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How To Collect User Ideas as a Product Manager

4 Apr 20224 mins read
Tomas Prochazka
How To Collect User Ideas as a Product Manager
By Tomas Prochazka

Now that you know how to efficiently collect ideas from your team or stakeholders let’s cover how to collect user ideas as a product manager.

Gathering internal ideas as a product manager can be a pain, but it’s non-negotiable for the product development process, especially when talking about enterprises.


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In today’s blog, we’ll look at the challenges of collecting user ideas, the benefits of collecting ideas internally, and how Forms can help you make the process a cinch.

User ideas internal collection

Challenges of collecting ideas internally

Collecting and sharing ideas can be a messy experience, especially when you’re working internally. Here are some common challenges we see time and time again:

Not asking the right questions 

Sometimes there will be concerns or key points that an internal user or team member won’t think to bring up, and product managers wouldn’t remember to ask. Not asking the right questions at the right time will result in missing vital suggestions or concerns until too late in the product development pipeline.

Not having one singular channel for communication with colleagues

If you’re using multiple channels to communicate with internal users and team members, you can bet a lot of those ideas are getting lost under a jumble of emails, voicemails, or messages. Unifying your primary communication method will work to ensure that everyone can see, read, and respond to messages promptly.

Not finding time for meetings

We get it: finding time to fit in meetings and interviews while working on a product is tricky at the best of times. But there’s no better or faster way to collect ideas than meeting face-to-face or hopping on a call.

Benefits of collecting ideas internally

Let’s move on to the many benefits of collecting user ideas as a product manager.

Gives you a well-rounded view of the product at hand 

External ideas are typically centered on one specific part of the product. But combining both internal and external user insights gives you a well-rounded view of the product at hand and helps you identify its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

Improves internal collaboration and team cohesion 

Gathering internal ideas gives you ample opportunity to check in with your team. By extension, employees feel more valued, you improve overall communication and boost productivity. Ultimately, gathering internal ideas helps improve overall engagement with the product in development.

It lets you correct mistakes as you go 

Because internal teams have access to a product before its official release, they can provide ideas and feedback throughout the process. This gives you the chance to tackle problems in real-time. 

User ideas internal collection

How to collect user ideas internally

So what is the best way of going about collecting user ideas internally?

1. Shadowing

Shadowing is excellent for products that are being used internally, and it is a solution to the problem of not asking the right questions. If you watch a colleague while working on their portion of the product development process, you’re likely to discover so much that they would never have thought to mention. Note, however, that shadowing is only a useful technique if the person in question will be an end-user.

2. Cloud-based spreadsheets

For those who don’t have time to go to in-person meetings, cloud-based spreadsheets allow on-the-fly feedback additions, all without needing to schedule them for a particular time!

Spreadsheets can turn decision-making into a transparent, collaborative process but with a hard prioritization process tied to your outcomes and objectives.

3. Semi-structured one-on-one user interviews

Like shadowing, semi-structured one-on-one user interviews are time-intensive. That means that it’s crucial to prioritize who to interview. 

You should prioritize end-users or team leaders who are clued into the team's thoughts. That will guarantee that you’re only taking on board ideas from relevant internal users or team members, which will be more in line with the product vision and won’t eat up too much of your time as a manager.

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Use Forms as your method of collecting internal ideas

It can be easy for product managers to say that each item is as important as the last. But, as the head of the product development team, you need to quickly and efficiently analyze which ideas to keep and which to scrap. That’s where Forms comes in.

Forms has been designed as a centralized method of collecting info from team members and stakeholders through easy-to-use customizable forms, all at the click of a button.

Gather feedback, supporting info, and ideas to make collaboration easier than ever before. The airfocus Forms app makes this possible by adding a customizable button to your workspace’s favorite communication channel to automatically gather the information you need before you need it.

Use Forms by going to the “Apps” section of your workplace. Choose where submissions will be sent, give access to key users, and start gathering critical info in five minutes or less.

Forms excels at ideas-gathering by:

  • Gathering a continuous flow of ideas for your product roadmap

  • Automating a standardized protocol for collaboration

  • Collecting ideas from all departments in your organization without being time-intensive 

  • Giving the option of anonymity for key users who may have hesitation about sharing their concerns or ideas

Used by thousands of product teams of all sizes and from all industries just like yours, Forms is the final idea-gathering tool you need to see success.

If you are ready to simplify, automate, and enhance your team’s idea-gathering processes, airfocus is here to make it a reality. 

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