How Ideas Work
If you are new to the Expensify “Ideas” process, let me share some insight!
The purpose of the Ideas category in the Expensify Community is to enable customers to outline problems and suggest potential solutions. It also allows the customer demand for those solutions to be gauged. While it is a ‘Wishlist’ of sorts, as the Idea suggester, we may need you to work with us going forward, be it adding use case info or explaining why existing solutions won’t work for you.
The popularity of an Idea is just one facet in the holistic process we use to determine whether a solution should be developed. We also look at the direction and bigger picture for where Expensify is going as a software solution.
The Ideas are reviewed to determine whether the issue cannot be solved using an existing feature or process.
- Initial review - if we don’t think that the Idea is viable or likely to fit with the overall ‘vision’ for Expensify, we’ll let you know, while leaving the Idea open for up to a year in case there is more demand than we expected. We want to ensure that Ideas can be discovered and voted on!
- Time and popularity - we look at how quickly the ‘votes’ increase and how many votes there are over any particular time period. We also take into account the volume of support queries related to the underlying issue.
- Internal review & research - we examine the underlying issue, whether a new solution is needed, and whether the suggested solution can be improved upon.
- Development - when we have determined that a solution is needed and what that solution is, we weigh up demand against development resources needed and urgency. Development of a new feature can take 3-6 months or longer, depending on whether there are development prerequisites or issues in testing.
- Closing Ideas - if an Idea neither fits with the vision, or there is not enough demand (including via our Support channels) we’ll close it down. This will make it easier for users to find and vote on current Ideas, and also see older Ideas which have not been as popular as they may have assumed.
This means that the Ideas process is not quick, but a considered process that influences product development. Not all Ideas will come to fruition, even if they have many votes.
What does a ‘good’ Idea look like?
Internally we use a Problem+Solution template, this works well for public Ideas also! We want to know not only what you ‘want’ but what you need and why. What problem is your Idea looking to solve?
Here’s a great guide to creating Ideas, which I recommend you read before creating your own.
We are big proponents of healthy debate, so we’ll often ask you to elaborate on why something is necessary or an existing solution doesn’t work - please don’t take it personally! Part of being a Success Coach at Expensify is being an advocate for the Ideas our customers have. In order to create a business case to have an Idea developed, we need as much supporting use case info as humanly possible.