PAT: Helping end-user requests see the light of day

As UrbanThings expands, so does the number of great suggestions for our mobile apps. These come from end-users, beta testers and our own internal team – anything from great ideas for UI tweaks to full-scale feature additions. We love all this feedback and we don’t want to lose it.

Integrating feature and enhancement requests into our workflow posed an interesting challenge. We use JIRA to track our software development; filing new suggestions directly into a platform team’s JIRA seemed a little intrusive, but documenting them entirely outside of JIRA seemed disconnected from the process. We knocked around some ideas to help generate a process that would track these valuable ideas and PAT came to our rescue.

PAT is our newest JIRA Project, or to give him his fuller title, ‘Potential App Tasks’. Functionally, PAT exists as a ‘clearing house’ for ideas and suggestions that come from our end-users and development team.

The full lifecycle for New Features and Enhancements is now, in broad terms:

  1. End-user support staff and developers generate enhancement and new feature tasks, and file these as issues within PAT. We use components to track the relevance of each issue to one or more platforms. We also integrate JIRA with ZenDesk to track any related end-user feature requests.
  2. The Product Manager periodically prioritises and approves key tasks. Approved enhancements are then filed as new issues in one (or both) platform-specific JIRAs, and linked back to their PAT ‘parent’ for tracking purposes.
  3. Development teams then integrate the enhancements into their regular sprint planning.
  4. The enhancements are completed and the apps are updated. At this point, any linked end-user tickets in PAT can be actioned and the users informed that their super-amazing suggestion has gone live.

And, of course, nothing says PAT quite like our choice of Project Avatar.

PAT jira description