Using Idea and Feedback States (Unsorted, Backlog & Archived)

As product people, you want to encourage the generation of ideas and sharing of feedback from internal and external stakeholders, while finding a balance to not causing an overwhelm of information and another unmaintained backlog. Within Ideas and Feedback, there are three different states - Unsorted, Backlog and Archived to help you keep on top of a manageable product backlog. Here are the key differences and how you can use them effectively.


Utilizing the different states with Ideas, allows another level, alongside the ideas workflow, for managing the influx of ideas through discovery, validation, scoping and delivery. 


Unsorted is where all new ideas land. It essentially acts as your Unread Inbox. Here you decide next as a product person what you are going to do with the idea. Ideas can stay in Unsorted while you are asking questions of the person who added it, or adding scope. It stays here until you are happy that you have all the information to act/make a decision on it. That's when you should move it to another state (below).


Ideas are moved into the Backlog once they have been through the process set out above as an Unsorted item. Ideas in the Backlog are ones you will be actively working on through discovery and validation before potentially delivery.


Archived can be used as a catch-all bucket for any idea that is not actively being worked on. These can be ideas that have potential but don't currently align to your priorities or OKRS, ideas that will never happen! or ideas that have been completed. As it can be a catch-all bucket we suggest adding another layer of information to manage this so you know at a glance why you archived the idea so when it resurfaces itself you have the information at hand. This can be done with tags or adding some simple metadata to the title. Ideas can always be moved out of archived as you gather more evidence or your priorities change so don’t be afraid to use this space as a holding pen to keep your backlog nice and tidy!


Utilizing the different states, allows you to manage the (hopefully) large amount of feedback that you get directly from customers or via internal stakeholders (e.g. Sales, Support, Success) as you triage and add to any relevant ideas to assist validation and prioritization.


Unsorted is where all new feedback comes in. It essentially acts as your Unread Inbox. Here you review the feedback and decide what to do next. It stays here until you are happy that you have all the information to make a decision on it, for example, you can ask for more clarification on the feedback, to understand the problem. That's when you should move it to another state (below) and add to any relevant ideas.


Feedback is moved into the Backlog once you have reviewed it (as above) and you have added it to any relevant ideas and it is an area you are actively reviewing as a product team.


If the feedback isn't related to current priorities, then it can be moved to Archived until it is ready. You can use tags as an extra level to manage the idea e.g. area of functionality, theme etc, to make it easy to find again later, alongside the product and persona attributes. You can move the Feedback to the Backlog state once you are ready for it, so don't be afraid to use the Archived state as a holding pen!

You should also move feedback to the Archived state once any related ideas have been completed.
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