Participatory product development

Summary:Blogs, wikis and RSS have have clearly changed how organizations communicate with employees, customers and partners. Many corporations are now encouraging employees to blog and building user community sites.

Blogs, wikis and RSS have have clearly changed how organizations communicate with employees, customers and partners. Many corporations are now encouraging employees to blog and building user community sites. It's all about creating feedback loops, conversations, transparency and buzz that allow all constituents to participate in some way in what gets delivered to the market. This week, for example, salesforce.com rolled out a blog that asks users to provide feedback on user interface design prototypes for a future version of the company's hosted CRM application. "All of our customers have the same version of the application, so when we introduce changes we want to pull them into the development process," said Jamie Grenney,  salesforce.com marketing manager.  The design feedback blog has three samples for users -- which the company claims includes 267,000 paid subscribers -- to comment on. This kind of public blog feedback process is going to be the norm for companies trying to get more input from the most valued users. However, this isn't an open source project, and there's a limit to how deep into the product the "open" process goes. Deciding whether you like blue or pink bars or the text above or below the line isn't a make or break decision (see below), and it's not going to expose what a company considers proprietary. Nonetheless, it's good community building, especially if the feedback is applied and the user community develops its own momentum and authority in the process...

Current                                             

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Future?

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Topics: Salesforce.com

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