are the good ideas? The good ideas are out there -- but like drinkable drops in the mariner's tale, the good ideas can become scattered and elusive without a structured process to collect and organize the ideas.

Successful products are changing fast.  KFC and Coca-Cola are rocking the same recipe today as they did last century, but most of your favorite products like Google Chrome, Netflix, Spotify, etc shipped an update last week, if not this morning.  How are these companies keeping up such a phenomenal pace?  Honestly, most product teams are likely struggling with what to build next.  


That’s usually because most product managers lack a system to leverage insights into their planning and development workflows. Again, like water for the Mariner, there is no lack of input.  But is any of what product managers hear insightful, representative of customers’ broader demands or aligned with the longer-term company strategy? For example, the CEO might have texted you earlier in the week; the VP of Sales is Slacking you as you read this, and Support keeps funneling customer complaints about the latest release. "How do you put all this feedback to use in prioritizing the right features to build next?"  Ideally the product team would have a consistent process to gather, organize and measure feedback from inside and outside the company, and also have a way to actively seek out ideas, which we know is behind successful teams, and decide what to build next..  

The most successful product teams actively seek out good ideas from every corner of the organization


productboard is a customer-driven, product management system that empowers teams to get the right products to market, faster.  We offer a variety of integrations to collect feedback from market-leading software, including Slack, Zendesk and Intercom. A public API can be used to connect to Jira Service Desk (JSD).


The “customer-driven” aspect empowers product teams.   When product teams aggregate feedback, it removes (or at least reduces) emotion in the prioritization conversation. Everyone can now see how feedback was weighed in conjunction with other requests and broader company priorities. Having an evidenced-based approach makes prioritization consistent and transparent.  Additionally, when it is time to move into the development phase, product teams can easily provide context and customer validation to the engineering team.  When features have been prioritized and planned (based on real user insights) they can be pushed directly to the engineering teams via our two-way integration with Jira.  The productboard integration for Jira ensures that the product and engineering team stay in sync throughout the project.


Tips to generate good insights from your cross functional teammates 

  • Assign insights to the relevant product team leveraging tags 
  • Invite key stakeholders from internal teams to view / review feedback coming in from their channels. Validate insights gleaned from their experiences.
  • Follow-up with customers directly if product managers want more clarity or context
  • Reduce friction to get information from customer or customer-facing team to the PM by creating a single, standardized process across channels and teams


With more teams than ever operating in a distributed fashion, the truth of what customers want is scattered.  Thanks to a proliferation of amazing SaaS solutions, your customers’ feedback is captured, but not accessible for product ideas.  But for product teams that want to capitalize on that feedback, we recommend a product management system that is designed for product managers’ needs and allows product teams to convert those comments into patterns and insights. Having a system empowers product teams to filter the abundant waterworks of opinions and isolate what will quench their customers’ thirst. 


To learn more about how productboard and Jira work seamlessly together, check out our integration in the Jira Marketplace.

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Nic Brough -Adaptavist-
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
June 2, 2020

<pedantic cough> 

Water, water everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.

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