How do we handle feature requests?

If you're reading this article its likely that you've been kind enough to take the time to make a feature request, which is fab!

As you might expect we get a heap of feature requests in all shapes and sizes with all sorts of differing motivations. So we thought it would be useful to explain how we deal with them.

With this in mind, its probably worthwhile giving you a bit of background:

Our Business Model

As you know WriteUpp is a cloud-based system.

Without boring you with the technicalities this means that one piece of source code serves all of our clients all over the world. Doing it this way enables us to spread the costs of providing WriteUpp over a large number of users - which means our users get access to simple, high quality software at a very reasonable price.

Product Ethos

If you're either using or considering using WriteUpp its likely that you are attracted by:

  • the simplicity of our product
  • the price of our product
  • the great service that we offer

Which is great, because we made a very conscious decision when we decided to develop WriteUpp to create a product that was simple, useful and effortless to use.

Feature Requests

We spend just about every waking minute (and some when we should be sleeping) thinking of new ways to make WriteUpp simpler and more useful, without making it more complex. Your feedback fuels this creative process and we're super grateful for the thousands of feature requests that you send to us via our Help Desk, Social Media and email.

The feedback that we get tends to fall pretty neatly into one of two broad categories:

We get lots like this:

"Would it be easier if you did x?" 

"Its not very logical to see this here, how about doing it this way"

"I'd like to be able quickly do this...."

This kind of feedback is great. Its exactly what we need and it motivates us to re-think, re-design and re-simplify.

But we also receive a one or two like this:

"I like your product and I’ll subscribe if you just add this small feature for me” 

“xyz product has this feature. I would move to you if you added it”

If we rolled on these kinds of requests WriteUpp would look something like this:

feature-740.png

and we're rather keen to avoid this!

So, here's what happens if you make a feature request:

  1. We'll review it and make an initial judgement as to whether or not it might benefit the WriteUpp community as a whole (don't forget, one piece of source code serves everyone).

  2. Requests that clearly focus on the individual or very specific needs of a user are filtered out at this stage as are tickets that involve something along the lines of "I'll sign-up if you add this..."

  3. Feature Requests that make it through this initial review are entered as tickets on to our development tracking system (Jira) for consideration in future releases.

  4. When each ticket is logged in Jira it's categorised as follows:

    2014-05-15_10-20-45.png

    These days our release policy is a "little and often" so each release tends to contain 15-20 tickets and we try to release every week or two. This helps to minimise risk and it also helps us to maintain momentum.

  5. When we begin developing a new release we review the tickets in Jira and decide which should make it into the release based on:

    - Roadmap - how does it fit with our product direction and dev plan
    - Popularity - how many people have asked for it
    - Complexity - how hard is it to do
    - Criticality - is it impacting the performance/reliability of the system
    - Simplicity - does it fit with our core ethos

  6. Once we've made the decision to work on a ticket the development team will write the code and "resolve" it.

  7. From here it's handed on to the testing team where it's tested functionally, then tested in our test environment and lastly it's tested in our release environment. When all these checks are complete it makes it into WriteUpp as part of a release.
  8. To keep track of what's in each release please be sure to regularly check our release notes and application notifications in WriteUpp.

So, please keep the requests coming and hopefully this gives you a better idea about how we handle them. Rest assured your efforts aren't in vain.

 

Need More Help?

We understand that not everything is black and white, so if you need some help, click "Submit A Request" ticket and one of our team will help you out as soon as possible.

Have more questions? Submit a request

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