Collaborative Conversations

Paul Gray of brainmates released a white paper in August detailing the use of social media in product management. Further to my earlier post on the brainmates study of product management I thought I would share a recent experience.


GreenHopper 5.2, launch in early August to coincide with Agile 2010, included some new functionality for kanban teams. In particular, we introduced a cumulative flow diagram to assist kanban teams assess their workflow and measure the lead time of an item of work. One of the uses of social media is promoting and sharing, and we certainly conducted this around the time of the launch.

Shortly after the 5.2 launch we began to see customers asking questions via emails, commenting on our documentation, tweeting, raising issues on our backlog, posting on our forum and posting on other forums. The customer activity in social media was identified through our teams constant monitoring of social media channels.

All of this activity came about as a result of the way we implemented cumulative flow diagrams in GreenHopper. As of this writing there seems to be two ways that these diagrams can be drawn, and we potentially selected the wrong one. We are still working through this and trying to address the concerns of our customers. We are engaging and collaborating with our customers using the channels listed above to identify the correct solution.

All of this goes to reinforce a number of things:

  • Customers can interact quickly with us and other customers.
  • We must respond, lest the conversation continues without us.
  • Promoting and sharing is just one aspect of the social media cycle.
  • Gathering feedback and collaborating are the most beneficial aspects of social media.

As I say, we are still working through the current event. Collaborating with our customers has made this a very rewarding experience and has provided great insight. Are you using social media for your product management?



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