An updated workflow for Server feature suggestions Edited

As mentioned at the end of last year, we have been working towards improving our feature suggestion process. Our efforts are driven by your need for increased clarity and transparency on feature suggestions.

We're pleased to announce that we now have an updated workflow in place. Each of your suggestions goes through a more structured process that provides greater clarity into where it stands in the context of our product roadmap. We're also using new statuses in the workflow to convey more significant meaning to you.

The new workflow

When you create a feature request, your suggestion automatically enters the Gathering Interest status, and your suggestion stays here until it's generated enough interest. Interest is measured based on several factors, such as the number of votes a request receives, and the UIS (User Impact Score) of the feature. UIS is automatically calculated, taking into consideration factors such as vote velocity and active users impacted. If your request hasn't generated enough interest over time, it will eventually be closed. With the large volume of suggestions that we receive in Confluence and Jira Server, the new criteria will ensure the most popular suggestions are highlighted to be addressed sooner. 

Once a request has generated enough interest, it will move into the Reviewing state. In this state, an Atlassian Product Manager will start investigating the viability and relative priority of your suggestion, and then triage it into one of these statuses: Under ConsiderationFuture ConsiderationNot Being Considered.

    • Under Consideration — Requests that are deemed to bring significant customer value and are likely a strong fit for our roadmap. In this state, there is a high likelihood of delivering the feature in the near future. To keep you in the loop, we will provide an update in the following few months. 

    • Future Consideration — Requests that are deemed a potential addition to our longer-term roadmap. Once a year, we'll reconsider the request and alter the status if needed.

    • Not Being Considered— Unfortunately, we're unable to implement all of the excellent suggestions you make. When this happens, the requests will take on the not being considered status. While we appreciate the potential benefits of such requests, we won't work on these for the foreseeable future. We'll review such requests after a year, and consider whether we need to alter the status. We understand that it may be disappointing having a suggestion you feel passionately about either be closed or triaged into not being considered. However, we truly believe that we owe you, our customers, greater transparency into the feature requests that you can expect to be implemented, and we believe this new workflow will help us accomplish that for you.

The final resolution of your suggestion may be Resolved: Fixed or Resolved: Won't Do. We may close your feature request as Resolved: Won't Do for a number of different reasons, such as the suggestion has not gained enough customer interest or the suggestion doesn't fit with the direction of our product for the time being. Alternatively, more popular, duplicate suggestions may already exist (we will close the feature request as Resolved: Duplicate) or the suggestion is not expressed clearly enough to be considered thoroughly by a product manager (Resolved: Invalid). 

Here's a summary of the new workflow (you can also select View Workflow in the issue status to visualize):

Note: We are starting by implementing the new workflow to Confluence Server. Following this, we will roll out the improvements to Jira Server

Huge thanks for making us part of your team

These changes couldn't have been implemented without all of your insights. Also, do keep the feedback wheel turning — this helps us determine how best to improve customer transparency in our processes, how to convey product decisions more clearly, and how to ensure real-time updates on the status of feature requests created.

As always, we look forward to hearing more of your feedback in the years to come!

 

Cheers,

Keshav Puttaswamy

Head of Product - Server & Data Center, Atlassian

9 comments

Thomas Deiler Community Champion Feb 07, 2018

Dear @Keshav Puttaswamy,

thanks for increasing the transparency of your selection process for user suggestions. I can imagine that having the right things on the backlog  is not the easiest job. There will be always somebody who will complain.

I have one annotation to this voting in status "Gathering Interest":

Taking the pure votes and also the traffic of one suggestion into account, can give a false result. Imagine, that on some social media platforms or this community, a link to specific suggestion is located. Suddenly you have a huge activity and probably votes on this issue. Yes for sure - in further steps this issue will be sorted out.

But vice versa, imagine, an admin from a 5000 user instance creates a new suggestion. As this person understands the need of all his users best , the suggestion can be really good. Another one of the same business branch votes for this, also. Probably, you will not even notice this suggestion. It gets auto-closed.

What I wanna say, a vote is not equal to another vote. If you can merge the "quality" factor inside the progress, you will get better results. Probably taking the users activities in your network into account, like checking how many votes he/she gave for "quality" suggestions ... 

So long

Thomas

I agree with @Thomas Deiler. In my opinion, it is impossible to determine if a suggestion is worth looking at based on an automated algorithm like you described. I wager, that one quick scan of the first few hundred suggestions will most likely bring up plenty of worthwhile ideas which do not have many votes. Keep in mind, that your JIRA is not some resource every JIRA admin around reads through regularly. Most of your customers stumble upon existing suggestions, because they are missing a certain feature themselves. But this leaves out suggestions covering topics which are not yet on anyones radar, but are worth looking at regardless.

I'd suggest you implement a transparent screening process in addition to your automated algorithm to catch those suggestions too. Yes, this will require some manual labor and make room for lots of discussions, but it is a workflow bearing fruit in many large scale Open Source projects (i.e. Kubernetes).

Matt Doar Community Champion Feb 07, 2018

The status changes should make it clearer to everyone what is the level of engagement for each issue in j.a.c.

I don't think they are intended to change how Atlassian decides what work on.

Micky Caritte Community Champion Feb 07, 2018

That's a great step in favor of transparency. At least we'll now be sure to catch Atlassian's attention even if the backlog can't be customer tailored 100%. Sounds interesting in my opinion, can't wait to see the the outcome!

Thanks @Thomas Deiler and @Christopher Klinge for your feedback.

 A couple of points worth clarifying:

  1. We look through many more suggestions, in addition to the ones which make it to ‘reviewing’, to ensure we get a balanced understanding of your requests. The new process is in place so we’re transparent about when/if customers can expect an update on their suggestion. 

  2. UIS takes into account many factors, including, for admin votes, the relative instance size.

We will continue iterating and making improvements as we go along, so your questions and suggestions are super helpful. Thank you!

@Thomas Deiler I like your mention of how not all votes are equal.  Reminds me of the US House and Senate that organizes on total constituents as well as equal representation for each part of the whole.  I don't have a solution as both of these variables could change throughout the community, only remark that this comes up in history a lot.  

For the Atlassian's that track this, it would be a cool mention to see the features that come from the community itself.  It would be a neat lead in for the key note a cool summit conference... :)

Looking forward to making the awesome sauce more awesome! :)

Adam Barnes Atlassian Team Monday

HI @Billy Poggi, if you are able to make it along to the Team Tour, which is happening at a number of cities around the globe over the next couple of months, then you may be pleased to see us talking about some of the great community features which we have implemented recently.

 

Adam - Confluence PM

How can we honestly determine whether this is a good or bad thing without all the necessary criteria?

1.   How many votes does an issue need to generate interest?  Personally if you say 100 upvotes I'll probably never vote on anything.  Not that it does any good anyway since we had over 700 upvotes on another issue you chose not to fix.  

2.  You haven't told us how long an issue will remain open before you mark an item as Resolved: Won't Do.   I've seen people upvote issues that have been in your system for years.  It takes us a while to find issues especially if there are duplicates. 

3.  You haven't mentioned how you will move non duplicate votes. 

Example 1:  An issue comes in and doesn't get interest, you close it, the issue is opened again and gets insufficient votes, and you close it again. 

Example 2:  An issue is opened and gets some votes, a duplicate is opened and get some votes, the duplicate is closed and the votes die with it.

See where I'm going here.  You need a way to gather up all the unique votes and map them to a single issue.  You haven't mentioned how to do that.

4.  How do we veto you?  It bothers me that 700+ likely administrators upvoted an issue and you decided not to fix.  People posted they were unhappy about the decision and the company basically ignored their concerns.  I encounter the problem every week and every week I become less of a Jira enthusiast.  I'd like to see some method of disputing your decision which right now there isn't.  All we can do is squawk in a ticket.  I've worked at fortune 500 companies.  10 users complaining about an issue was enough to get us to act.  At what point is Jira guaranteed to act on customer votes? 

Does this new workflow get applied to the hundred and thousands of Feature suggestions in your backlog that have yet to be addressed despite having a huge number of votes?

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