The new feature portal
Since Mathias Kettner founded Checkmk, it has been a customer-driven company. Many features, even components, were designed to address specific problems of our customers. And for all these years, customers with a support contract with us could open feature requests for Checkmk.
We want to evolve this further as the current process did not scale with our growth in customers. We receive many hundreds of feature requests in our ticket system per year, with the understandable expectation to receive feedback, an implementation estimate and, finally, an implementation. We, however, cannot fulfill nor adequately process that number of requests and over time this leads to dissatisfaction.
As a result, we are shifting to a process, which focuses more on bringing in the most important customer ideas with a lot of community involvement, rather than on a bilateral customer-checkmk interaction regarding a specific request. Our approach here is to implement a publicly available feature voting portal. This allows all customers and users to see currently requested features from all other customers and users and vote for them. Benefits of this approach are:
- Visibility of all product enhancement requests from Checkmk users
- Voting will highlight the requests, which provides value to most customers
- Feature ideas can be discussed and enhanced between different users and our product management in public using the comments feature to ensure it addresses the needs of a heterogeneous set of customers
Top voted features have no guarantee of being implemented as we need to consider other dimensions, such as implementation effort in the decision. However, they are a key input in our roadmap discussions.
We will launch the feature portal with the Checkmk Conference #8.
For our support customers, we will migrate all feature requests that are not checks & agents features in a sanitized form from our ticket system into this portal. After the migration checkmk will stop accepting requests via the service desk.
The same will happen for features requested in the respective forum
Checks & agents feature requests can still be opened by our customers in the ticket system. We will provide a swift answer whether we implement a specific checks & agent request ourselves or refer you to one of our support partners for a custom implementation.
User of our raw edition our commercial customers without support can also use the feature voting portal to suggest specific check & agents features.
Questions and Answers
Q: Will all feature requests be handled the same way?
A: For the most part, yes. For checks & agents enhancements we keep our current process, but might defer some requests to the feature voting system to get feedback from the community
Q: Can I continue to use JSD to raise my feature requests?
A: We want to have one public visible feature portal and therefore will disable that feature requests for improvements, which are not Checks & Agents can be added to JSD. In the transition phase, your request might get rejected, and you will be redirected to the feature portal
Q: In the past, I paid for features to be implemented. How is this done in the new process?
A: checkmk will not charge for the features selected from the feature portal
Q: How will I get notified about the implementation state of a request?
A: The feature portal will always show the latest state of a request. From “under consideration” to “planned” to “done”. You will get email notifications, if you allow this while posting your request
Q: I raised a request or wrote a comment, but I cannot see it?
A: All requests need to be approved before becoming publicly visible. This is the way to block spamming of the feature portal. We do this twice per week. Just come back in 2 days and your request will be public
Q: Can you enter the feature requests, I mailed you?
A: Although we technically could, this is not the recommended way of using the feature portal. If you enter the request yourself, you get automatic notifications about other user’s feedback or status change
Q: Where is the data stored and processed. Is the system GDPR-compliant?
A: We have selected an EU based SaaS solution for this. You can read the GDPR policy of this company here: https://featureupvote.com/gdpr/
Q: My feature request requires sharing company sensitive data. How should I handle this?
A: This is the only case, which still qualifies to use JSD. We will evaluate your request and might either generalize it for posting in the feature portal or continue to handle it as a JSD ticket. This is expected to be an edge case.
Q: Can I add feature requests in any other language than English?
A: Of course you can. We recommend English, as this gives your request the opportunity to be read and understood by all customers and therefore the likelihood to get votes is higher
Q: What happens with the forum’s feedback channel
A: The feedback/product ideas channel in the forum will be discontinued and all open topics migrated