Feature Requests & Enhancements – What Happens to Them?

Best Practice Software product enhancements and feature requests are received frequently from our engaged user base, and often fuel our development roadmap. From time to time, we have users enquire about the request they’ve submitted and how it’s progressing.

As a customer-centric organisation, we highly value engagement with our customers and the insights it provides us. In a similar vein, we’ll shed light on our internal, end-to-end process for receiving, reviewing and prioritising these requests, to demystify what happens when you submit a request.

Being a Customer-Centric Organisation Means Listening to Users

First let’s talk a bit about what it means to be a customer-centric organisation. 

From the very first line of code that was written at Best Practice Software, customers have been at the heart of what we do. Our founders set out to solve some of the challenges our customers and Practices experience each day. It’s the reason why our motto, ‘designed by a doctor, for doctors’ is a key pillar in our organisation.

A lot has happened since that first line of code was written in 2004, but our customer-centric ethos has remained unchanged. So, let’s talk more about how we listen to our valued customers and what we do with the insights, feedback, enhancement and feature requests that we receive.

You Tell Us, We Listen - A Multi-Channel Approach to Receiving Requests

The world keeps changing, and new challenges arise, which consequently generates new ideas and requirements. This is also why product development does not stop. A great way for us to keep up with change and understand the ever-changing needs of our customers is to listen.

Listening to the voice of our customers is not a “single lane” approach. It takes multiple channels and methods through different interaction points that occur between us and the users. The important piece that ties everything together is that the feature enhancements are logged into the same product review backlog. Here’s an example of what a multi-channel approach means to us.

Multi-channel Approach to Listening to Customers:

  • Sales
    • Customer enhancement requests that we receive through sales interactions and account management are logged and placed into review.
  • Support
    • Like sales, feature requests received by support also get logged into the same review process.
  • Marketing
  • Beta testing customers
    • Feedback from beta customers is incredibly important, as it not only provides us with feedback on new features, it serves as another channel for us to receive suggestions and ideas for feature enhancements as well.
  • Product customer interviews
    • As part of our product development processes including User Experience (UX), we conduct interviews to gain insight on how customers use our products, potential pain points they experience, and to identify how we can best improve a feature in development. Feature enhancement requests in this channel are either incorporated directly into the design, or if the enhancement suggestion relates to another feature, we’d then log the request and/or provide it directly to the team members who manage that area of the product.
  • Product feedback tools
    • Some of our products provide a mechanism to submit feature enhancement requests directly from the product, or a link to send us the feedback.

Reviewing, Determining Value and Prioritising Feature Requests and Enhancements

Feature enhancement requests are incredibly important to us, as they not only provide us with an opportunity to improve a feature, but they also give us new insights into how customers are using the product, which changes alongside evolving user needs.

Every feature enhancement request we receive is carefully reviewed and considered by our Product team. While some make it onto our development roadmap, others are added to a log for future consideration. This is always a balancing act, as we need to evaluate whether a feature enhancement suits the majority of users, a user discipline or a user group. Sometimes an idea can be great, but it may only suit a very specific need and could potentially impact other users. When reviewing and prioritising requests, we take the following steps:

  1. Validation
    • Review the problem being solved and why it should be built
    • How will the request enhance / improve a feature and how it will help users?
  2. User Patterns
    • Does the feature enhancement help the majority of users, a discipline, user group, or only one/specific user?
  3. Clinical review (if applicable)
    • If the feature enhancement is clinical, then our clinical committee needs to assess risk and any other clinical factors involved.  
  4. Requirements & Scope
    • Identify the requirements needed to build the feature enhancement.
    • Determine scope of the feature enhancement.
  5. Feasibility & Effort
    • Estimate the effort and feasibility of building the feature enhancement.
  6. Value and backlog priority
    • Based on the factors above, determine a value for the feature enhancement and prioritise it with other requests in the backlog.
  7. Decision
    • Based on the above, make a decision whether the feature enhancement should be approved, rejected or flagged to be reviewed and considered again in the future.
    • If approved for development, establish its priority in relation to other approved items on the roadmap.

All requests, whether they are approved or not, are maintained in a log, allowing us to revisit them anytime, and to identify any growing trends for a certain feature requests. What might not be feasible to build or prioritise right now, might still be a relevant enhancement down the track. 

Our staff also contribute valuable ideas and suggestions, based on their interactions with customers, industry insights and/or product expertise. 

One of the key challenges of any software development organisation is determining value and prioritising the backlog. The priority of each feature enhancement request needs to be evaluated against other features already in development, features sitting in backlog, bugs, regulatory changes, industry, and government initiatives. This determines when a feature enhancement can be built.

Keep Them Coming!

I hope you enjoyed this insight into how much we value customer feedback, listen to our customers’ requests, and our process for reviewing and actioning your suggestions. To send us enhancement suggestions, new feature requests, or let us know about any challenges you may be facing, utilise this enquiry form on our website

Keep helping us improve our products, which are ultimately built for you!

Authored by:

henry vesander feature requests blog author image

Henry Vesander
Manager of Product Management at Best Practice Software

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