How ProdPad manages feedback and ideas

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Here's an overview of how we manage feedback and ideas at ProdPad, from our Head of Product, Kirsty Kearney-Greig.


Here is the way we handle the thematic analysis of feedback e.g. spotting signals from the noise and see what topics and themes are emerging vs consistent problem spaces.

Initial triage

We triage Feedback twice a week on a Tuesday and Friday as well as respond to anything urgent on the fly. This is to try and keep a nice and tidy Inbox and make sure you are keeping ontop of all the Feedback coming in so we can respond as needed. When triaging, the main things we are looking to extract are:

Insight How we track
The problem to solve or the problem they are facing We use the summary section to either manually summarise the problem or if a larger piece of feedback we use our AI summariser. This is so next time we go back to that feedback we don’t have to read the full corpus again
The area of the app it relates to We add relevant tag e.g. workflow view
Who this feedback relates to  Add the relevant persona as well as making sure the contact details are filled out and the contact has an associated job role
Does it provide evidence to an Idea we already have? Link to any existing Idea using the Linked Ideas section

All of these things then give us different ways of grouping the Feedback as needed. Once the above is complete we move the feedback to reviewed to show it has been “processed”.

When a theme starts to form

If it’s a newly emerging theme we will make an Idea and title it e.g. "Theme: workflow" and then use that to  attach all relevant feedback as it comes in. This then gives us one place to collate around the same theme and start to spot the sub-themes and problems within it. When we have enough here we will then build it out to a candidate initiative and build out the relevant ideas and experiments for solving that problem. We still retain the theme idea on that initiative to show where it came from but then use the bulk update to assign the relevant feedback to the relevant ideas.

Depending on the size of this we pull out those ideas in different ways. We may export all the feedback linked to that theme into something like Miro/Figjam and do a bit of an affinity mapping exercise to build out the sub-problems spaces or may just build out ideas as work through all the feedback and link as appropriate. One of the things we then do on ideas is use our confidence rating to show how validated it is using the rating to show how much evidence there is to support it and how confident we are that it will solve the problem. Here is a how we breakdown confidence:

🔴Red- Very low: Pure gut. No evidence. Thematic support. Opinions.
🟠Amber-Low: Some evidence. Some insight. Sales anecdotes. Lots of remaining questions. Conflicting responses that need understanding.
🟡Yellow- Moderate: Mounting evidence. Interviews started. Initial feasibility. Initial experiment results. A few remaining questions.
🟢Green- High: Extensive evidence. Known facts, 10+ interviews. Conclusive experiment results. Top user request.

This a nice way to then start to prioritize work as well and where more discovery says is needed around an idea or theme. When an idea lands in ProdPad it automatically goes into the unsorted pile and is given the workflow state of a new idea. This will run you through our process for triaging those ideas and the key stages of our workflow as we work an idea from creation to "done", although of course nothing is ever fully done 🙃


Here's how we manage new ideas through discovery and validation to delivery and measuring success.

Initial Triage

We triage new Ideas weekly. We will review the Idea and depending on who added it and the timeframe, it will then go through various levels of work to consider that idea "reviewed", the first stage in our workflow. We will make sure all of the attributes are completed, impact/effort assigned and the full description and business case is complete. If there is anything we are unsure of, we will start a discussion with the idea creator and leave it in unsorted with an 🧐 appended to the title so we know we are awaiting information back but the review process is done.

Discovery & validation

Once all of that info is complete we then decide what to do with it. Normally once fully fleshed out we will then move the Idea to to the "reviewed" column of our workflow and if it’s something that aligns with our current strategy and we think can move the needle then we will move to the Backlog. If it's an idea that has weight but its not aligned to our current strategy over the next couple of quarters I will snooze it with a 💤and then also archive with a note to the idea creator noting it's a great idea but not currently aligned to our OKRs so snoozing for later. Occasionally an idea will come in that just doesn't align with our strategy and we know we won't be looking to act on it. So for those we will append a ❌ to the title and move to the workflow stage "not doing" and then archive. In the same vein, we may often get a duplicate slip through the net so we will append a 🔁 to the title, move to duplicate then archive. The main reason for these emojis appended is so the whole team knows at a glance when say, looking at an archived Idea, if ever needed, why it is in that state and it also saves me re-reading through all the info again if that Idea ever comes up in conversation.

Once this process is complete we have our Ideas fully fleshed (past initial validation stage) and in our backlog and workflow to act upon. The workflow is probably my most used Idea view in ProdPad, I’m in it daily. At a glance, you can keep up to date with all the different stages and lifecycles of an Idea and zoom into different stages and Ideas as required.

Our workflow covers the following stages:

Initial review:


Not doing



Ready for discovery

In discovery


Design and Speccing:

In design

Ready for dev spec

Developing acceptance tests

Ready for prio


Ready to do

Queued in sprint

In progress


Awaiting release


Outcome measurement:

Measuring success

Done | Success 👍🏼

Done | Failed Experiment 👎🏼

Done | Inconclusive 👉🏼

Let's run through what each of these means and why they are important.

"Initial review" we have already touched on above. Within that, "Reviewed" is essentially a catch-all bucket for us to know it has been reviewed and it's ready to be picked up when we want to prioritize it.

“Defining” is where we are fleshing out the Idea a little more - what are the behaviours we are looking at and what is the scope for discovery - what are the things to explore and what do we we already know. Once this is complete it can move to "ready for discovery". This is the signal to the rest of the team the idea is prioritized and it's ready to be picked up for discovery - most of these ideas will correspond to an initiative but some smaller ideas will also get prioritized here. We usually kick off this stage with a joint product and development session to align around the problem to solve and set the parameters for discovery. Once picked up it moves to "discovery" which is then the go-to place for all ideas in live discovery. At the start of these stages, the idea will get built out a little more. If we are acting on it it's because we think it can move the needle in some way so at this point we will add target outcomes to the idea alongside confidence rating. This confidence rating then changes as the idea moves its way through the workflow to showcase to the rest of the team how validated it is and therefore how confident we are that it can achieve the outcomes we have set. Below is how we define our confidence rating:

Idea validation rating:

🔴 Very low: Pure gut. No evidence, just opinions so far. Supports an emerging theme.

🟠 Low: Some evidence. Some insight. Sales anecdotes. Lots of remaining questions. Conflicting opinions and insight that need further research.

🟡 Moderate: Growing evidence. Customer interviews/surveys kicked off. Initial feasibility completed. Some outstanding questions to answer.

🟢 High: Extensive evidence. Known facts, 10+ interviews conducted with clear outcomes. Conclusive testing results. Continuous feedback from users on the issue.

Once initial discovery is complete we do the final definition of what we learned and which concepts should move forward into the high fidelity design stage.

Once in “ready for design” it is picked up by one of our designers - most likely whoever was part of the discovery but it can change and moves to “in design”. It’s then in this stage until we complete any kind of user testing/feedback loops with our users. It's during this stage the confidence rating will dramatically change and allow us to decide if we move forward or not. Confidence is exactly for that, did it pass testing, what were the outcomes. If everything is pointing to a positive outcomes then this is where we do our final product spec and write out our AC’s alongside our QA team. Once that’s complete the development team comes in and does their final speccing in ProdPad before we  push to development. It's our house rule that every idea must be specced by both Product and Development with estimations from development before we can push to development.

Delivery & measuring success

Here it hits the development stages. Our team works in Trello so now it moves through the stages outlined above so we can easily see where it is at. Our Trello board has many extra stages but we have just pulled them into high-level stages in ProdPad that's enough to know where something is at.

Once live we move to the "measuring success" stage. Here it usually sits for around 4-6 weeks before the team reaches out to customers who submitted feedback on the problem we solved to see if what we released has solved that problem for them (the qualitative feedback) and also look at what target outcomes we set and assess whether we hit them using our product analytics platform Mixpanel (quantitive feedback). Based on this we will then decide what is next for that feature/functionality. Any new ideas are created as needed and the original idea moves to the appropriate done stage with emoji appended to title (again for quick scan ease) and archived.

Once the idea is done we then move it to the bottom of the roadmap initiative idea list as a way to keep that view also tidy.

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