Here at Accelo we value user feedback on our product as it heavily influences our Product Strategy and is often the primary driver behind the experiences that we curate inside of Accelo.
Accelo was founded in large part on the experiences of our founders, who were frustrated at the challenges of trying to manage operations and client service at their own professional service business. Over the course of our lifetime as a company, there have been many situations where customer feedback has been instrumental in making the right choices to ensure our product helps our customers every day. We hope and anticipate that this feedback loop of insights, ideas and suggestions from customers will allow us to build a product that meets the needs of our customers well into the future.
As a growing company, we've realized that the way we've been gathering, reviewing, prioritizing and acting on feedback needs to improve. With tens of thousands of users in a wide variety of roles and industries, it isn't enough to hear something once and informally prioritize that feedback. Similarly, it isn't appropriate to have customers assume that sharing an idea or suggestion will be acted upon - it may be something we never act on for commercial reasons, or it might be something we act on but have to schedule into the future because of other dependencies and priorities.
Not having a formalized process and framework for considering and analyzing valuable ideas and feedback is leading to problems - which is why we are introducing a new process focused on our Ideas Forum.
The Ideas Forum allows us to capture feedback and user stories and attribute those stories to each of our users so that we can use that data to influence our decision-making processes about our Product direction and future Roadmap. While we've had the Ideas Forum in place for a number of years, we've recently increased our investment in the platform (both financially and from a resource perspective) and are establishing it as the center of our feedback and ideas process. This Ideas Forum is designed to give our Product team necessary data to make informed decisions about which user experiences we should focus on at any given time.
Please see the guidance below for how you can use the Ideas Forum to help our Product team gather, manage and utilize your feedback. We'll also be using the Ideas Forum to communicate progress and may solicit more detailed feedback to clarify what our users are trying to tell us! We will do our best to communicate our reasoning for pursuing or not pursuing certain projects.
How do I submit Feedback to the Ideas Forum?
You can submit Feedback items to our Forum from within your deployment. Follow the steps below to do so:
Select the Help icon near the top right corner of any screen inside of your Accelo deployment.
Scroll Down to the Ideas & Suggestions section of the sidebar.
Two options are available to you:
I have a suggestion - Use this to submit a new idea!
Browse the Forums - Use this to see if another user has reported the same feedback as you in the past!
When you submit a new Feedback item, the side panel will display previously submitted items that match against keywords in the title of your Feedback.
If there’s a similar Feedback item already created, we encourage you to vote or comment on the item. You and your account information will be applied to that item as Supporter(s)! This helps us understand the Feedback more holistically and gives us more users to contact for research, if necessary. Support the Feedback that you feel passionately about!
What kinds of Feedback should I submit to the Ideas Forum?
We want to hear about your experiences inside of Accelo. If there is functionality or features that can be improved to help you achieve your business goals, please let us know!
The following are optional, but very helpful details to include when providing Feedback ideas:
These details will help our Product team understand your needs and connect the Feedback item to other ideas. Additionally, it will help other customers experiencing the same problem recognize that they can support and add context to your Feedback. Support from others will help accelerate your Feedback along the lifecycle of our Product Development process.
The Ideas Forum is for ideas, suggestions and other product feedback - but if you're seeing something that looks or feels like a Bug, then we're much better equipped to jump on it quickly if you email firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to help immediately if you are experiencing bugs, errors or performance issues that are product defects, not suggestions for improvement.
How does the Voting system work in the Ideas Forum?
This is one of the biggest changes to our Forum. We no longer have Voting Limits set up in our Forums. Our customers can create as many Feedback items as they wish and can vote on as many other items as they’d like. However, each user will only be able to vote once per Feedback item.
Encourage your colleagues to engage with the Forum and vote for items that they or your company feel(s) strongly about. The only way we can get better is if we hear from our users and can understand what is most important to them!
What is the significance of commenting on other Feedback items?
Comments are SO important! Comments help our Product team understand the use cases and user stories that are critical to determining what kind of changes or improvements our users desire.
Commenting on an existing Feedback item does several things:
Users will be attributed to these items as Subscribers, which will help our Product Team determine how important the item is to our customers.
Users’ contact information will be tied to the item, and that user may be asked to participate in interviews or UX Research if that item is moved along the Product Development Process.
How often will Feedback be reviewed?
We are committed to reviewing your Feedback at least once per week. Designated members of the Product team are responsible for doing so - this means that the Ideas Forum will not be a place where ideas go to die.
Once Feedback is initially reviewed, we use this Feedback to conduct UX Research and further communicate with the Supporters of those Ideas in order to move specific Ideas along the Product Development process.
What happens during this Review process?
During a weekly Review, we may:
Flag Feedback items as Bugs for Support (in case a suggestion for improvement is actually something that should already be working in the suggested way).
Set a Public Status on Feedback items so you and other users have a general idea of where that Idea sits in the entire Product Development process.
Comment on Feedback items, especially if we need more clarification or commentary from Supporting users.
Link related Feedback items, so you and other users can see the related topics more easily.
What do the Statuses for Feedback items indicate?
This status applies to new Feedback items or Feedback items that do not have enough votes or comments to support moving them forward into Validation at the present time. However, some Feedback items may move forward even without many votes because they will help us achieve commercial or business objectives and we believe that they will enhance the overall User Experience in Accelo.
This status applies to Feedback items that are currently undergoing review and deeper research.
Note: Voting will not be enabled on Feedback items in Validation.
This status is applicable to a few situations. Sometimes Feedback items are Backlogged because they have been reviewed by our team but do not align with present Strategy or cannot move forward to Validation because of other constraints.
Backlogged can also apply to items that went through Validation, but were not substantiated.
Note: Backlogged items can be moved into an active status like ‘New Feedback’ or ‘Validation’ in the future.
This status applies to Feedback items that do not align with present Strategy and will not move forward into R&D for the foreseeable future.
Declined items can be moved into an 'active' status like 'New Idea' or 'Validating' in the future.
Voting will not be enabled for Feedback in this status.
This status applies to Feedback items that are either being Planned or undergoing Development. The duration of this process is always different depending on the scope and complexity of the Project. We cannot provide Timelines to customers.
Note: Voting will not be enabled for Feedback in this status.
This work is live in production.
Note: Voting will not be enabled for Feedback in this status.
How does Accelo decide which Feedback items will move into Validation?
There's no black and white calculation we use, given the many inputs and considerations outlined in the Philosophy section of this framework. Additionally, we'll be continually improving our own process, so even if there was a cut and dry calculation, it won’t always be the same for every Feedback item in the future. Our aim instead is to provide as much transparency into why and how well Ideas/Feedback items are moving along in the process as a whole. You can be confident that new items in the statuses aren't being ignored - they just haven't been prioritized into Validation yet.
When can I expect Accelo team members to comment on my feedback item?
The Forum is not where we intend to have in-depth discovery conversations with our users. We want to reach out to Supporters to learn more about their needs and desires and will interact in 1:1 conversations more often than interacting via comments in the Ideas Forum. We will work to provide comments when it is appropriate to at least let our users know that we're working away in the background!
Why has a Feedback item been moved to the 'Backlogged/Declined' status?
There could be several reasons why a Feedback item has been moved to the 'Backlogged/Declined' status. After a certain duration on the Forum (approximately 3 months), it may not have accumulated enough votes or comments (i.e. 'support') to move forward in the R&D process or it may not be prioritized internally based on current Business objectives.
Just because an item is 'Backlogged/Declined' does not mean that we cannot change the status when it is more appropriate to re-evaluate, but we want users to vote and interact with the most desired items at the current time, so backlogging items helps us keep the Forum organized for you!
Will each Feedback item that is in the 'Development' status be built or changed exactly as it was reported?
No, the intention of the Validation phase of work is to determine how we can best meet the needs of all related Feedback items, which are often diverse in nature. Furthermore, the intention of the Development phase of work is to marry technical infrastructure with User Experience. We have plenty of talented folks on our teams who carefully consider a multitude of dependencies across our application in order to build valuable and functional features and experiences for our users.
Disclaimer: This Product Feedback Policy is subject to change at any time, but we will announce those changes in our bi-weekly Product Updates blog posts when necessary.