Harnessing the Power of Feature Voting in Software Development

by | Sep 26, 2023 | Articles

Feature Voting in Software DevelopmentAs a product developer, knowing exactly what to work on next…not wasting time and cash on developing features your customers may or may not actually want? It can be tough to say the least, and paralyzing at its worst. Suggestions come in randomly through emails and support tickets, and you *think* you’ve got a grasp on them, before suddenly realizes you have no clue what was requested. One of the most effective ways to capture customer demand and feedback? A sophisticated feature called, you guessed it… Feature Voting. This method allows product/software developers to engage with their user base directly, empowering customers and clients to influence the product’s evolution. Let’s dig in and see how PathPro’s feature voting can revolutionize your software development process.

What Is Feature Voting?

Feature voting, also known as user-driven development or feedback-driven development, is a collaborative approach to software development. It involves allowing your actual users (customers, clients, etc.) to propose, discuss, and vote on the features they would like to see added to a software product. These features can range from bug fixes and small enhancements to major functionality changes.

How Feature Voting Works

  1. Idea Submission: Users, customers, or stakeholders submit their ideas for new features or improvements through a dedicated submission function, which is featured on the public-view of any PathPro account. Customers simply join your project, and click the :”Submit Feature Request” button.
  2. Review: Once an idea is submitted, the submission is available for review amongst you and your team. You can highlight the submission for later review, or, if the submission looks like a great idea, you can “adopt” the submission directly to your Feature Voting page.
  3. Discussion: Community Members (most likely your customers) can provide comments, suggestions, and critiques on the feature while upvoting and otherwise influencing the feature/idea amongst other Community Members and your team. Users can also upvote other comments made about the feature in question, showcasing a powerful snapshot of your community’s feedback.
  4. Feature Voting: Your Community Members are also given the opportunity to vote on the ideas they find most valuable or important. In demand features automatically “rise to the top” and, as a PathPro account owner, you’re able to review the analytics on overall demand of any given feature. This is an enormous step in confirming when/if a feature should be worked on, and combined with the additional feedback and suggestions provided by other customers during the outing period, you’ll know exactly HOW to implement the new feature too!
  5. Prioritization: The development team uses the voting data to prioritize features for future development. Features with the highest number of votes usually receive more attention and resources, but overall suggestions and upvoted comments are also quantified.
  6. Implementation: After capturing demand from your actual community, you’ll rest easy knowing your development team is working on implementing the most in-demand features for your software!

Benefits of Feature Voting

  1. Customer-Centric Development: Feature voting ensures that the software aligns with the needs and preferences of its actual users (your customers and clients), fostering a community-focused approach to development.
  2. Transparency: The process is transparent and inclusive, allowing users to see which features are being considered and how their input influences development decisions. This is further captured on PathPro’s “Product Path”, which showcases to users exactly what’s in the works for your product.
  3. Save Time & Development Fees: Developers can focus their efforts on features that matter most to the actual user base, reducing the risk of building irrelevant features, and preventing any situation where you’re spending cash on low-priority features. Take out the guesswork and save cash, all while building brand loyalty from your community!
  4. Brand Loyalty: Feature voting creates a sense of community—among users, developers, and your team members—as they collaborate to shape the software’s future. Give users credit for their suggestions, boost their rank based on their contributions, and otherwise provide ownership of their contributions!
  5. Deliver on Your Promises: Adopt highly-requested features to your Product Path, and eventually move them to your release notes as the feature walks the path from idea, to community voting, to development, and finally to completion! Keep your community constantly informed and deliver on your promises with pristine efficiency.

How PathPro Embraces Feature Voting

  1. It’s as Easy as a Click: When viewing your overall project, users will then see the submission form related to your product, and, after titling and entering details on their feature idea, it is instantly sent to your team for review. Check out the demo here to see how it works!
  2. Regular Updates: Keep users informed about the progress of the most voted-for features and any upcoming releases by allowing them to “subscribe” to updates to any feature. PathPro’s entire goal is to keep your community informed on the actual development process, from idea, to release!
  3. Constant Product Growth: PathPro encourages users to provide feedback on potential features and previously-implemented features to refine and improve them further.
  4. Balance with Strategic Goals: While user feedback is vital, it should be balanced with the software’s strategic goals and vision. Involving your community while also allowing your team to fully manage the decision making is key, and PathPro fully embraces this approach.
  5. Showcase a Feature’s “Path”: The PathPro ecosystem takes features from an idea to a reality. Confirm in-demand features from the Feature Voting panel and add them directly to your “Product Path” to inform your community on when they can expect the feature to go live. Once complete, add the feature entry directly to your Release Notes, showcasing exactly what is included on each update alongside discussions, stats, and other context pertaining to each new feature/update.

Conclusion

Feature voting is a powerful tool that bridges the gap between software developers and users. By incorporating community feedback directly into the development process, product developers can create more relevant, user-friendly, and successful software products. Embracing feature voting not only results in better software but also builds a stronger and more engaged user community. In today’s competitive software market, harnessing the collective wisdom of your users can give your product the distinct advantage to set it apart from the competition. You can find out more in our knowledge base article Feature Voting: How Does It Work.

And don’t forget to check out the PathPro demo and roadmap.

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