How Quoter’s Senior Product Manager Decides What Features To Build Next
You might be wondering: how, exactly, does a quoting software company decide what to build?
At Quoter, these decisions come together through Dragon’s-Den-esque pitching, ongoing collaboration with MSPs, and steadfast alignment with the platform’s sweet spot: easy-to-learn, easy-to-use, lightning-fast quoting.
It’s a process carried out with sensitivity to the value of time spent. As Ash Welsh, Senior Product Manager at Quoter, says, new features represent an investment in development hours.
Alignment with the MSP customer profile provides focus.
“When we’re looking at our growth, we’re also looking at the growth of the MSPs,” says Ash. “What do they need today? What do they need tomorrow, six months, and a year from now?”
Ash doesn’t have a crystal ball, but he has the next best thing: ongoing conversations with Quoter partners in the MSP space.
“I really like those touchpoints, chatting with partners, getting to know how they’re using Quoter,” Ash says. “I make myself available through Calendly. Any partner can book time with me within 5-10 business days.”
The magic happens when conversations spark innovation, from manager approvals to electronic quote acceptance. But that’s just the beginning. Let’s go behind the scenes with Ash and learn more about feature development at Quoter.
How Ash Decides What Quoter Features to Build Next
Consider 3 Core Quoting Needs of MSPs
Ash has been immersed in the goals and challenges of MSP quote-to-cash since he began working at Quoter in early 2022. He says quoting activities fall into three buckets:
🚧 A. Project work
🔁 B. Recurring service work
💻 C. Hardware
“When we look at product development, those are three areas that we ask ourselves, ‘How well are we servicing that need?’” Ash says.
Measuring new ideas against the three core quoting needs helps guide decision-making.
“The more time we can save MSPs, the more value we can bring in,” says Ash.
Pump Up Quoter’s Strengths
In product development, it’s easy to get distracted by exciting ideas that may not be well aligned with the solution’s focus.
That’s why Ash keeps his eye on Quoter’s strengths.
“We already know we care about speed, and we have an efficient product,” he says.
“So now it’s about honing in more on maintaining that and ensuring we don’t go too broad. We want to keep the focus. We want to stay in that sales cycle of the MSP, but doing so in a way that allows us to help them even more.”
Take Feedback From Partners
When there’s a temptation to try something radical, Ash has MSP partners in the conversation to see if it’s beneficial from their perspective.
“We have several MSPs that we have good relationships with, and they give us feedback on our direction and things we’re considering,” he says.
“So even if we are dipping our toe into that pool of something that might be very innovative, very different, and really trend or market setting, we’ll run it by some MSPs, too.”
Present The Case
Quoter’s development team is divided into three squads that work in staggered six-week project cycles. The work design comes from Basecamp’s project management methodology, Shape Up, which allows for variable scope. Every two weeks, Ash pitches Quoter’s co-founders, Mike Walsh and Mike Polga, 5-6 features. Discussion ensues and the features are weighted based on Partner value, timing, strategy, and progress toward annual goals. Democratic anonymous voting helps make the decision and once selected, the development squad is responsible for shipping the feature by the end of their next cycle.
Pitching takes planning. Ash works to bring enough detail to the meeting so that it’s easy to assess the value of the proposed features.
“We have a very democratic system where we vote anonymously,” Ash says. After the vote, it’s time to get to work or return to the drawing board.
Go Full-On Shark Tank
In the spirit of your favorite entrepreneurial reality TV shows (and inclusivity and transparency), everyone on the Quoter team is invited to bring ideas to the betting table.
“There’s the fun Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank approach where you get in front of the company owners with your idea, and you can present it,” Ash says.
While anyone on the team can present an idea, those who do need to come prepared with a business case behind it. This goes back to Ash’s measurement of features as investments in developer time. If the idea has a meaningful impact on MSPs, it’s a bet with good odds.
Allowing the whole team to pitch pulls in a range of perspectives on the MSP customer profile and, as Ash says, “makes people feel like they’re part of the approach, the process, and ultimately, part of the product.”
[Editor’s note: Never miss another Quoter feature launch again. Follow Quoter on LinkedIn for the latest updates on new features, quote-to-cash advice, and affiliate opportunities]
Stay The Course
Once the feature set for a development cycle has been approved, the next challenge is overcoming the hurdles in shipping that value.
Ash gets involved in ad-hoc meetings to address roadblocks and collaborates with the squad to identify options for the way forward.
“Much of my day is meeting with our squads and making sure they have everything they need and that they’re not blocked,” Ash says.
“Ultimately, we all win when they’re able to deliver value in that fixed time cycle.”
Get in on the wins.
Book your demo to see how easy it is to quote better and faster with Quoter.
More about Ash, Senior Product Manager at Quoter
Currently consuming: tech & science startup financials
“A hobby of mine is investing. I spend a lot of time going through financials and learning about tech companies and science and R&D. Any time I have for consuming content, it’s learning what’s going on in the cutting edge of science and technology.”
[Editor’s note: What’s currently on Ash’s radar? Advancements in battery technology, particularly for use in medical science.]
Currently optimistic about: AI (and just about everything else)
“I see AI as a tool. I don’t see it as something that will snowball into a huge problem for humanity. But I’m just an optimist; that’s who I am. You could talk to me about almost any topic, and I’d find the silver lining.”
Editor’s note: How will OpenAI change the MSP market? Share your predictions with us on LinkedIn.
Currently (and always) making time for family
“I have a four-year-old daughter, and our second child is due in two months. As a family, we make time to get out for different experiences around Vancouver on the weekends.”
Editor’s note: Ash also makes time for mountain biking with friends in Squamish and (more chill) bike rides with his wife and daughter down to the Lonsdale Quay or Ambleside Beach.
Read more from this series
- Quoter’s Partner Success Specialist Shares Her Tips For Fast & Easy Onboarding
- Advice for MSPs From Quoter’s Sales Manager Jan Karlo Manuel
- How To Bring Humanness Back Into Your Quote-To-Cash Cycle, With Tips From Quoter Account Executive Foster Fong
- Co-founder story (coming soon)
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