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Canto
Canto
Company Founded

1990

Location

North America

“Everyone now has more visibility across the product lifecycle, making it easier for us to see gaps and roadblocks and sense risks earlier on, because we can quickly grasp the status of our initiatives and how much work there is to do across the portfolio.”
Josh Gibbs | Canto

Josh Gibbs VP of Product, Canto

Canto

Canto

Learn how Canto’s move to Productboard gave teams real-time visibility and the easy interface they needed to:

  • Bridge information gaps between Customer Success and Product
  • Effectively prioritize user feedback
  • Improve delivery timing and quality
  • Increase customer engagement

Along the way, Canto has seen:

  • A 75% increase in Product’s focus time per week

Sony and The Alzheimer’s Association turn to Canto for the same reason: finding the right visuals to tell stories that inspire. Driving the digital asset management solution’s roadmap, VP of Product Josh Gibbs is grateful to help teams make a positive impact on society — raising awareness and rallying support through image-rich storytelling.

“I’ve told my team at Canto,” Josh says, “we may not be solving the world’s problems directly, but we are helping the companies who do.’” 

When Josh joined Canto as VP of Product, teams lacked the right software to identify, prioritize, and effectively deliver the right solutions for their users — limiting speed to market and reducing customer engagement. 

By switching to Productboard, Josh helped Canto improve discovery, development, and customer retention — increasing employee engagement along the way.

How it started: the challenges before Productboard

Before Josh’s arrival, Canto’s Product team lacked a comprehensive system to aggregate user feedback and share real-time roadmap progress, which caused the following:

1. Discovery disconnects: Product struggles to synthesize, peers want visibility into process 

With no way to offer teams cross-functional visibility across the product lifecycle, Canto’s product managers spent 60% of the work week responding to internal requests about features.

As a result, customer-facing teams grew more and more disenchanted — unsure if they should keep sharing feedback, as their ideas rarely seemed to reach the roadmap.

“When I got here, Product was trying to make sense of all customer feedback, but there was no easy way to classify or view the many types of feedback we had. That caused lots of extra communication — they were spending more time sorting out internal relationships than building relationships with end users and delivering value.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

2. Lost revenue: No framework to prioritize high-impact features 

Synthesizing feedback was just the beginning of Product’s problems. Josh says the real issue was that Canto had yet to establish an effective framework that would help Product identify and act on the most critical user needs — an approach designed to drive both customer-centricity and value for the business.

Canto was already using a product management platform for prioritization and roadmapping, but leaders found the software too restrictive.

“Leadership had abandoned our previous platform because it didn’t allow for the proper organization of information that they wanted. It was forcing us into a model of product management that Canto doesn’t use. There was no way of weighting items requested, at least not an easy way. Figuring out the right things to build was hard for us until we started implementing the right framework in Productboard.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

3. Delivery dysfunction: No real-time link between roadmap & development

Along with discovery and prioritization, there was one more pressing concern for Canto: ensuring Engineering’s day-to-day work aligned with roadmap priorities.  

Josh says that Product was always striving for cross-functional alignment, but there was no direct way “to translate roadmap items into software action items, so the roadmap and Jira backlogs were not in sync.” Josh paints a vivid picture of the disconnect.

“It was a wild situation where Product had some idea of the features we wanted to build, but no way of knowing if Dev was working on them, or if they were delivered on time. And, developers would sometimes pick up other stuff Product had no idea about instead. It was a cyclical problem of Product not being able to check on the Dev team because they couldn’t manage feedback in the first place.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

How it changed: creating the right framework to improve collaboration

Naturally, Josh didn’t let this org-wide uncertainty last long. Early on in his tenure at Canto, he searched for a new product management platform.

“I had heard of Productboard from a previous role, but I still did an evaluation feature by feature, and the main thing that caught my eye was I was able to build the product framework I wanted in Productboard way more easily than with other tools,” Josh says.

As a newcomer to Canto’s leadership team back in 2021, Josh was excited to improve the company’s product strategy and cross-functional processes so teams could deliver more value to customers, faster. To that end, Josh wanted a platform that would let Product reconfigure roadmaps and prioritization frameworks seamlessly, without losing any momentum, in case a change in strategy required a new approach.

“With some competitors, you might have been able to create a framework, but you’d have to start over completely if you wanted to switch — because the platform really decided it for you,” Josh says. From there, Josh appreciated that he could easily quantify feedback, associate it with a feature, and compare that feature in a “weighted way” against other possibilities — using RICE, Kano, or whichever model he wanted. 

Lastly, Josh and his colleagues liked the seamlessness of sharing Productboard roadmap views tailored to stakeholders’ needs.

“Their reactions to Productboard were: ‘oh my God, we’ve never had this much visibility — never had this way to understand where feedback has gone.’ They could easily spot features’ green light statuses in their roadmap views, and with that new level of visibility across the product lifecycle it was easy to get everybody on board.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

How it’s going: customer-centric decision-making, faster to market

Here are six ways Productboard has helped Canto improve cross-functional collaboration, strengthening customer-centricity and getting the right products to market faster as a result, according to Josh.

1. Improving the way teams address gaps and risks with cross-functional visibility

First, Josh is pleased to report that Productboard’s intuitive interface has helped teams at Canto collaborate much more effectively to sense opportunities — and risks — across the roadmap, empowering them to pivot faster should issues arise.

“The view that Productboard provides has opened up communication channels across the organization and has helped establish trust. Everyone now has more visibility across the product lifecycle, making it easier for us to see gaps and roadblocks and sense risks earlier on, because we can quickly grasp the status of our initiatives and how much work there is to do across the portfolio. Now, we're more effective at reallocating resources, sliding in new hires, and understanding where to focus our efforts to drive the business forward.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

2. Making better product decisions using customer insights and clear prioritization

Josh says the combination of Productboard’s Insights and feature scoring capabilities has also allowed Canto’s Product team to justify every roadmap decision with user data — strengthening cross-functional relationships as a result. 

“Now, when Insights come in, we have a rigorous way of sorting them by region, impact, and effort in Productboard, and can ask: ‘how close is this to value for us?’ Then, I started a stakeholder round table where we take those RICE scores per feature and discuss not only the data but also how the qualitative voice of the customer might affect our roadmap plans, too. If we think the plans are good, we then create business cases.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

3. Winning customers’ loyalty by closing feedback loops

After seeing firsthand that the user feedback they share gets pushed to Productboard and informs the roadmap, customer-facing teams now contribute Insights on a consistent basis, Josh says. 

“There were so many insights missed out on before Productboard that some team members felt it wasn’t worth sending stuff our way — a ‘why should I vote when my vote doesn’t matter’ type situation.” 

With a real-time view of the roadmap in Productboard, customer-facing teams can now follow up promptly with Canto users when feedback they’ve shared has blossomed into a new feature. The results? Just what the company hoped to see in a market where customer retention matters more than ever.

“What I’ve noticed overall is that there’s a more collaborative spirit from our customers because Productboard has facilitated better conversations and visibility between us. It’s now so much easier to empathize with our users and understand their needs.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

4. Getting to market faster by connecting the roadmap to development work

Turning to delivery, Josh says Productboard’s Jira integration has helped Canto add much-needed transparency, quality control, and communication to the development process.  

Developers are increasingly including technical information in their Productboard feature notes, ensuring Product is aware of any potential pitfalls or has an explanation for delays.

“With Productboard’s Jira integration, timeline is the really important thing. The company never really understood when features were going to get done, but now that we have this clear sense of the effort involved and we can now measure sprint cycles, we’re much more aware of how development work will affect the roadmap — which helps us adjust.”

Josh Gibbs
Josh Gibbs
VP of Product, Canto

5. Magnifying Marketing’s impact: Enhanced visibility makes campaigns more effective

As developers do what they do best, Josh says Canto’s Marketing team now has the ability to work faster and more strategically, too, reaching customers with the right message at the right time.

By leveraging themes, tags, fields, and their own custom roadmap view in Productboard, Canto marketers are pouring through real-time feature information independently and turning their findings into press releases, event keynotes, and customer stories — campaigns they previously would have had to wait for word from Product to start creating.

Now, Josh says, Marketing leaders ask him revenue-driving questions like: “Could we hold just a week on that release? That way we can push it to go live alongside a conference we’re doing with that theme to make the biggest splash possible.” 

Josh is happy to oblige.

6. Empowering great talent: Giving product managers the focus time they crave

In the days before Canto switched product management platforms, Josh says one product manager felt quite overwhelmed by status requests and administrative work.

“He was struggling with burnout,” Josh admits. “He told me, ‘this isn’t Product,’ and I said, ‘hang in there with me, let me transform stuff for you with Productboard.’” 

And, that’s exactly what Josh did. 

By encouraging other teams to self-serve real-time information across the product lifecycle in Productboard, Josh spared his product manager unnecessary administrative work — putting time back on the clock for strategy and focus work like talking to customers, prioritizing solutions, and determining requirements. 

Now, Josh says, the product manager “loves what he does, and is even asking: ‘how can I move up in the ranks? What can I do to get to the next step?’”

 

Build what matters most and empower great talent on your team — Try Productboard today.

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