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New In-House Tech? 15 Tips For Giving (And Getting) Useful Feedback

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When your company’s IT team is rolling out new internal tech, they need to get actionable feedback from the users. If there’s a glitch in the programming, you’re having difficulty understanding it, or if you simply have a suggestion on how to improve it, it’s important to share that information. Additionally, tech leaders can take steps to gather useful data on new tools they’ve introduced. 

Your IT team welcomes feedback that can help them improve the user experience. Below, 15 members of Forbes Technology Council share their best tips on providing (and gathering) informative, actionable feedback about new company tech.

1. Get users involved before rollout.

Don’t wait until the go-live moment to involve end-users. Include as many users as possible in the process of evaluating, building, testing and rolling out the new technology. The more familiar your users are with the new technology, the more successful your rollout and future user adoption is going to be. – Tal Frankfurt, Cloud for Good

2. Ask for visibility into the planning stages.

It’s important that the users have visibility from the start of the new rollouts. If they are left out of that strategy, then resistance will be there. Give them time to adjust to the new changes and adapt to the new tech. Feedback will come to the surface as you go, and that will be more helpful during the actual rollout. – Bhavna Juneja, Infinity, a Stamford Technology Company

3. ‘Exercise’ the new app as much as possible.

I would recommend users “exercise” the new app as much as possible. Try every feature, and look for navigational issues and/or challenges when moving between the new application and other commonly used products. Be sure to let IT know what browser and operating system you use. Survey applications are good for collecting data. – Steve Richmond, Projetech

4. Be specific.

If there is something that bothers you, call it out. Many users often try to give broad generalizations, and the IT guys are never able to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong. The power of communication cannot be understated when new internal tech is being rolled out. Certain questions should be put forward against each set of features to minimize the risk of bugs and other problems. – Irsa Faruqui, RetroCube – Software and Mobile Application Development Company

5. Form user groups.

Form “user groups” to promote a regular feedback loop with IT team members on efficiency gains, effectiveness or improvements that could impact workflow changes. Doing so can provide vital insights for managers. This exercise conveys that you support a culture of openness, creativity, collaboration and the development of strategies that enable the team to do their work more efficiently. – Vikas Khorana, Ntooitive Digital

6. Be ready to explain the benefits and answer questions.

The adoption of a new solution needs to start with executive leadership and be clearly communicated to employees, including the benefits the workers will gain from the solution. Learning how to use a new solution doesn’t happen overnight. Proper communication will be critical when introducing a new solution. – Amit Bareket, Perimeter 81

7. Generate solid usage data.

Focus on real data. Use analytics to find out what users are doing and how they are interacting with the new tech. You can use that data to identify pain points, which will make the product work better for everyone! – Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle Rocket

8. If you don’t like something, explain why.

It’s important for the end-users to provide honest feedback on new technology. The best feedback includes “why” users don’t like some element of new technology and how it could be better. The second part is the most important. Saying “This new workflow adds these four unnecessary steps” is much more useful than “I don’t like it.” – Saryu Nayyar, Gurucul

9. Ensure someone understands both sides of the process.

What breaks your workflow, and how? What is your process that ties into the technology? If the overall workflow doesn’t make any sense, then people will struggle with the whole process. Knowing the context is as important as the technical process. Make sure someone is available who understands the process on both ends, or else nothing will make sense by the time it gets back to the devs. – Tim Conkle, The 20

10. Clarify what you expect.

Usability is the pursuit of expectation meeting reality. To that end, a user’s feedback is most useful when it clarifies what they expect rather than what they experience. – Pierce Brantley, Cytracom

11. Request feedback as often as possible.

As we all know, the development process never stops, so changes are inevitable when we talk about software. To be successful, you definitely need to track customers’ feedback at all times, as well as ask them to leave it as often as they can. Gathering it as frequently as possible is a sure way to understand what works and what doesn’t. – Daria Leshchenko, SupportYourApp Inc.

12. Think about how the new tech could boost your productivity.

Deploying new internal tech can be discouraging for some end-users, as it may yield their own “redundancy.” But internal users may opt to perceive such new tech as a new means to become more productive and less redundant. Thus, perceiving new technology from different productivity perspectives can encourage users to give productive and actionable feedback to IT teams. – Ahmad (Al) Fares, Celitech Inc.

13. Collect both qualitative and quantitative feedback.

Tech teams should collect both qualitative and quantitative feedback. There is only so much you can learn from a survey you send out to employees. Create a workplace environment where open feedback is built into the organizational culture. That way, people will feel more willing to share suggestions for improvement. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management

14. Hold an open forum and incentivize feedback.

An effective way to collect feedback on new tech is to hold an open forum discussing use cases and limitations. Let employees experiment with the tech for several days, then follow up with a survey. This will give actionable feedback and allows the team to iterate on the tech quickly. Pro tip: To encourage participation, incentivize employees with a reward once the survey is completed. – Abishek Surana Rajendra, Course Hero

15. Send screenshots and explain your reasoning.

I find screenshots and the user flow very informative when receiving feedback or bug reports. If they’re giving feedback, ask them to write down their reasoning. This one is tricky, but ask them to look at it from a regular user’s perspective. I call it tricky because it’s hard for an internal team to view things from an outside user’s eyes. – Vikram Joshi, pulsd

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