NEW VIDEOS 📹 Dangerous Animals of Product Management: How to Manage Challenging Stakeholders
As a leader in the cloud content collaboration and governance space, Egnyte has experienced tremendous growth since its founding in 2007. Even before COVID-19, companies increasingly sought ways to make enterprise file storage both secure and accessible as they moved away from expensive and difficult-to-maintain onsite servers. As remote work became critical in the face of the pandemic, offsite accessibility enhanced the appeal of content collaboration even more. If companies didn’t realize the importance of secure cloud-based access to corporate content before the pandemic, they certainly do now. And this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
Egnyte’s growth continues to accelerate, and the company is adding hundreds of employees and thousands of customers per year. Productboard helps them keep pace with that growth, giving them the tools they need to continue the agile practices that their customers expect.
Vice President of Products Greg Neustaetter has been with the company since 2012, when there were just two product managers. Today, there are nearly 20. As the team grew, it quickly became apparent that the informal processes, which worked fine for a team of two, presented multiple challenges for a team ten times that size.
First, product managers were using different slide templates and different terminology when creating roadmaps. Second, it was becoming more difficult to stay on top of customer requests and track them through the entire process. To address these problems and create a more formal, streamlined approach to roadmaps in particular and product management in general, Egnyte’s Head of Product decided to explore solutions that could help. Neustaetter was on the team to evaluate different options.
“We were hoping that not only would we be able to find a good way to document and have a consistent way to present our roadmap, but that we would be able to find tools that would make it easier for us to get customer feedback, prioritize it and trace it all the way through the whole process.”
After giving Productboard a try, the Egnyte team decided to stick with it for three key reasons.
First, they found that Productboard’s benefits extended beyond just the product team. “We wanted something that would be a good fit for all our other teams, especially our customer success organization, sales engineers, customer support, sales reps, professional services, and just across the board,” Neustaetter said.
Productboard’s flexibility also supported the company’s varied and complex products. According to Neustaetter, “We can adopt the parts that we want. If we want to track additional fields along with each feature, we can do that and we don’t have to just do it as a hack or just as plain text. Also, we have some parts of our product that release once or twice a year, others that release multiple times a week. Having a system that can manage the roadmap for both of those — where one team is planning months and months at a time and another one is much more agile, with releases changing very frequently — has been important to us.”
And finally, Neustaetter felt philosophically aligned with Productboard’s agile and customer-centric approach. “We’re a pretty agile organization at Egnyte. We’re pushing out new versions of our cloud-based software multiple times a week, and we wanted to work with an organization that was also agile. We cared about finding a company that’s taking feedback, a company that’s incorporating that feedback quickly, experimenting, trying things out.”
While Egnyte has always prioritized high-touch customer service, some of its larger customers have thousands of users. For those larger customers, Egnyte is typically only in touch with a handful of managers whose comments may only represent a small sampling of feedback from their most active users. To ensure nothing slips through the cracks and that every user can have a direct route to offer feedback, Egnyte uses Productboard’s Portal feature to solicit customer feedback on their website.
“If you’ve got a 10,000-person deployment, maybe five people at that company are having one-on-one conversations with us, and the other 9,995 are giving feedback internally. Maybe that’s eventually making it to Egnyte, but [using the Productboard Portal] gives them more opportunity to provide feedback. Certainly, it gives more of a voice for the smaller customers who don’t have that weekly or monthly, or quarterly opportunity to touch base.”
Productboard has also enabled Egnyte to give customers a more active role in the design process by making it easy to identify which customers are interested in particular features. Designers and product managers will then follow up with those customers for further research. When it’s time to move into beta testing, Productboard also makes it easy to find the most relevant customers.
“Being able to go back and see the customers who are most interested in this feature has been great for us. It’s a well that we can draw upon to make sure that we’re involving all the people who are able to give us the best feedback, or the best examples of why the features are important.”
Keeping track of which customers are interested in particular features allows Egnyte to prioritize what to work on and easily justify those decisions with concrete data.
For example, when a new comment comes in, the team can use Productboard’s easily searchable Insights repository to see how many other customers have made similar comments or requests. Before using Productboard, there was no centralized place to track those comments, and decisions were made using a more anecdotal approach.
Egnyte’s engineering team has less direct interaction with Productboard, but benefits from the fact that it integrates directly and seamlessly with Jira. The product team will push information from Productboard into Jira to create stories, so that engineering can see specific examples about why customers want certain features.
Productboard is also integrated with Zendesk, which the company’s support team uses. By importing customer information, product managers can perform analysis to see what customers in different segments — such as life sciences or construction — are asking for.
In addition to the built-in integrations, Egnyte also uses APIs to bring in feedback from other sources like Net Promoter Score surveys.
Productboard provides a single source of truth for product data that the Egnyte team can rely upon. For Greg and other senior members of the team, that makes it easier to confidently present roadmaps to customers or executives without bringing along multiple team members to each talk about their own product area or to gather information beforehand.
For the marketing team, that means that they can use information from Productboard to put together content for a new release or a new capability.
Everyone in the company has access to Productboard, meaning that critical product information is always right at everyone’s fingertips.
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