Customer to Product: How Feedback Shapes Our Software
Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by

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One of the most rewarding aspects of working at Kildrummy is supporting our clients. Kildrummy® CostMANAGER and Kildrummy® KCM+ are used in projects on almost every continent on over 500 projects. Supporting our software in this many locations provides a great challenge that we gladly welcome. It’s exciting to see how our customers interact with our software and put it through its paces. Most importantly, we get to hear, and occasionally see, first hand how the software assists in getting projects finished on time and on budget. As well as being in many locations, Kildrummy software is also used in a wide range of projects, from biochemical, to oil drilling or refinery, and transport infrastructure. These different kinds of projects all have unique concerns, questions and issues. I and the rest of the team endeavor to provide the best possible solution to these issues. However, sometimes customers would like to use our software in ways we have not foreseen. The questions: “How can I use my data in this way?”, “Is this option available here?” and “When is this being implemented?” occasionally arise and part of my role is to provide feedback on this to the team.

Customer feedback can be a very powerful tool if utilized correctly. Without feedback, you may spend time developing software functionality that is ultimately never used. Once you start taking feedback into consideration, it is important to establish proper procedures on how to handle it. It’s clear to see how poor management of feedback could see potentially great enhancements left by the wayside.

With this in mind, Kildrummy’s Head of Product Management is responsible for evaluating the benefits of potential enhancements which have been revealed through customer feedback. Where appropriate, this feedback is used to steer the direction of the product. He gathers requirements from our user base and combines them with his vision to produce the overall product strategy. This task is made possible by Kildrummy’s long standing relationships with clients, many of which span decades. Kildrummy works hard to keep these relationships positive and productive for both parties. After collating and analyzing information from our user base, Product Management will either augment existing feature requests with additional use cases or create new feature requests in Kildrummy’s development tracking system.

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To shape the future of our products and design a clear product roadmap, they take feedback not only from clients, but also from the development team themselves. This is important for two reasons — it allows the team to help craft the product that they are actively working on, and it gives the product manager information on the scope of the task the developers face. This allows for continuous improvement of our methodologies. Understanding the customer’s and end user’s perspective to determine the usefulness of such suggestions while prioritizing them for the maximum benefit of all customers is the essence of Product Management.

The support team will often inform both the developers and the product manager of the day-to-day issues that users are having with the software. This is communicated either during informal morning meetings, or through one-on-one consultations. One example of this could be a reporting bug which requires a database patch to resolve. On occasion, the support staff may need ‘fight’ the corner of the user, perhaps even playing a devil’s advocate role. It is the support agent’s job to put themselves in the shoes of the client and see why a particular feature or enhancement may be required to resolve the issues they are facing.

Customer feedback is, without a doubt, one of the most important features of our software development process and our company as a whole. If this article prompts some feedback of your own, please feel free to contact us. Alternatively, use the boxes at the bottom of this page for further information on our products.