If you’re responsible for feedback management, you’ll know just how chaotic things can get. Messy email chains. Conflicts galore. Missed deadlines.
You’ve got to have the organizational skills of a project manager (regardless of whether or not that’s your job title), the mediation skills of Gandhi, and the patience of a saint!
But with an effective feedback management process in place and the help of online proofing software, things become a whole lot easier. Review steps are clearly defined, feedback is transparent, and reviewers are held accountable.
In this guide I’ll walk you through the consequences of poor feedback management and the best practices that will transform your feedback management process. All that, plus the best software to help you get your creative projects reviewed and signed off in the most efficient way possible.
What is feedback management?
Feedback management is the process of collecting, analyzing, and implementing feedback with the goal of delivering the best work possible. This process is also called a feedback loop, or feedback cycle.
An effective feedback management process is structured, organized, and made more efficient with the help of feedback management tools.
Eight consequences of poor feedback management in the creative process
If any of the following points resonate with you (and trust me, I’ve been there), then it sounds like your feedback management needs an overhaul.
1. You have to constantly chase reviewers for feedback
Funnily enough, chasing and hassling weren’t part of your original job description. Yet you find yourself constantly chasing reviewers for feedback and missing important deadlines in the process.
2. You waste time consolidating feedback manually
You’ve got feedback coming at you from just about every angle. Email. Slack. WhatsApp. Paper airplanes chucked at you from across the office.
OK that last one might be a slight exaggeration, but with multiple stakeholders sending you feedback via multiple different avenues, things get confusing, and you waste far too much time making heads or tails of it all.
Surely things could be easier!
3. Important feedback gets lost in messy email chains
Your email request for feedback quickly descends into chaos, with some stakeholders replying to the group, some privately, and some in a brand new thread with a completely irrelevant subject line that makes it impossible to find.
Next thing you know you’ve got a 99-message-long email thread plus a handful of offshoots. It’s no surprise that important feedback gets lost in the mix.
4. Reviewers disagree with each other without noticing
You’ve eventually received feedback from your reviewers and worked your way through it all, only to find that it’s full of conflicting recommendations. Yet more time goes to waste while you work out who to listen to and how to move forward.
5. Discussing feedback takes days of back and forth
Without a clear and obvious list of changes to implement, you spend days going back and forth, discussing feedback with different stakeholders to make sure they’re all aligned before you can move on.
6. You have to guess which part of your work people are talking about
This is a particular pain when you’re getting feedback on visual content. It can be hard for reviewers to explain exactly what they want to say in an email, or even with words at all. And without context, how on earth are you supposed to know what they’re referring to?
7. Feedback keeps coming while you’re working on the next version
There you are, hard at work on the next version, when – BAM – in comes some long-overdue feedback on an older version. You’ve spent hours consolidating feedback and sorting out conflicts, so the last thing you need is for yet another spanner to be thrown in the works.
8. Versions and review rounds spiral out of control
When you’re creating multiple versions of the same file and sharing them at different stages of the feedback process, it can get confusing. Not just for you, but for your review team too. One missed email and chaos descends, with some wondering which is the latest version and giving feedback on outdated documents, and others making copies, editing the content directly, and sharing it with the team as if your version never existed.
Five best practices to instantly improve your feedback management process
I feel your pain. But rather than dwell on the bad stuff, let’s jump straight into how you can instantly improve your feedback management process.
1. Invite all relevant reviewers to give feedback in the same place
Save yourself the time and stress of collating feedback from email chains, Slack threads, and who knows where else by collecting feedback all in one place.
With Filestage, your reviewers can add comments and annotations right alongside your document. Everyone in the review step will be able to see their feedback and discuss it there and then, ironing out any disputes so that you know exactly how to progress.
2. Define clear review steps that involve all the right people from the start
Review steps help you to clearly define who needs to give feedback at each stage of the process. By working out exactly who needs to be involved upfront, you’ll avoid having people join the process late only to confuse everything.
You can invite different stakeholders to each review step. For example, one step might include the marketing team, while another might include the legal team. This helps to keep discussions focused on specific topics.
3. Use annotations and highlights to keep feedback in context
Goodbye screenshots! See ya long-winded descriptions!
With Filestage, reviewers can use annotation tools to highlight, strike through, add shapes and emojis, and even draw freehand directly on top of your content.
And for video content, reviewers can simply click and comment, and their feedback will be attached to that timecode. Simply click on their comment and you’ll jump to that frame in the video.
4. Draw a clear line between versions so people know when to stop giving feedback
In Filestage, you can stop late-to-the-game reviewers from swooping in with extra feedback by disabling comments on a particular file. Your review team still has access to the file and all the previous comments, but they can’t add anything extra.
Which means you can get on with implementing feedback in peace.
5. Set clear feedback deadlines to make reviewers accountable
Setting deadlines for every step in the process helps your reviewers to prioritize, which keeps your project moving forward.
With Filestage, you can add due dates to each of your files, and little status indicators in your dashboard show who still needs to review or approve your document. That way, it’s easy to hold them accountable. And as the due date gets closer, your reviewers will get automated reminders to bring this task to the forefront of their mind.
The best feedback management software for creative projects
Here are the three best feedback tools to help you manage feedback on your creative projects.
Filestage – best enterprise feedback management system
Filestage is a feedback management system that helps you collect feedback on your creative projects from your teammates and other internal and external stakeholders, all in one place.
From sharing to sign-off, it makes the entire process faster, more streamlined, and less stressful. For you, and for your reviewers too!
- Due dates to keep your projects on track and help you meet deadlines
- In-context comments for clear feedback that shows up in real time
- Visual annotations to bring comments to life and make it clear what needs changing
- To-do lists to give your team a clear picture of what needs amending
- Version history to help you keep track what’s changed
- Review steps to get files approved by the right people at the right stage of the process
- Project dashboards to help you keep track of who you’re still waiting to hear from
- Integrations with Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more
- Automations reduce manual tasks and speed up content reviews
Approval Studio is a feedback tool built specifically for design teams, especially those that work with external teams and clients. The feedback management tool helps creative teams to gather feedback on artwork and designs, keep track of changes and versions, and compare iterations.
- Real-time communication with clients
- Four compare modes to check different versions and edits side by side
- Dashboard to keep track of the status of projects and tasks
Frame.io is specifically designed for video feedback management. It allows you to share videos with teammates and reviewers, collect their feedback, and collaborate as you implement amends.
- Pause videos, add comments, and draw annotations
- Discuss feedback in the comments section before sharing the next version
- Compare versions side by side to see what’s changed
- Integrations for Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Final Cut
The best customer feedback management platforms
And here are the three best platforms for collecting and managing customer feedback on your projects.
Typeform specializes in online form building and surveys. The platform is known for its beautiful, conversational, and user-friendly forms that help you to see what your customers think about a specific design or project.
- Create forms, surveys, quizzes, and more
- Incorporate different types of media to bring questions to life
- Get a shareable report in a couple of clicks, or sync responses to your favorite tools
SurveyMonkey is another powerful survey tool that gives you the power to collect customer data from survey respondents worldwide.
- Create attractive and branded surveys quickly
- Share those surveys rapidly and easily with a single link
- Create rules to analyze data and decide next steps for your creative project
If you already use the G Suite, then Google Forms is a great choice. It’s a simple online survey tool that makes it easy for you to collect feedback via surveys quickly, and in style.
- Choose from a large set of curated themes and incorporate your own branding
- Collect and sort through data in an intuitive way with charts and automatic summaries, or open the raw data for deeper analysis
With some tweaks to your feedback management process and the right software, collecting, analyzing, and implementing feedback on your creative projects is a breeze.
If you’d like to see for yourself how Filestage could help you with feedback management, start a free trial →