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There is no failure. Only feedback.
How are you going to going to get that feedback and what are you going to do with it?
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Robot Overlord Meme of the Day
In some of my past newsletters (like this one about getting feedback from your team), I discuss how important feedback can be. Whether we are formally collecting or casually observing and waiting for it, feedback loops are a constant thing we have built into our daily operations.
Although written towards the product development process, I believe anyone can take the following four steps targeting creating and leveraging feedback looks and apply them to their day-to-day.
So what are the four steps to user feedback loops?
1. Ask for feedback
The first step to establishing consistent and valuable feedback is something many newer product folks may skip over. You’re not going to develop a feedback pipeline if you don’t ask your users for feedback.
If you’re looking to find out some basics, there’s no need to get fancy with this process. How you ask for the feedback (surveys, meetings, etc.) can depend on when you establish the feedback look. If you have a smaller user base, consider looping them in when your changes are in test environments. If you use the pilot approach, make sure you have some direct conversations with this group to set expectations about the change. Open up the feedback conversation and ensure everyone understands how it should be submitted before getting started.
2. Collect and analyze the feedback
To collect feedback effectively, it is important to make it easy for individuals to submit their thoughts. While it may be ideal for managing a large amount of data, respecting people's time and not overburdening them with surveys is important. Additionally, collecting feedback from known individuals may be beneficial rather than anonymously, as it allows for follow-up and building relationships with the feedback submitters.
Once feedback is collected, it is essential to aggregate and create themes to make the information more digestible. It is suggested to keep the number of themes to a lower number, as it will be easier to use these findings in future conversations about change. Additionally, it is recommended to estimate the potential value added of each theme or work item that stems from them, as it will be helpful in future discussions.
3. Use some, lose some
After you’ve closed your feedback submissions, the next step is determining which feedback items your team should fix. Similar to what I shared with Tim Ferriss’ prioritization model, I would suggest looking at which changes with a lens based on feedback where one change could affect/remove many.
Once you’ve cleaned up your list and have your brief understanding of each problem to be solved, along with your shades of understanding around potential solutions, you should run through them with your dev team. Get their gut check on size and complexity and combine those with your other data points.
The last step is to specify which work items you think should be addressed first. You can use whatever prioritization models you’re using. Make sure the rest of the things make it into the backlog with a good amount of information/context, and you’ll be good to go.
4. Follow up
Assuming you have a small user group, consider reaching back out for thank you’s and go-live notices once these changes start to go into production. Not only will the people you worked with to identify these opportunities feel great about contributing to the cause, but you will also establish future change champions.
Have any thoughts on user feedback loops to share? Click the button to leave a comment. Let’s go!
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