The Least Painful Way to Track Feature Requests in Trello
You’re getting feature requests from customers. How should you keep track of them?
One option is to track feature requests in Trello.
I personally love Trello. It’s a sleek, intuitive, and versatile project management tool. I use it to plan and coordinate many of my projects, including this blog post.
That said, it’s not great for tracking feature requests because it requires a lot of manual copy and pasting. If you’re still a startup or early-stage SaaS company, it might work okay… but as soon as you get some real volume of feature requests, it will start to get unwieldy.
At that point, you might want to consider a more dedicated feature request tracking tool.
But maybe you’re not there yet, so you want to try Trello. In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step guide for product managers and customer success teams to set up a feature request tracking system using Trello.
What you need in a feature request tracking system
For your feature request tracking system to really work, you need the following components:
You need to centralize your feature requests—bring them in from where you receive them.
You need to find a way to prioritize your feature requests to determine your product roadmap.
Ideally, you’ll also build in a way to close the loop with customers once you build the features they requested.
Here is how you can implement each of those components using Trello.
Note: This step-by-step guide assumes you’ve already signed up for Trello and have logged in. If you haven’t, check out instructions for doing that here.
Step 1. Using Trello to centralize feedback
You likely have a few sources of feature requests and user feedback. These could come from customer support tools like Intercom and Help Scout, from other communication tools like Slack, or even from emails and customer calls.
To effectively track feature requests from each of these sources, you need to bring them into one place. Here’s how you can do that in Trello.
A. First, you’ll want to create a board to hold all your feature requests. Click the “Create” symbol in the top toolbar (sometimes it appears as a “+” symbol) and then select “Create board”. Make the Board title something like “Feature Requests” or “Customer Feedback”.
B. Next, set up the board in Kanban style with lists. In our example, we’ll make the lists correspond to the statuses that Savio uses in our own Dev lifecycle. So we’ll make the following lists:
“Requests” for the backlog of feature ideas
“Under Consideration” for the requests that we’re considering building
“Planned” for the requests that we’ve put on our product roadmap
“In Progress” for the requests that we’re in the process of building
“Done” for the requests that we’ve built
C. Now, add your requested features as new cards. In the feature card, you can add each request as a new comment. Make sure you collect the following information about each request:
The email address of the person requesting the feature
The verbatim feedback, problem, or specific feature request that the customer shares
The URL to the place you got the feedback
We recommend adding these as comments, rather than writing them in the description. This lets you easily distinguish which person asked for what.
When the next request for the same feature comes in, you would just add another comment. That way, you can count the comments and know how many people have requested the feature.
You can also add an “upvote” for the feature request by simply leaving a comment like “+1”.
Tip: If you are careful to only leave comments that represent a request for the feature, you can use the comment count icon on the card to represent the number of “votes” for that feature. (Note, though, if your team leaves other comments about the feature in the card, this number could get distorted).
Tip: Eventually, you’ll end up with many feature requests on your Trello board—dozens, or even hundreds depending on the size of your organization. As your number of requests goes up, you’ll want to avoid creating duplicates. Use the find function (Ctrl + F) to see if a newly requested feature already exists on your board.
Trello can be useful because it’s intuitive to use and set up (and you might already be using it for other tasks). It’s also a fairly inexpensive customer feedback management tool so you don’t have to find a lot of space in the budget to use it.
There are several disadvantages to using Trello for centralizing feedback.
It’s very manual. You have to copy and paste all the relevant information, flipping back and forth between your source of feedback and Trello. With enough requests, this could add up to a significant amount of wasted time.
Manual processes are leaky. In our experience, when processes are manual, things fall through the cracks and you might lose important feedback.
It’s hard to see vote counts. You have to manually count the number of requests in a card. There is a comment count icon, but this number can be distorted by comments left by your team that are not feature requests.
Step 2. Using Trello to prioritize feedback
Eventually, you’ll want to use your feature requests to choose the features you’re going to build next and put them on your roadmap. Prioritizing feature requests can be a complicated process, but ideally, you’ll figure out which features will help you most effectively acquire new customers as well as retain and expand existing ones.
Here’s how we recommend doing that using Trello.
A. Find out which features are the most popular. The comments icon can show you this if you’re careful to only use comments for separate feature requests. With basic Trello, there is no built-in way to sort your cards by the number of comments, so you would have to do this manually to find the most popular feature requests.
Tip: You can add a power-up to your board to be able to sort, although it might cost you a little extra. For example, the Table View power-up can do this.
B. Plan which features you’ll build. When you have your Product meeting, you’ll figure out which features you want to build for the following cycle. Move those features along your board to the appropriate list for the respective Dev workflow stage. For example, if you decide you will build a Freshdesk integration, move it to the “Planned” list.
You can see which features are most requested among your users.
You can track feature status and update it as you build new features.
The main disadvantage of Trello for prioritization is that you can’t easily get the information you need to prioritize in a precise way.
At Savio, we normally define our goals for the current quarter. We ask ourselves, “Are we most interested in acquiring new free trial subscriptions? Or expanding existing customers to higher plans? Or reducing churn among our Enterprise customers? Or something else?”
Then, when we’re building our product roadmap, we filter for the features that help us best accomplish that goal we’ve specified.
For example, imagine we’re trying to increase conversion from the free trial to the paid subscription. We can easily filter for features requested by free trial users. That gives us a list of the features that, if we were to build them, might provide enough value to free trailers that they would be convinced to convert.
Or, imagine we want to increase retention among customers with high MRR. We could filter for the features requested by customers with MRR over some amount—say $750.
Savio lets you filter feature requests by cumulative MRR.
Or, we might add up the MRR for all the customers that ask for a given feature, and then sort them to see the total MRR for each feature request.
Savio also lets you sort by MRR.
Segmenting your audience and slicing and dicing your product feedback to see what each customer segment wants is a powerful way to prioritize your feature requests and build better software.
Trello can’t do that.
Another disadvantage is that status updates are manual. Other feature request software tools (like Savio) have integrations with Jira, Shortcut, or other product development tools. That way, when your Dev team changes the status of a feature in their Dev tool, it automatically updates your feature request tracking system, too. You’re not able to automate that the same way using Trello.
Step 3. Closing the loop with customers
Closing the customer feedback loop means letting customers know when you build a feature they asked for. It’s a simple way to get credit for listening to your users and building what they asked for. It’s also a powerful way to increase retention and build loyalty.
It’s not super easy to close the loop in Trello. The best way to do it is:
A. Write a template email. You want to keep it short and sweet. Just remind them you’re listening to them, that there’s a new feature they wanted, and show them where they can get more information.
B. Set up a Mail Merge. Find instructions on how to do that with Gmail here.
C. Enter the email addresses. Unfortunately, this is a very manual process—copy and paste all the email addresses from each feature request into your Mail Merge spreadsheet.
D. Send the email. Watch your customers tell you how much they loved that you listened to them.
You’ll love the responses you’ll get to your close-the-loop emails. We sure do!
If you collected email addresses when you created your feature request comments, you’ll have a list of who asked for what. So it’s straightforward to send each of those requesters an email when you build the feature they wanted.
It might be straightforward to send the email to each person, but it takes time to set up the mail merge and manually copy and paste email addresses into it. It’s not such a big deal if you only have 5 to 10 requests. But it begins to get painful if you have dozens, let alone hundreds of requesters.
Other tools (including Savio!) automate this so you can do it in just a few clicks.
Upgrade your feature request management system with Savio
Managing feature requests with Trello is possible, but it’s not ideal. Because it doesn’t have the right functionality, your tracking system will be super manual and clunky.
That might be okay if you’re a small company or you don’t get that many feature requests. But as soon as you start getting any kind of volume, you might find your system starts to break down.
If you want a better tool, try Savio.
Savio centralizes feedback better. We have native integrations for lots of popular tools like Intercom, Help Scout, Zendesk, Hubspot, Salesforce, Slack, and Zapier. You can also email your feedback, or use the Chrome extension. And there’s an API to connect programmatically. With all of those tools, it’s easy to automatically centralize requests from wherever you get them—no manual copy and pasting required.
Automatically bring in feedback from Intercom just by adding a tag.
Savio makes it easy to prioritize feedback. Savio offers powerful segmentation, letting you slice and dice your product feature requests so you can see which features matter to whom. You can prioritize among tons of axes: type of customer, MRR, type of plan, importance, effort recency, and many others. If you can capture it, Savio lets you filter and sort for it. That means you can make better-informed product decisions. (You can’t do that in Trello.)
For example, you can easily see which features have the highest cumulative customer MRR—i.e. The highest total MRR of the customers who have requested the feature.
Savio makes it easy to close the loop. It’s also much easier to tell your customers when you build a feature they asked for. You can do it in just a few clicks, rather than manually copying and pasting a list of email addresses.
In a contest of Savio vs. Trello for tracking feature requests, Savio is the clear winner.
Kareem is a co-founder at Savio. He's been prioritizing customer feedback professionally since 2001. He likes tea and tea snacks, and dislikes refraining from eating lots of tea snacks.
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