Hi, I'm Jan König 👋. I'm one of the founders of Jovo, 28 years old, and live in Berlin. < Go back to learn more.

Default to Open

In previous episodes of this newsletter, I've written about open systems and how we're trying to encourage community discussions in a forum. I believe offering our users a way to discuss ideas and give feedback can create moments of serendipity that could give birth to feature ideas that otherwise would take way longer to manifest.

Today, I want to share a new experiment with you, where we're trying to take the community involvement one step further:

New Experiment: Feature Proposals

We've always been openly discussing feature ideas/requests in our developer Slack channel or in calls with our community members. However, these discussions were unstructured and mostly 1-on-1.

In the last weeks, we've created discussions around two large features we're currently working on:

I really love how the community members are already providing feedback, asking questions, and sharing ideas. Especially for larger product features (leaps) it is important to show everyone what's happening behind the curtains, and involve them early on.

And even better: A community member even posted his own feature proposal to get feedback before building something: same-process testing.

Advantages of Open Feature Discussions

Besides the obvious "getting feedback" advantages, I see two main benefits of a process like this:

  • It forces us to write something down: I really like the concept of Amazon meetings, where people need to write structured memos in preparation of meetings. Having to write something down challenges you to take a step back and think things through.
  • Default to Open: Many feature ideas get lost because it's just Alex and me thinking about something quickly and then maybe forgetting it again. Forcing ourselves to discuss features in the open is not only helpful for our community, it also includes all our team member, shifting the default communication to written format (I talked about remote team culture here).

What do you think? How are you discussion features with your users?
- Jan

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