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Salesforce
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“If we’re looking at a feature that is attached to a lot of red accounts or a larger customer who has a major impact on our revenue, we can really get into that segmentation 
in Productboard.”
Drew Lau  | Salesforce

Drew Lau Senior Director, Product Management, Salesforce

Salesforce

Salesforce

Hear from Commerce Cloud: 7 reasons why Productboard creates value

Drew Lau and Andrew Lawrence, both senior directors of product management at Salesforce, use Productboard to:

  • Aggregate user feedback coming in from a range of channels
  • Plan feature releases in collaboration with multiple orgs and stakeholders
  • Manage real-time roadmaps that inform product delivery

See how Productboard helps Salesforce reduce risk, improve efficiency, and save time.

Reducing Risk:

No product manager will say it’s easy to convince a cross-functional team — especially developers and leadership — about a big product bet. Fortunately, Productboard’s extensive Insights and advanced feature scoring capabilities have helped Drew and Andrew more effectively advocate for roadmap decisions.

Here’s how:

1. Identifying “the big problems” vs. minor updates

By aggregating feedback across channels and offering a range of ways to organize and score user data, Productboard helps Drew and Andrew cut through the noise of tactical product updates and instead identify major concerns users raise – the “big problems” to solve.

2. Aligning cross-functional teams with data linked to revenue:

On the path to filtering by ARR and segmenting by customer with Productboard, Drew and Andrew say it’s been “a huge win” already to have revenue data linked and constantly up-to-date against features. Now, their teams are able to “reduce pushback” from Engineering and leadership, as these stakeholders can “see the data supporting decisions” and why the hard work will drive customer retention and new business. 

Productboard in action: 

  • Drew explains: “If we’re looking at a feature that is attached to a lot of red accounts or a larger customer who has a major impact on our revenue, we can really get into that segmentation [in Productboard].”
  • For example, if Drew is able to identify 20 high-revenue customers that want a related feature, he can more confidently “make decisions around the voice of the customer,” aligning internal stakeholders around a now-visible issue users face.


3. Highlighting your impact: how Productboard helps with accountability and career growth 

Interestingly, Drew says Productboard goes one step further in the realm of risk, helping Product professionals of all levels demonstrate accountability when a roadmap pivot is required — and drive their career growth with visible wins.

At an enterprise-sized company like Salesforce, Drew stresses that revenue-driving work isn’t always linked to the people responsible.  

Here, Productboard can enable something Drew feels is essential for both accountability and advancement — being able to “talk about your work, show your work.”

Productboard in action: 

  • Tags reflect the product team member(s) responsible for high-impact features 
  • Extensive comment histories reveal their cross-functional efforts to move features across the finish line
  • The result? Productboard adds unprecedented visibility into the contributions made by Product team members

Improving Efficiency: 

4. Advancing multi-org initiatives faster with enhanced visibility 

At Salesforce, Drew and Andrew say it’s quite common to communicate about initiatives that affect multiple product orgs.  

As a central source of truth where teams can quickly share information, Productboard has offered the Commerce and Experiences teams enhanced cross-functional visibility — improving speed to market, accountability, and collaboration.

Productboard in action:

  • To Drew, scalability is the key differentiator. “You could use a bunch of Quips and spreadsheets and do that day to day,” he admits, “but that gets hard to scale once you get to four or five product managers all working together.”
  • On the other hand, he says Productboard helps teams “deal with that ‘messy middle’ [of product management] where you’re trying to gather enough data to collaborate on something to make large decisions across several product managers and several teams. Having a tool dedicated to that where people can expect all the data in one place is, for me, a lot easier.”Š
  • Slacks never slip under the radar: Above all, Drew says the Productboard-Slack integration — at a company as “deeply Slack-driven” as Salesforce — is doing wonders for cross-functional collaboration.“Most of my feedback comes from Slack,” he says, “including messages from account execs, customer success  managers, technical and functional architects across the org, and external customers and community channels that Andrew and I are both in all the time, constantly listening to conversations.” With Productboard’s Slack integration in full swing, Drew says connecting features to data is now “such an easy and seamless thing to do — when we see something we think is super important, we just right click on it and push it to Productboard.”

Embracing dynamic environments  

Drew and Andrew say Productboard has also been a major asset when it comes to organizational change, helping their teams embrace dynamic environments. Whether change arises on a team, strategy, or even work-from-home level, they say it’s been invaluable to have the same tool in place during the transition, allowing Product to adjust quickly and collaboratively with real-time data never getting lost in the shuffle.

Changing strategy quickly after a reorg  

After Drew’s Experiences team experienced a strategy shift related to a reorg, they were pressed to quickly create a new roadmap and justify funding for the big bets involved. In Productboard, Drew’s team was able to “pull that together in minutes because the data was already there.” 

They sourced relevant use cases, quotes from users interviews, feedback from account execs and, best of all, bypassed “trying to pull it up from a spreadsheet” owned by someone who had left the organization.

Easing team transitions and onboarding new hires  

Speaking of turnover, Drew shares why the consequences can be so steep when it happens in Product: “you tend to lose a bunch of visibility into the voice of the customer requests that have been collected in the past, because they’re following someone who quit…and are now lost in the ether of everything.”  

Whether product team members take on existing projects or onboard someone new, Drew says: “having [the data] in one central system makes it much easier for  you to ramp up on the roadmap.” With Productboard, Drew explains: “you know [from comments] who talks about that feature, and [from Insights] who the primary customer contacts are if you want to expand your research and discovery around a feature you’re debating for a roadmap.”

Enjoying Slack-free PTO  

On a more positive note, Drew says Productboard can finally pave the way for Slack-free PTO — something many senior directors could previously only dream of.  

When Andrew took time off, Drew was able to check real-time information from his colleague’s roadmap to answer questions from account execs curious about the status of certain features on the Commerce Cloud side. Drew says it wouldn’t have been possible without the platform’s “cross-team visibility.” 

Saving Time

6. Pivoting from manual updates to efficient, transparent planning  

In the days of using spreadsheets to plan releases, Drew and Andrew say version control was a major liability — costing Product valuable focus time and hindering cross-functional  efficiency, as other teams struggled to find up-to-date information on their own.  

Leveraging “various spreadsheets in Google,” Drew and Andrew found the data would “get old really fast.” As Andrew puts it, “as soon as you put [data] in a spreadsheet, somebody creates another spreadsheet from that spreadsheet, which has some subset of the information and it’s out of date in a week.” 

Here’s how Productboard helped them save time with a central place to plan

Productboard in action: 

  • Andrew shares: “during the planning weeks [for the recent release], we easily were able to make continuous changes to one single source of truth for the plan in Productboard.”
  • As every change made in Productboard flowed through the dynamic system in real time, team members were spared the burden they once faced of updating every channel they once leveraged for release planning. 
  • The difference: Andrew says with Productboard, “the entire release planning process was cut from 2-3  weeks to just a couple days because we are able to plan as we go.”

7. Turning “later” ideas into your next release  

Lastly, Andrew explains that Productboard not only helped cross-functional teams collaborate more efficiently during planning,  but also enabled Product to seamlessly build a whole new release plan out of “later” ideas.  

In the days of spreadsheets, Product had no view into future releases – so the time-savings and increased visibility proved to be powerful benefits for Commerce and Experiences.

Productboard in action:

  • Andrew explains: “[Productboard’s roadmap] is where I spend most of my time in planning because it’s easy to move things around. In our recent release, we wound up pushing things out to the ‘later’ column and created a whole new release plan based on that — the next one just fell out of what was in there, and now you can see it all in Productboard.”
  • Drew agrees: “getting Insights into the note-taking  system is easy because it’s really a couple clicks and then the data is there and you can easily come back to it later and build your roadmap…where you can do a full release plan later on.”

Visibility through Continual Planning

With Productboard, Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud team:

  • Reduces pushback from Engineering because they can see the data supporting decisions
  • Consolidates feedback from many channels through Slack integration and others
  • Builds feature justifications in minutes because all of the necessary data is already in Productboard
  • Product managers waste no time copying and pasting because planning and the roadmap update automatically in one place
  • The team continuously plans features as they are discussed, finalizing a recent release in a couple days instead of 2-3 weeks
  • As one release goes live, teams seamlessly create the shell for the next 1-2 releases using a single source of truth


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