New Idea Submission Available

The content in this blog is over six months old, and the comments are closed. For the most recent product updates and discussions, you're encouraged to explore newer posts from Instructure's Product Managers.

TaraGoldman
Instructure
Instructure
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2655

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Our team has officially loaded all Identified Themes to Ideas and Themes for your review and idea submission is now available!

So what exactly does this mean? All historical ideas reviewed by our team that mapped to a theme are now linked as “Referenced Ideas” to the theme and marked “Added to Theme” (that is a total of 1,322 ideas that have been mapped to a theme). All other historical ideas that did not fit within a theme have been archived. Ideas were archived based on a variety of factors such as technical limitations or misalignment to product strategy. We understand this can feel frustrating and we've discussed this thoroughly. We believe this is the best path forward at this time and also realize we won't be able to meet everyone's expectations

As you review the themes, please use idea submission for anything that you feel is not captured within the existing themes. With our new process, our team is committed to improved communication and collaboration. We will review all new idea submissions within 1 week of submission. Based on our assessment of the idea, we will either seek additional clarity from the submitter, map to a theme, or archive the idea as it will not be considered. For those that will not be considered, we will provide feedback on the reasoning behind our decision. 

From my last post, there were a number of questions around how this process will result in faster product development or implement solutions that meet the granular, day-to-day user needs. Ideas from the community exist within a larger feedback and product insight ecosystem - we analyze market trends, product usage data, user focus groups, support tickets, customer NPS, and so much more. By identifying themes from idea submissions, it enables us to more quickly see if this theme exists across the ecosystem and address them. And the increased commitment of our review cycle of ideas enables us to more easily spot those minor fixes / improvements that we can organically roll into our releases.

We recognize that this process is new for all of us and that there will be inevitable kinks that require ironing out.  This process change, as well as things like our public-facing roadmap, are testaments to us being committed to do better.

The content in this blog is over six months old, and the comments are closed. For the most recent product updates and discussions, you're encouraged to explore newer posts from Instructure's Product Managers.

8 Comments
BenJam1n
Community Participant

Thank you so much!

JamesSekcienski
Community Coach
Community Coach

Is there any opportunity for users to comment on themes and/or ideas before themes are voted on with this new process?  I looked at several ideas and it doesn't look like I am able to comment on them anymore.  There also isn't a comment feature on the themes either.

KristinL
Community Team
Community Team

Hi @JamesSekcienski -

Those are great questions. With the new process, the original author and Instructure employees are the only ones who can comment on an idea. This is to drive conversation to the theme level. Themes will open for comments when they are identified as being Open for Voting and/or Prioritized. This will allow the Product Team to focus on certain threads and really dive into conversations with Community members. How do Ideas and Themes work in the Instructure Community? 

We recognize that this is a change from the previous process, but I am really excited about the quality collaboration that will take place in the coming weeks when Themes are chosen by the Product Team to progress to the next stage!

JamesSekcienski
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello @KristinL 

I understand that it will take time for myself and others to adjust to this new process.  A common message that I have seen promoted about this process is that it will have improved communication and collaboration.  The themes make sense for helping to group related ideas together for development consideration and with this new process I can understand why you want to focus your conversations around the themes since the themes will drive future developments.

However, I am concerned about how this new process has severely limited the ability for Canvas users to continue to collaborate and communicate with each other around the ideas. 

  • When users were able to comment on ideas before, it allowed for people to express their thoughts about it.  This could help identify additional needs or features to consider with the idea.  However, with this new process it would require us to submit a new idea if we want to add-on to an existing idea. 
  • When user comments were enabled, it also allowed users to identify potential problems with a suggested idea that may not have been considered and in some cases the original poster may reconsider their idea. With this new process, users would have to make sure they are actively participating in the theme discussions when they are unlocked for community comment to share their concerns.
  • The most important benefit of user comments was it allowed people to share potential workarounds and in some cases custom built scripts to help solve problems identified by ideas.  When you are stuck waiting for an idea to be considered, it is at least nice to discover a temporary or partial solution that can be used.  This is especially helpful when the idea that you need assistance with is something that is considered a "bug" by the community members but a "feature/expected behavior" by Instructure.  However, with this new solution there is no opportunity for users to collaborate and communicate directly with the idea.  Instead they would have to consider creating a question or blog post disconnected from the idea.

Even if Instructure employees aren't going to actively participate in the conversations on Ideas, the community members should still be able to do so.  This provides a place for us to collaborate and communicate on the specific ideas of concern to us.  Even if we can't vote on specific Ideas anymore we should at least still be able to build on, clarify ideas further, and suggest workarounds by commenting on them.  Allowing users to comment on Ideas at all times also provides you with some information gathering.  If you need to, you could make it an expectation that the comments won't necessarily be reviewed until the theme that the Idea is a part of is being considered.  This also provides users an opportunity to share their thoughts throughout the year in case they happen to be busy during a voting window and to help make sure they don't forget an important point to consider since commenting on themes is limited in when it will be available.

audra_agnelly
Community Champion

+1 to all the points @JamesSekcienski laid out. Discussion around an idea really flushes out the use cases around the idea and in the old posts you could see from the volumes of comments how desired a certain feature was by members of the community. Gathering those use cases is an important tool as your product teams evaluate and prioritize tasks. By limiting commentary to when themes are open for discussion, we in the community miss out on opportunities to post comments on ideas when they are at the forefront of our minds. Over the years, I have generally commented on ideas when I have been searching the Community to an answer to a specific question. If commenting is only open during voting there are key points and contributions that won't necessarily be on my mind (and presumably others) during that window.

Further, I've seen many posted ideas over the years that stemmed from misunderstandings of what functionality was already available in Canvas. In some cases, as James mentioned, there were workarounds suggested by community members. In other cases the OP just didn't know how to do something in Canvas and community members were able to provide guidance on how to do that. Those comments remained on record and could be read by anyone who has the same question in the future.

vanzandt
Community Champion

Just adding a +1 to the voices that have already spoken on the need for community members to be able to comment on specific ideas. Thank you to those who have taken the time to articulate the importance.

Charles_Barbour
Community Participant

@TaraGoldmanI think the original goal was to have the community begin voting on themes in February. Is there an updated timeline?

TaraGoldman
Instructure
Instructure

@Charles_Barbour - The general timeframes for voting will take place in February and October. As we rolled out the new process in February this year, we are giving Community members time to orient to the new process and submit new ideas. Our team will be providing an update in the coming weeks on the timing of the voting window.

@JamesSekcienski @audra_agnelly @vanzandt - When it comes to commenting on individual ideas, I want you to know that we hear your concerns, and this is something we'll continue to assess.