The Feedback Widget: Bridging The Gap Between Developers And Business Users
on September 10, 2014
In a previous post, I mentioned the feedback widget and how it is one of the most useful widgets from our App Store. Today, I want to elaborate further on why it’s so useful, how to configure it, and the role it plays in closing the communication gap between developers and business users.
Why It’s So Useful
By using the feedback widget, business users can request new features, and provide feedback on what they want and need. Furthermore, they can use it for QA and for reporting any issues that they see. The feedback widget automatically captures important context for the development team, including the browser, page, and user role. Additionally, users can upload screenshots, if needed.
By using the widget, feedback is easily incorporated into the development cycle. Product owners can easily view and prioritize feedback and the Mendix business engineers can access the feedback within the Business Modeler and mark the feedback as done when appropriate. Additionally, the project manager can track the progress across each sprint and manage expectations more efficiently. Ultimately, the tool ensures that the engineers deliver exactly what the business users want.
How To Install And Use It
First of all, the feedback widget is super easy to install in 3 steps:
- Within the Business Modeler, go to the App Store
- Search for “feedback”
- Download the feedback widget – remember to check your project version and download the correct version listed within the versions tab
Once you’ve downloaded the widget into your project, just drop it on your homepage overview. The widget will be available throughout the whole application. The only thing you need to configure is the Project Identifier.
You can get the project identifier by logging into home.mendix.com and going to the specific project you are working with. The goal is to link the feedback widget to your project via the Dev Center. This enables the widget for the specific project at hand.
Once you’re within the project overview, click on the “Get Project ID” button. That’s where you’ll find a 36 unit long string of variables and numbers that you can copy and paste into the project identifier.
While configuring the project ID is a requirement, I also like to link each piece of feedback to the user and allow for screenshots and file uploads. This can all be set up within the first tab of the widget called the “data source.”
Within the data source tab, I like to link the feedback widget to the user and add their email address attribute. This way, it will keep track of their username and email address for every user who is logged into the system.
Bridging The Gap Between Business and IT
While the widget is quite useful, it can also derail the project if left unattended. It is essential for the product owner or project manager to properly manage incoming feedback and mark the priorities. If the project manager approves all feedback and marks it all as essential without giving proper guidance and priority for the engineers, then scope creep becomes really easy.
Hence, it is essential for the project manager to keep everyone focused. While capturing user feedback is a great start to bridging the gap between business and IT, it is not enough. The feedback must also be managed, prioritized, and the resulting outcomes communicated back to all stakeholders. We have a number of resources to help explain the importance of communication and collaboration. But it’s also great to hear from the community as well. What has your experience been with the feedback? Feel free to share it below!