How to Suggest New Features

At Emergency Reporting, we want to build a system that meets our users needs. We rely on our users to help us determine which features to build into the system next. The best way to know what features our users need is to ask, and so began the Suggest A Feature page.


How We Use the Idea Exchange

There's a few overview things you need to know about how we use Suggest A Feature before we go over how you submit an idea.

  1. Each module within the system is "owned" by a specific Product Owner. These product owners meet and discuss what projects their development team is going to work on for development "sprints" (basically, 2-week intervals).

  2. One of the ways these product owners decide what to devleop is by looking through the idea exchange that happens on the Suggest a Feature page. They usually focus on the top voted feature requests that would benefit users.

  3. The product owners then meet and decide if and when those features should be developed given the number of improvements the team is constantly making to the Emergency Reporting System.

  4. Sometimes ideas submitted will take a short time to build while others could take months, even years, to develop. The product owners take all of these things into account while they decide what to build next.

  5. Although not all ideas will be developed immediately, the top ideas submitted have a strong influence on what will be built next.

  6. So submit your ideas, vote on the ideas you like, and subscribe to updates about the idea status! We love building features that work for our customers and we love to include users into that process.


How to Submit an Idea

Step 1: Go to the Suggest a Feature Page

You can get there by typing into your browser or you can get there after you submit an idea directly from the system. Once you've made it to the page, create a user profile with your name and email address so that you can participate.

Step 2: Enter your idea into the narrative bar.

It is most helpful for our Product Owner Team if feature suggestions are phrased in the following format so we know exactly what is being asked:

As a (title/rank), I want (specific feature request), so that (what it will help you accomplish).

Example: As a Fire Chief, I want to be able to schedule recurring events on the Calendar so that I can save time by not having to manually input the same event over and over again.

If you need more space to explain, you can add a short comment below your feature request to add more details about your idea.

Helpful Tip: When you type in the narrative bar, it also searches for existing ideas similar to what you are requesting. It is more effective to vote on existing ideas for features rather than having multiple ideas of a similar feature.

Step 3: Vote!

Each user is given 100 votes to use, and each idea can be given a maximum of 3 votes of support.

When an idea's status is marked as completed, declined, or already exists the votes on those ideas will be returned to the user.

Every two weeks, the product owners review the Suggest A Feature page and discuss if and when top-voted ideas will be developed.

Step 4: Sign up for updates about status changes.

Status changes are our way to communicate to the users about what's actually happening with all of those ideas submitted. There are seven possible statuses:

  • Under Review: This means that the product owner team has seen your idea and is figuring out details about how to make this idea possible, like what needs to be built or how long that would take. If your idea is Under Review that does not mean it will be developed soon, but means that your idea is likely being brought up in discussions about what to develop next.
  • Planned: Your idea is scheduled to be developed next. This period of time may vary depending on how long the features before it take to build.
  • In Development: This feature is currently being built by the development teams! Yay!
  • In Beta: This feature has been developed, but is only released to a Beta Test group that will report on usability and bugs to be fixed before it is released to all users.
  • Completed: This idea is done and the feature is available to use in the system.
  • Already Exists: Great minds think alike, so this status means the Emergency Reporting System already does this feature.
  • Declined: The product owner has determined that the idea is not possible for logistical, legal, or financial reasons.

Note: Users who vote on ideas will be emailed when statuses change.


OR Submit an idea directly from the ER System!

You can vote on ideas or submit your own idea from the :Suggest a Feature button on the top of the Home Page:



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