CMAP is a slick, well-oiled piece of kit, even if we do say so ourselves. We could easily take credit for all the great ideas that have contributed to CMAP's success, but in reality many of them have come directly from our clients.

The Ideas Forum on the CMAP Community is a dedicated area where CMAP Software customers can suggest new functionality, enhancements, workflows - absolutely anything that could help improve CMAP's user experience!

When you add your idea, all CMAP users can view it. And, if they like your idea, they can vote for it and help turn it into a reality.

You can return the favour too, browsing ideas suggested by other users and voting for the ones you'd like to see developed & built into the product.

We review the Ideas Forum regularly, plucking out the most popular ideas to build into CMAP. So it pays to participate!

Every CMAP user is given 20 votes on the forum. You can add up to 3 of your votes to add a bit of extra clout to a certain idea you really like, or you could spread your votes across 20 different ideas.

So without further ado, let's get into Ideas Forum 101...

How do I find the Ideas Forum?

You get there by clicking the orange "CMAP Community" link in the CMAP app. Once you're in, you'll see the Ideas Forum at the top of the page.

How do I add an idea?

Please check existing posts to see if your idea has already been suggested by someone else. There's a good chance we're already talking about the idea, or another customer has made the same suggestion.

If your idea is unique to the others, then go ahead and add your new idea to the forum.

CMAP ideas forum enables CMAP clients to help us develop & improve our project  management software for professional services

Here's our best practice tips to help make sure your idea:

(a) catches the eye and (b) gets voted for!

Step 1. Give your idea a snappy, clear and descriptive title. You want to strike the balance between providing too much information (no one will read an essay) or something that's so lacking in content it's little more than a cryptic clue.

For example, "iPhone" doesn't go anywhere near far enough.

Whereas, "I have an iPhone 6 Plus and I think it would be really good to have an iOS app that allows me to fill in my timesheet and capture expense items on the move maybe using the camera on my iPhone to take a picture of the receipt on my iPhone using my iPhone" - and breathe! - goes too far the other way.

What would be more appropriate is something like, "Timesheets & Expenses App for iPhone".

Step 2. Select a relevant "Category". Despite this being an optional field, it helps us spot trends. If we can see we're getting a lorry load of "Timesheets" related ideas, we'll be more likely to put more focus on this area. Also, if people are browsing the ideas forum, they can filter to just view the "Timesheets" related ideas and hey presto, your idea will appear like a shiny vote magnet.

Step 3. Enter a description that explains the reason behind your suggestion, your suggested solution, enhancement, etc.

For example, "I'm usually out onsite and rarely have access to use a desktop - therefore I rarely access the desktop version of CMAP. Having the ability to fill in my timesheet & expenses on my handset would be great, as this is the main platform I use for everything work related and I'd be more likely to keep on top of things."

It's much easier for us to address a suggestion if we clearly understand the context of the issue, the problem, and why it matters to you.

Step 4. Vote! That's right, you vote for your own idea. In order to suggest an idea, you therefore need a minimum of one vote in your vote bank. This encourages you to be wiser with your voting and idea suggestions and therefore makes the Ideas Forum a better place for everyone i.e. you're not having to trawl through a million-and-one ideas!

Step 5. Post your idea to the Ideas Forum, sit back and wait for the votes to (hopefully!) flood in.

How do I support ideas?

You should always check to see if your idea has been suggested before you add it. If you find a post that matches your idea, you can add a comment with details about your situation. So rather than have 5 scattered posts about the same issue, there's 1 post with 5 different voices on it to give it real clout.

When we review the ideas we're just as interested in the additional comments as we want to take a fully-informed decision. You can add comments even if you're out of votes.

And, you guessed it, you can of course vote for the idea if you think it would improve your life in CMAP.

How do I get votes back?

When you've used up your 20 votes you won't be able to vote for any other ideas. Maybe you’ve voted for a bunch of ideas, but want to change your votes around or support a cool new idea for a feature in CMAP.

When an idea you’ve voted for is marked with a closed status, your votes will be returned.

Often closed statuses are between an idea being Completed and are therefore being planned to be built it into CMAP, or they are Declined.

Even when an idea is closed and your votes are returned, the idea will still retain its vote count. So don’t worry, you did get your votes back.

If you don’t want to wait for an idea to close, or need more votes to create one of your own, you can simply redistribute your votes.

1. Log in to your profile.
2. Underneath your username in the top right corner, click Settings.
3. Click on My Ideas and you’ll see a list of all the suggestions you’ve voted for. 
4. The blue Vote button shows how many times you've voted for each idea. Click on the button to change the number of votes or remove your vote altogether.

What do the the statuses mean?

Under Review - The idea hasn't been declined and is awaiting further votes to add support
Planned - The idea has been approved and has been factored into appropriate development sprint
Started - The idea is getting built in the current development sprint
Completed - The idea has been built and is now live in CMAP
Declined - The idea will not be pursued by the CMAP Team 

How do the CMAP Team decide which ideas to build?

This is typically a combination of two things (1) the number votes the idea has received and (2) how widespread the support is.

For example, one idea may have 50 votes - but that might be 50 votes from people at the same company. Likewise, another idea may have 20 votes - but from 20 voters at different companies. In this example, the idea with the fewer votes will be approved since it's actually more popular across the client base.

This is why it pays to vote for ideas you agree with, and not just ones posted by your colleagues!

Why has my idea been closed?

If we left the Ideas Forum unattended, it would very quickly grow out of control and dilute your experience. We routinely close ideas that have not received sufficient support. We're not too cut throat, but if your idea has been posted for a year and has received fewer than 5 votes, we will update the status to "declined".

This makes sure we have a more manageable, more relevant list of ideas, and you get your votes back too!

Keep checking back here to view the latest feature updates to CMAP. The CMAP Community has been updated a fair bit since this post was first published, click here to visit the new CMAP Community.