How Ducalis Can Enhance Your Linear Experience
Linear is one of the most notable software products, known for its signature opinionated approach. Its iconic SaaS product landing page design has inspired many startups, and the "Linear method" for managing the development cycle has helped many startups revamp their workflows.
Let’s dive into the Linear Method and explain how Ducalis makes your Linear experience more efficient.
Set team direction and Prioritize for impact
Setting direction is one of the most important things you’ll do when building a product and company. A clear direction aligns everyone to work toward the same goals. It helps individuals make daily decisions, teams prioritize projects and all members of your organization feel motivated toward a shared purpose. [Linear Method]
However, keeping all the details, OKRs, goals, main metrics, and success criteria in mind while performing daily work can be challenging.
With Ducalis, you can transform your goals into evaluation criteria. This approach will help "train the mind" to think about every task regarding goals and you'll witness the magic of your team's Shared Understanding.
The easy-to-evaluate UI allows your teammates to pass each of your backlog items.
Prioritize enablers and blockers
It’s really important to learn to prioritize work well and to be able to explain clearly why you did or did not prioritize something. You don’t have unlimited resources or time, especially in the earlier stages of building a company, so you must use it well. [Linear Method]
Linear has a common Priority field, which includes four options. The main issues with it are:
Run cross-functional teams
Designers and engineers should work together on projects, creating a natural push and pull. Designers bring their skills to explore ideas and push your team's thinking. Engineers can challenge thinking around implementation and will bring the winning ideas to reality. Directly loop in other teams when building features they'll use or ask customers they interact with to use. [Linear Method]
Creating a prioritization routine allows each team member to focus on the main goal through each backlog item.
Ducalis offers a customizable prioritization framework that allows you to create specific criteria for each team member's role to evaluate from their perspective.
For example, you can include criteria such as back-end effort, front-end story points, UX time, and support questions instead of just a general effort metric.
Scope issues to be as small as possible
It's hard to see visible progress when working on large tasks, which can be demotivating. Break down work into smaller parts and create an issue for each one when possible. Ideally you can complete several concrete tasks each week. It feels great to mark issues as done. [Linear Method]
The main rule for any startup, regardless of stage and scale, is to achieve more with less by cutting through the clutter. By using more precise criteria for prioritizing value and effort, you can strike the right balance between issue size and the value it can bring to stakeholders.
With Ducalis collect different types of effort estimations from each team member, filter out large story points, and refine those issues into a few smaller ones or sometimes simply remove them from your backlog.
Keep a manageable backlog
You don't need to save every feature request or piece of feedback. Important ones will resurface and low priority ones will never get fixed. A more focused backlog makes it easier and faster to plan cycles, and ensures the work will actually get done. [Linear Method]
Backlog grooming is a useful practice, but many product teams don't have enough time for it. If something with high priority stays in your backlog for more than 5 or 10 cycles, it's a signal to update its priority. Creating a prioritization routine and setting score expirations allows your team to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate backlog items.
Build in public
It might feel dangerous to show what you’re building but often it’s more useful. If anything, your competition might be discouraged by your speed and either forced to copy you or avoid copying you. [Linear Method]
Managing a public roadmap can be quite time-consuming, with the need to write plans, update statuses, and craft changelog posts.
Ducalis provides a solution: use Public Roadmap Tool, which is linked to your backlog. You can manage the audience of your public roadmap in several ways, such as opening it to all internet users, requiring authorization, or limiting access to only your existing user segment. To generate ideas for your public roadmap, consider using AI-powered rewriting tools.
Incorporate the feedback
…and let it refine your product, but don’t let user feedback alone dictate what you build. You can become too reactive to user feedback. This is why it’s good to have goals and roadmaps, that help you balance the needs of the users and the needs of the company. [Linear Method]
Build with users
Understand that users will project their needs from the context or product they currently see, not the product that you’re trying to build. It’s common for users to ask for features you should add. Whenever they do, it’s important as a product builder that you ask them questions back. What is the use case? What is the problem they’re trying to solve with this feature or solution? How would their experience of the product be different if the problem was fixed? [Linear Method]
With Ducalis Voting SDK, you can pre-authorize your existing product users with their credentials. It works as a single sign-on (SSO) to eliminate the unnecessary sign-in feedback step. You will also know if each voter is currently using your product or not.
Understand your users
The more popular your product, the more feedback you'll get. Overflowing inboxes are a good sign unless they're bug reports. Don’t worry too much about organizing all the feedback. Collect it and use it as a research library when developing new features. Try to spot trends. Use feedback, even complaints, as an opportunity to get to know your users and ask them to explain why they want a specific feature so you find out their needs. Solve the problem – don’t just build the feature. [Linear Method]
Build for the right users
You may also talk to users who have a lot of feedback but who aren’t in your target demographic or aren’t it now. If you think you are building for things for early-stage startups, listening to an enterprise customer will likely set you on the wrong path and it’s unlikely that they will even become a customer. [Linear Method]
By linking voter properties and requests with backlog issues, you can segment your backlog plans by the source of the request. This enables you to answer questions such as:
What are our new free users demanding?
What is the most upvoted request by enterprise customers?
What should we do for the European users?
What backlog issues should we plan for our startup customers?
Write a changelog
It’s important to look back and celebrate what you achieved as a team. Consistent changelogs also communicate to the user new features, the value they get from your product, and your commitment to improving it. It's also an easy way to connect your team's individual work to the collective value they create. [Linear Method]
Ducalis can generate an auto-digest of public roadmap updates. Enabling this feature ensures that you always have a pre-generated update of new features. You can share your work in progress and engage your users by keeping them informed about what you are working on.
Say no to busy work
Using async prioritization techniques can save your team up to 90% of discussion time on what to do next and why. Additionally, implementing feedback, public roadmaps, and changelog automations can save dozens of hours in manual task updating and writing.
Invest in planning
Carve out meaningful time before your first meeting together to think through company goals and what parts of the product you want to improve most. Use your product intuition. Review customer feedback and feature requests. It's also important to review company metrics such as sign up, activation, retention and revenue so you know how to make trade-offs between features and whether specific areas of the app should be prioritized higher than others. [Linear Method]
That’s a straightforward idea, but in a real life we are all overwhelmed with new tasks, ideas, urgent meetings and requests. Especially at current time of ‘that-meeting-could-be-an-email’ and widespread of a Zoom fatigue. Invest in planning meetings wisely.
Use Ducalis’ setting for creating a prioritization habit:
Set a comfortable evaluation sprint duration
Try Evaluation poker for asynchronous backlog estimation
Announce the moment of for score reveal
Discuss only controversial estimates for a team alignment report
Tune some Final Scores
Run a planning meeting based on the priority report