I’m writing 100 posts about product development and product management. For this challenge I take weekly cadence (ruined by war…), so you can expect a new post every week (or less). This is post #8.
I love product changelogs. When I explore a new product, I usually browse some use cases, explore a website, and then check the changelog to feel the pulse of the product.
💓 Changelog is a pulse of a product
Product pulse is very important. It reveals the passion behind the product and gives some hints about engineering culture and team performance. Best products have at least monthly changelogs, but I expect bi-weekly changelogs from the strong engineering teams. If I see changelog updates on a quarterly basis, it means that the product is stagnating right now.
🦄 Changelog helps to understand features value
When you start a feature you do not always think about how you will describe it to the users. In Fibery we have a “Public Announcement” field for every feature and the feature owner writes an explanatory text to present a feature to the users. This text is included in the changelog after the release.
I recommend doing it right after the feature kick-start. As a result, it forces feature owners to think about feature usefulness before implementation and it can affect the scope and behavior of the feature in some cases.
Use images for all important changes that can benefit from it. A screenshot + short text grab attention and explains changes much better than just text.
🧵 Changelog → Twitter thread
Twitter is a very good channel to communicate with your customers and get them updated about product progress. Every changelog is an opportunity to write a thread. Here is a thread I wrote for the recent Fibery update:
New week, new release. 🧵— Fibery 🧶 (@fibery_io) April 19, 2022
🔒 [experimental] New "My Space" section is visible to you only and hidden even from admins. You can put your Documents, Whiteboards and Views here and do whatever you want with them. 1/ pic.twitter.com/wdD6EFxD8Z
🐽 Tools are not so important
There are many tools you can use to write changelogs. In an ideal world, you just do it in your product management tool. Let’s say, if you run product management in Notion or in Fibery, you can do it right here. In this case, it is easier to collect all changes and even automate the process!
You can also use specialized tools, like AnnounceKit or HeadwayApp. They are very easy to start and use.
👻 Free SEO
Changelog posts can improve website volume and help to generate organic traffic. I don’t like many gray-zone SEO practices, like artificial links exchange and SEO-optimized articles, but this one is relevant for your users and almost free.
Make sure that changelog is hosted on your domain.
☀️ Good changelogs examples
Here are several examples of good changelogs for inspiration:
Write product changelogs. It takes little time, but provides huge benefits.