Your quick start guide to Productboard Essentials

Productboard is a customer-centric product management system

Building roadmaps shouldn't be so hard. With traditional tools, product managers waste precious time keeping roadmaps up to date, building custom roadmaps for certain audiences, and fielding constant questions like, "Why are we building that?" With Productboard Essentials, you can build as many roadmaps as you need, customize them for different audiences, and share them with stakeholders. Linked to a central features database, roadmaps stay up-to-date automatically, letting you share your ideas, plans, and vision with confidence.

In this quick start guide:

Features board

Your Features board helps you decide what to build next. Gather all your ideas into one place, surface the most promising ideas, and plan your upcoming releases.

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Feature hierarchy:

All of your features ideas live in a single flexible hierarchy. Think of your hierarchy like a filing cabinet - but one you can sort, filter, search, and rearrange easily. Add features (and subfeatures) to your hierarchy, then create different boards to see your features displayed in useful ways.

Note: If you create new features while building a roadmap, those features will be added to your hierarchy automatically.

You can create as many Feature boards as you want. Your Essentials account comes with two pre-built boards to get you started:

Feature prioritization board:

Figure out what to build next by answering one critical question: Which feature ideas will give my company the best return on investment?

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Here are a few elements to help you begin exploring this board:

  1. Most product managers prefer to look at their feature ideas in a simple sorted list structure during prioritization. This makes it easy to sort ideas by different criteria. You could choose another format from this dropdown list if you desire.
  2. You don't need to look at every feature idea all at once! Use filters to focus on what's most relevant at the moment. (Hint: If you find yourself creating the same filters over and over again, it might be time to save that filter as its own board!)
  3. Search for a feature, component, or product with the search bar.
  4. The owner column shows who is responsible for a given part of your product. Tip: filter by owner to find only the tasks you own.
  5. The Prioritization score is a shortcut to feature ideas offering a big return on investment. By default, this score divides Value (column 6) by Effort (column 7).
  6. The Value column lets you estimate how much a specific feature idea contributes towards your company's future bottom line.
  7. The Effort field uses story points to estimate how much work it will take your team to deliver an idea.

Once you've used this board to identify your most promising feature ideas, a.k.a. ideas with the biggest Prioritization scores, it's time to begin planning when your team will bring those ideas to life.

Feature planning board:

Once you and your team have figured out which ideas to build next, track them all the way through to launch - no matter what tools your team uses to manage delivery.

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  1. This board is grouped into a hierarchical structure so you can easily see how ideas are related to each other. 
  2. You can filter this board to help you plan for specific areas of your product, or leave it unfiltered to retain a broad view of all your ideas. 
  3. Search for a feature, component, or product with the search bar.
  4. Assign features and subfeatures a status to track their location in the product development lifecycle.
  5. Keep track of other individual to-dos for each feature using task fields. Note: Ready to push a feature into delivery? Integrate with Jira, Azure DevOps, GitHub Issues, Pivotal Tracker, or Trello. Your engineering teams can continue managing their development pipeline as usual, allowing you to stay in sync without switching tools. You'll see the feature idea's delivery status represented as a task field.
  6. If your team uses releases to plan feature launches in advance, assign features to releases to track what you're building now, next and in the future.

Insights board

Use the Insights board to consolidate all your user feedback, feature requests, and research notes into one centralized database, and link them directly to related feature ideas. Identify urgent or popular feature ideas, see relevant context and comments in one place, and center user needs at the heart of your product strategy.

 

Consolidating feedback:

Highlight useful snippets of feedback from your notes and link them to feature ideas - a process which we call creating Insights. It's easy to add notes from anywhere:

Processing notes:

We're big fans of the "Inbox zero" philosophy - and that applies to your Productboard Insights board, too! Once you finish creating an insight, process the original note to archive it. (Don't worry, you can always retrieve it later!)

Building user impact scores:

Every time you link a note to a feature idea and assign it a certain level of importance, you contribute to that feature idea's user impact score. A high user impact score indicates a feature that your customers really want - or desperately need.

Collecting feedback is a team sport:

Your best sources of user feedback are often your colleagues on customer-facing teams, like Sales and Customer Success. Adding colleagues as contributors allows them to create new notes without giving them edit access over your features or roadmaps. (Here are some tips & resources to get them on board ASAP.)

Setting up your Portal:

One source of feedback you'll want to take advantage of is the Productboard Portal. It's an interactive interface you can share with colleagues and/or customers to collect votes and feedback on ideas you're still considering and features that are planned. You can also use the Portal to share what's currently in beta or what's recently been launched — an effective way to keep customers informed and boost new feature adoption.

Roadmap board

Rally everyone around where the product is headed — and why — with dynamically updating roadmaps.

Roadmaps are interactive visualizations of your plans that you can share with colleagues and stakeholders. Changes you make elsewhere in Productboard are automatically updated in your Roadmaps - and vice versa!

Roadmap types:

Share your roadmaps:

Create different roadmaps for different audiences. (Psst - Here's a handy guide!) Share your roadmap with your colleagues or export to a PDF or PNG.

Account management

Add your colleagues

Productboard works best when teams inside and outside your Product organization can contribute feedback, stay up-to-date and ask questions about the future of your product. For that reason, we make it easy to restrict how other cross-functional teams and colleagues can use your account using access roles.

  • Most members of the product team will either be makers with admin access or makers.
  • Customer-facing colleagues (e.g. Sales, Support, Customer Success) are usually contributors. They can view Feature boards and Roadmaps that you've explicitly granted them access to, and they can only interact by leaving comments on those specific features.
  • Other colleagues and internal stakeholders are usually viewers. They can only see Roadmaps and features that you've explicitly granted them access to, and they can only interact by leaving comments on those specific features.

Tip: When in doubt, you can feel confident adding new people to your Productboard account as viewers. Unless you grant them access to a roadmap, by default they won't see anything!

Try out experimental features:

Love being an early adopter? Makers with admin access can enable Labs features to get early access to our experimental features. (Watch out - this is a playground, and things change without warning!)

Manage account data:

Clean up redundant users and companies with our merge feature.

Maintain compliance with GDPR regulations by removing certain customer data.

Help and resources

Need help? Start right here in the Help Center. If you have questions, don't be afraid to reach out to our amazing Support team at support@productboard.com. Finally, check out our Events page for upcoming webinars, trainings, events and more!

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