How Small Is Too Small For Idea Management?

September 10, 2014

Product Development

Last week I got a pretty smart question from a ProdPad user that merits a bit more exploration:

“When is an idea too small?”

The bug reports. The minor tweaks. Are the little things important enough to count as an idea?

I will answer that question with another question: Is the proposed change is up for debate?

If it is, you should count it as an idea and send it into ProdPad.

If something just needs to be done and is dev-ready, it doesn’t need to be logged as an idea. It’s not a suggested improvement, it’s a necessary fix. For example, bugs are typically considered a development ‘to do’ item. When you’re simply looking at a broken piece of software that needs to be fixed, this should go straight into the development backlog and be scheduled accordingly.

But when you get into the realm of other “little things”, the question gets a little more complicated. A “little thing” might be a UX fix for something that’s confusing customers, a detail your team realizes really should have been included in a previous release.

Use the following to help you decide whether you should add an idea or just push it straight to development:

  • Is there a chance this change will spark a debate as to whether it’s a good idea or not?
  • Are you able to provide JIRA with enough information right away for a developer to pick up this task without any further support?
  • Can this change realistically be delivered in the next few sprints?

Keep in mind these decisions ultimately come down to how you communicate and how you draw the line between ProdPad and project management tools like JIRA. Questions like these can help you establish a set of guidelines, so important fixes don’t end up waiting for approval in ProdPad.

If you have any insight you can share on the ins and outs of how you manage a workflow between ProdPad and your development tools, drop a comment below!

Janna Bastow is co-founder of ProdPad, software that helps product managers plan and deliver better products. Janna also organizes ProductTank events around the world, including Mind The Product, a global community of product managers. She likes to inspire great product conversations by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”


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