Awesome discussion, thank you for that.
Usually, I don't tend to share insights from internal processes. But I remember that you have been interested in our ways to collect feedback the last time we talked about it. So let me roughly show you how we gather our impressions (in no specific order). Beware! The wall of text:
Trello Board (discontinued)
The Trello Board was a very good tool as long as the company and the number of requests was small. With our current internal tool we are managing more than 500 individual feature requests. That would be quite the complicated in Trello to be honest.
Still, the old Trello Board exists and we are constantly delivering the requests that are listed on it. Just to show you some:
Of course there are still items left (like animations, SLI graphic cards, 360° Videos, measurement tools, etc.). But we tracked all of them in our internal tool as well and we keep evaluating them.
When starting at Enscape I immediately got the benefit from talking to users while working with the software. You see how they are working and understand the 'why' behind it even better compared to a textual description what you would like to see. Thanks to Corona we did not attend at a lot of exhibitions the last years. And it is also quite the difference if you are talking online or offline. But I am optimistic that we will soon come back to normal in this regard.
As already discussed, you are a very important source of information. And we definitely know that everyone of you is representing their company.
You are also the most responsive group of users, which makes it easier for us to find out the reasoning behind your requests rather than 'just' always doing what is requested.
When the need arises, we also get in touch with some of you directly. Either some of our developers (for the more technical discussions) or someone from product management or ux.
I don't even know the exact numbers but there are hundreds of tickets coming into our Customer Service constantly. And many of them are not bug reports but feature requests or descriptions of specific workflows. These information are always forwarded to Product Management. And in case we want to learn more, we also get in touch with those users.
Big Customers & Resellers
As we are already in contact with some of our big customers and resellers in other positions within the company, having conversations with them about the biggest pain points is just a small step.
One side of the medal is supporting the users that we already have and providing improvements for them. But the other side is understanding why other potential customers are not switching to Enscape. That is why we are also talking to CAD users that are not using Enscape (or not even one of our competitors to be more precise).
To understand better how the CADs are used, a more holistic overview of the usage can provide quite the insights, that single users are not able to see. Our contacts at the offices of the CAD vendors have access to usage statistics and their own customer service. This is just another perspective that we can add for our overview.
Similar to the requests coming into our customer service, some colleagues are maintaining and monitoring everything that is going on in the different social media platforms. This includes YouTube as well as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIN, etc.
Of course are we generating content here. But we are also discussing feedback that we receive. Most of the time we don't even know whether this is coming from a user or not. But if there is a need for clarification, we try to get in touch with them.
We are not just looking at the current state and how to improve them. We are also observing and discussing market trends in the architecture world with internals as well as with externals to think a step ahead and maybe even being able to act a step ahead. Right now we know that we are late/behind with some topics where we should be further at the moment. We are trying to catch up here but we also want to prevent that this will happen in future as well.
With a growing company it is a common thing that you need to set a strategical direction at some point. And some features that we are planning to implement are serving that direction. But they are always requested.
I hope that clarifies a bit what we are doing all day long and how we evaluate the priority of the requests from a demand perspective (complexity for development is another story).
There are two things we are currently working on that I would like to share with you.
We are working on a concept to work very closely together with a very small amount of users (not companies). The participants would be able to influence (not dictate) the roadmap and the UX of planned features. We would get a better understanding of the needs and reasoning.
The plan is to start end September / early October with the selection process and then get the whole thing rolling at the end of the year.
As soon as we start, we will have a separate thread here in the forum.
Additionally, we are reevaluating a replacement for the Trello Board.
As mentioned above, the old concept required more and more maintenance and provided less and less value for us. That is why we decided to stop it, take a break and have another look at it after a while.
With the more objective view that we have, now, we collected pros and cons. The next weeks we will have some discussions about that topic and how we could address it so that every side can benefit from it.