Productivity Month: How Intronis prioritizes feature improvements

Posted by Matt Kowalski on Sep 15, 2014 8:00:00 AM

One of the questions we often get in Product Management is how we decide what features and enhancements make it into a release and which do not. It’s a very important question, since the value we add to our product and the order in which we release features plays a big role in the services and protection our partners can offer their customers.

These choices all come down to determining priority: how important each feature is to our partners, the market, and our overall product vision, relative to the other features on our list. The features that are deemed higher priority are given the most attention and resources.

And although we’ve had great success with dartboards, dice, and coin flips in the past, there’s actually a lot that goes into feature prioritization.matt_kowalski

But in all seriousness, the process of prioritizing improvements and features for our product takes into consideration a number of important factors, all of which contribute to the relative priority of each new piece of functionality we consider for a release. A few of the most important factors that impact priority are as follows:

Direct Partner Feedback

Over the years we’ve built our products around direct feedback and conversation with you, our partners. Direct feedback on how we are or aren’t meeting your needs and the problems you are solving for your customers helps us refine our product backlog and even the specific capabilities of new functionality to ensure that we deliver a product that helps you provide value to your customers.

We get some great feedback from our partners through our Partner Success and Support teams, as they interact with you on a daily basis to help identify and solve your problems and foster your success. But one of our greatest sources of feedback is the “Leave Feedback” link in the upper right corner of your partner portal. The ideas and votes we receive through this link help us prioritize features, gauge partner response to new ideas, and further communicate with you regarding our current and future offerings.

Market Trends

Another important factor in prioritization is the trends in the MSP and SMB markets. A few years ago, the use of server and desktop virtualization in the SMB was exploding, which greatly raised the priority of our initial VMware backup offering. Since then we’ve improved our VMware support and added Hyper-V support as virtualization continues to grow within SMBs. The trends of today – mobile device management, cloud-hosted applications, and the continued drop in storage prices – play just as important a factor in our planning and prioritization as virtualization did a few years ago.

Our Product Vision

Just as important as the external factors listed above, the overall product vision shapes our priority in roadmap by helping ensure that we continue on the right track toward becoming the complete business protection platform for MSPs. Just as important as it is for determining what we should do next, our product vision is instrumental in identifying the features or functionality we should not invest in because it doesn’t mesh with where our product is headed.

Although there are a number of other elements that go into our prioritization process, the above factors play a major role in deciding where our product is headed next. We invite you to use the Leave Feedback link in the portal to get your ideas heard - or feel free to reach out directly to the Partner Success or Product Management teams to share your thoughts and suggestions!

Matt Kowalski is Senior Manager of Product Management at Intronis

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