Fundamentals of Productboard

This short guide contains important information about Productboard's key data structures and UI elements. Your implementation will be more resilient if you read it. Productboard Academy offers more effective and holistic training, but if you're in a hurry, this guide will do for now.

You don't need to know anything to use this guide, though if you aren't familiar with the idea of Productboard, you might want to read this first. 

In this article:

Main menu

This has everything you need to navigate Productboard. Note the following:

Workspace dropdown (A): The name of your Productboard workspace is at the top of the main menu. Click here to reveal a dropdown containing, among other things:

  • My account for adjusting notification options. 
  • Settings for admins to configure the workspace.  
  • Members for checking your role. Makers and makers with admin access (admins) are paid editor seats. Contributors can see boards and submit feedback. Viewers can only see roadmaps and portals. 

Teamspaces (B): Teamspaces contain folders and boards. Mature workspaces use them to separate work into groups like Product, GTM, and Leadership. The default teamspace is called General and every new user joins it by default. 

See Getting started with Productboard teamspaces for details. 

Board creation (C): Hovering over a teamspace lets you create boards and folders. Folders help keep your boards organized.

Boards

A board is a set of tools and filters that help you answer a question like "how is our product structured?" or "what are people saying about feature X?" Creating, duplicating, or deleting a board has no effect on the data it displays, and you shouldn't restrict yourself to using one board of each type. 

Every board type looks a bit different, but generally you'll have buttons like Grouped by and Filter along the top of the screen to help you visualize your data. 

Saving and Sharing boards

The Share button will turn into a Save button whenever your board has unsaved changes. You must save a board before it can be shared. 

You can iterate a board by choosing Save as new from the save button's dropdown. The new board will appear in your Personal section. Nobody else can access this board until you change its sharing options. 

Sharing options differ slightly between board types, but generally you'll choose between sharing with Individuals and Teams or Roles.

Only people specified by a board's sharing options can see it; board visibility is not related to teamspaces, so placing a board into Teamspace A does not mean that everyone in Teamspace A can see it.

Hierarchy

Your hierarchy is a nested list of entities that visually organizes your work. It's the backbone of your workspace, and you can't use Productboard without it, so you need to understand it. You should use a feature board to build and manage your hierarchy, as feature boards have the most appropriate toolset.

Building your hierarchy should be the first thing you do. This section only covers the basics; for more help designing and building your hierarchy, see Create products and build your hierarchy.

Entity Types

There are four types of hierarchy entities (also called items). In descending hierarchical order:

Grey box Products represent separate product lines or distinct aspects of one product line. 

Four grey squares Components help you subdivide your products.

🟨 Features represent a piece of plannable, completable work on the order of an epic. 

🟣 Subfeatures represent a smaller piece of work, usually something like a user story. 

You can click on an entity to open its details sidebar, from which you can edit its name, description, and other data. 

The colored shape beside a feature or subfeature is its status. You can click on it to change the entity's status. Products and components are structural entities, so they don't have statuses. 

On some Productboard plans, admins can customize the list of statuses from Main menu > Workspace dropdown > Settings.

Adding entities to the hierarchy

On a features board, you can hover over the PlusCircle-1.svg blue plus button to create a new product or import a list of features from outside Productboard. Even if you have features to import, you'll still need a product to house them under. Newly created products appear in the middle of your features board. 

Hover over any hierarchy entity on a features board and click the PlusCircle-1.svg Add under button to add more entities beneath it. 

Tips

You only have one hierarchy. No matter how many products and features you have across however many boards, you're always looking at the same hierarchy. Deleting a part of your hierarchy on one board affects your entire workspace, but deleting the board itself has no effect on your hierarchy at all (because boards are just sets of tools and filters).

Features aren't feedback. Features and subfeatures are meant to represent functional ideas that can be worked on and completed. They are not for tracking feedback from stakeholders. That entity type is called a note and it lives outside the hierarchy. See Create your first insight for details.

Subfeatures aren't bugs. Productboard isn't designed for tracking bugs. You're better off doing that in a project management tool like Jira instead. 

Data

Data is anything used to describe an aspect of an entity (like a feature's owner or a note's tags). Like entities, data is universal; if it's deleted in one place, it disappears from Productboard entirely. 

You can access your workspace's data from the Data section in the main menu, from an entity's details sidebar, and from board-specific tools like features board columns. 

Deleting boards vs deleting entities and data

Most things can be deleted from their Dots-1.svg More actions menu. 

Accidentally deleting a board isn't so bad. You can create a new board of the same type, adjust its filters and options to match the old ones, and reset its sharing options. It's annoying, but most boards can be rebuilt relatively easily. 

Accidentally deleting entities or data is much worse. A single product might have dozens of children and hundreds of grandchildren, all of which are deleted along with the parent. Deleting a data field wipes the content of that field from every single feature in your workspace. This can seriously disrupt everyone's work.

Warning: Productboard has no undo button. Always double check before deleting something. If you aren't sure, archive it from the same Dots-1.svg More actions menu or just leave it be. 

See also

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