I'm a one-man company, and a couple of months ago I shipped version 1.0 of my product after a year of beta testing. So far it has been successful; the product is selling and the customer base is growing, which is fantastic.
I manage my backlog publicly using Trello, so people can see the backlog of ideas, the current sprint, and what has been completed. Every morning, I wake up, check my email, and there are five new suggestions for features/changes to the product. I'm lucky to complete one or two per day, so the backlog is growing faster than I can get through it.
The suggestions range from:
- Really awesome ideas I never would have thought of
- Interesting ideas, which are at odds with where I want to take the product (e.g., a complicated feature to support a rare use case).
- Small changes, like being able to re-order a table
All of these are important, and I feel very lucky that so many people are suggesting ways to improve the product. But managing the suggestions is becoming difficult. During the beta process, I had a forum for people to make suggestions, and I added them to the backlog so people could track the suggestion. That process seemed to work well when the number of suggestions wasn't too high. Now, I feel like I'm drinking from a fire hose.
- Is this a problem I should just "get used to" now that I am managing a product, or is there something that can be done about it?
- Is it productive to reply to each suggestion with "thanks, I've added it to the backlog", or should I be honest and tell them the feature won't get done until 2381 at the earliest? How do you thank people for their suggestion without getting their hopes up that it will be implemented?
- Should each suggestion go directly to the backlog, or should I use a completely different system (maybe something like Uservoice) to capture suggestions, and only move them to the backlog if they are really going to be implemented in a reasonable timeframe? Is my process wrong?