When a business builds custom software for productivity, it must have a plan to improve the product. A major source of ideas for the development team will be feedback from employees who use the software daily. Not every complaint or comment will make it to the next iteration of the software. The software development team must have a method to differentiate between random noise and clear signals that users want a particular improvement. They will then put the signals into the product roadmap to prepare for a roll-out.
Why is it important to integrate employee feedback in software upgrades? Here are a few reasons.
1. Identifying Priorities
Getting employee feedback on software helps to identify features to prioritize in the next version of the software. Employees do not care about how powerful their features are. Instead, they will prioritize features that directly affect their productivity. Listening to their feedback ensures that the development works on features that improve the productivity of employees, which will translate to more revenue for the business.
Noting priorities also inform how new features will be communicated to employees. Instead of focusing on the technical aspects of the features, it’s always better to tell stories about the impact of changes and improvements to the product. This approach increases the enthusiasm for software upgrades.
Integration with third-party software is a common feature of modern employee management applications. Through the collection of feedback, the development team will realize those integrations employees would like to see. Some suggestions may be in line with trends in the industry. For instance, many systems for managing employees today have integration with cloud storage platforms and document editing solutions too.
2. Collecting Feedback on Design
It’s easy to collect suggestions on features users would like to see on a new software version. The real work is in translating suggestions into design elements. The product development team is likely to go come up with several design proposals before settling on one. The development team uses storyboarding tools to analyze different designs. This level of diligence ensures that the chosen design has been rigorously interrogated and accepted.
Listening to feedback also allows the product team to understand how employees use a product. In fact, that can be done through inbuilt analytics in a software application. It is possible to see how long people use the product in a day, the most used features, and so forth. Understanding user behavior in an app is key for improving the security of the app. For instance, some apps lock automatically after a few minutes of inactivity. Such precautions result from user behavior observation followed by a risk assessment.
3. Testing Software for Functionality
The product team must ensure that a software’s features are working as the team intended. Nowadays product teams have adopted an agile development methodology where features are built, tested, and released in small instalments. Updates to software today come multiple times in a year. The changes are small and easy for people to get used to. Collecting employee feedback ensures that the team is only realizing small but properly working functionality that do not disrupt workflow. In fact, an important question product teams have to ask is how well updates integrate with the current workflow. Small incremental changes are easier to analyze and fit into the current context.
4. Feedback on Level of Support
In large companies where a particular software has hundreds or thousands of users, there is likely to be a dedicated support center where employees facing technical issues can contact. By gathering feedback on user experience, the organization can predict the level of support necessary when the company releases a new version of employees’ software. Based on previously recorded user behavior and frequently asked questions, the product team can predict user challenges and prepare a strategy to handle them. They can make user training videos, blog articles, or organize company-wide one-on-one training for users.
5. It Drives Product Ownership
Asking product users for feedback increases their sense of ownership in the product. By having structures in place to collect feedback, the management sends the message that users’ thoughts on the software are important to the development team. In fact, this increases their willingness to brainstorm and send across their thoughts on product development. Crowdsourcing ideas from users is always one of the best ways to prepare a roadmap for a product.
Other Considerations When Undertaking Software Upgrade
An important consideration in software projects is the quality of documentation. Documentation in software projects allows users to understand the features of a product and how to work with them. The first version of a software must have proper documentation and so must all the subsequent updates. Employees are likely to offer their thoughts on how helpful the documentation is.
Not every aspect of employee software can be assessed using employee feedback. The company may need to engage software consultants to give their review on the quality of code. Poor code quality could lead to frequent codes or an app that is too bulky to be properly used across all devices.
Every Company Must Use Feedback to Improve Software Upgrade
Indeed, every company that plans to upgrade employee software must find a way to integrate their feedback in the product improvement process. Feedback collection has to be an ongoing process, and this can happen by allowing users to send in reviews from within the application and a contact center. The feedback may also come during physical interviews. Another option is to roll out products to a select group first and observing their reactions to the new features. Big companies are able to launch upgrades in different locations separately to reduce the risk of disruptions due to bugs.
If your company is looking to build or upgrade software used by employees, reach out to Transcendent Software. We are software development and IT services company helping employees build and launch business applications.