Quick start guide: Feedback

These four steps will help you set up a workable feedback collection process. If you've got room for more holistic training, we recommend visiting Productboard Academy instead of reading this guide, but if you're strapped for time, you're in the right place!

Each section below outlines key concepts and contains links to other articles in case you need more details. The guide assumes you know what Productboard is and have an understanding of how navigation, board creation, and data structures work.

In this article:

Introduction: Insights boards

Productboard will be the central repository for feedback about your products. No matter how you collect it, you'll use insights boards to deal with feedback.

Insights boards specialize in collecting, organizing, analyzing, and processing feedback. There is a blank insights board in the top section of your main menu, and you can create more insights boards in your teamspaces. 

Notes, feedback, and insights

When you collect feedback from a stakeholder, that feedback is packaged into a note (A) in Productboard. An insights board's main job is to display every note that agrees with its filters. 

Click on a note to see its feedback (B). Hover over the feedback and a button appears; click it to associate that feedback with entities on your hierarchy. This process is called linking, and we call the link itself an insight (C). A single note can have many insights, all linking to different entities. 

See Create your first insight for details. 

Step 1: Import any existing feedback

If you already have feedback stored elsewhere (in a spreadsheet or Jira project, for instance), hover over the PlusCircle-1.svg blue plus button and select Import notes. On the following screen, make sure to open one of the linked sample files and add their headers to the CSV you wish to import so Productboard can read your notes.

See Migrate your historical feedback for details.

Step 2: Set up integrations

Your team probably collects feedback from many different channels. Setting up integrations with those channels means less change management and easier feedback processing. Admins can set up integrations by going to Main menu > Workspace dropdown > Integrations and looking under the Feedback sources heading. Here are a couple examples:

The Productboard extension for Google Chrome is easy to set up and use, requiring almost zero learning on the contributor's part before they can start submitting feedback into Productboard. 

Our email integration is also quite useful, given its simplicity. It generates email addresses that you can forward feedback to for easy collection within Productboard. 

There are many other integrations available, including those for Slack, MS Teams, Zendesk, and Intercom. See this list of articles about our currently supported feedback integrations for details.

Step 3: Consider your workflow

It's important to standardize your approach to feedback to avoid being overwhelmed. Here is a four-phased example workflow. Use it as presented or modify it to better fit the realities of your situation. 

1. Collect feedback as a note

Most notes will come from contributors using your integrations to send feedback to Productboard, but notes can also be created manually by clicking the PlusCircle-1.svg blue plus button on any insights board. This gives the note creator maximum control over a note's data and formatting, though it doesn't always scale well into larger product teams and processes. You can also create or apply templates to a blank note to standardize layouts for manual feedback.

See Create your first insight and Create templates to save time and align your team for details.

2. Check the note's data fields

Every note has data associated with it. There are four data fields in particular that you should make sure are complete, since they facilitate easier organization and analysis as you scale your Productboard implementation. Here they are in descending order of importance:

Customer (A): Split into the Company and User subfields. These help you understand who's asking for what, schedule research interviews, and send updates to the right customers when you make progress on things they've asked for. 

Note: You're meant to record the originator of the feedback, not the agent who reported it.
If I submit feedback on behalf of Shevek from the Abbenay Institute, the Customer field should read "Abbenay Institute - Shevek," not "Productboard - Jake."

Owner (B): Indicates the maker who's responsible for reading and processing the note - usually a PM. Contributors can set this during manual note creation, or you can have a PM go through unowned notes once a week and match them to the right owner. Use this field to help you spread out the work of processing notes as they come and to create filtered inboxes (we'll cover that in a bit).

Tags (C): Decide on a format early. Capitals or no? Spaces or underscores? Emojis for clarity? Aligning on this prevents people from inadvertently creating duplicate tags.

See How do tags work in Productboard? for details. 

Name (D): Make sure this is descriptive and concise. You can't edit names of notes from certain integrations, but where possible, a note's name should relate to its origin, like "Phonecall with Tessier-Ashpool" or "QBR at FICSIT" for better identification.

3. Link insights

When you hover over a note's feedback or highlight some of its text, a small button (A) will appear. Clicking the button will summon a nested list of your product hierarchy. 

Selecting an entity will create an insight by linking your highlighted feedback to that entity. You can then choose to give the insight some extra weight based on how important it is to the customer, link this insight to another entity, or simply close the panel by clicking away from it. 

See Link user feedback to related feature ideas using insights for details.

Note: If your hierarchy is messy or empty, you won't be able to create insights. Insights are important because they bind feedback to feature ideas and generate User Impact Score, an invaluable prioritization tool. You can read more about UIS here. 
4. Process the note

The default note status is Unprocessed. Once someone (preferably the note's owner) has reviewed a note and created insights from it, they should change its status by clicking the Process-1.svg MARK PROCESSED button.

See Turn customer feedback into actionable insights for details.  

Best practices

These techniques can make your standard workflow more efficient. They may require more tinkering to adapt to your organizational structure. 

Use boards like inboxes

Near the top of every insights board is a pair of buttons labeled Filter-1.svg Filtered by and Calendar-1.svg Any time. These are the data and time filters. Changing these filters and then saving the board allows you to specialize insights boards for triage and analysis.

You should create many boards to tackle specific parts of a workflow. If your tags, ownership, and other data are in good order, insights boards can be made into themed inboxes. Here are some examples:

  • If you're the only maker processing feedback, filter a board by Status > Unprocessed to ignore any note that you've already mined for insights and marked as Processed.
  • If multiple makers will be processing feedback, create a board for each maker and filter them by Owner > [Name]. Keep these boards grouped together in a teamspace called "Product" or similar. This helps everyone stay focused on feedback relevant to their work. 
  • If your makers are cross-functional and don't each own a specific part of your product, consider creating boards filtered by sets of tags instead of by owner. That way your feedback will be bucketed according to your own self-defined parameters. We use tags related to areas of our product (like "insights board", "roadmap", and "integrations").

See Turn customer feedback into actionable insights for details. 

Add automatic triage rules

Depending on your Productboard plan level, you may have access to simple if/than rules called insights automations. Admins can manage them from Main menu > Workspace dropdown > Insights automations. 

These automations fill out certain note data for you based on other characteristics. For example, you might want any note with the "API" tag to be assigned to a specific owner. This helps keep your notes organized into boards, especially when you don't have time to verify the data of each note as it arrives. 

See Use insights automation to create triage rules for details. 

Edit notes in bulk

When you hover over a note, a checkbox will appear. Click that box to add that note to your selection. Shift-click to bulk-select notes. You can edit certain data fields for all selected notes simultaneously from the details panel, including Customer, Tags, Owner, and Status. Bulk select is particularly useful for managing freshly imported notes. 

See Link user feedback to related feature ideas using insights for details. 

Archive or delete irrelevant notes

You can archive or delete a note from its More actions Dots-1.svg button.

A note can be have one of three statuses: Unprocessed, Processed, and Archived. Nothing special happens when a note is archived; it will still appear in your insights boards and it still contributes User Impact Score to linked entities.

The main reason you'd archive a note is so you can filter it out of certain boards using the Status filter, thereby keeping your board relatively free of distractions. Also, deleting a note is permanent and cannot be undone, so archiving it is usually the better option unless you're sure you'll never need the note again.

See How can I archive a note on the Insights board? for details.

Step 4: Enable your contributors

Account executives, CSMs, and other non-product coworkers gather tons of feedback. Adding them as contributors to your workspace makes it easier for them to use integrations and even gives them tools to make their own jobs easier. Contributor licenses don't increase the cost of your Productboard plan, so add as many as you need. Admins can add contributors from Main menu > Workspace dropdown > Invite members.

Contributors often find the Chrome integration to be most useful as it's very low-effort for them. However, they will get far more value from Productboard if they submit feedback manually, as they can make use of your note templates and automatically receive updates when their notes are processed and when features their notes get linked to are updated. Later, once your workspace is fully implemented, contributors will be able to take advantage of other Productboard tools like roadmaps.

See Enabling contributors to effectively contribute insights and Getting started as a contributor in Productboard for details.

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