Product-Management-Software-Guide

Product Management Software – The Definition

 Product management software is a platform that enables product teams to manage different aspects of, or preferably, the entire lifecycle of building and delivering the product. From ideation all the way to product launch. It is enables linking the plan of the business with the problems and needs of customers using the software product. At the same time, it provides tools and visibility for the business to achieve its strategic goals and address customers’ issues and needs.

Product management is an organizational function, and methodology used to rapidly and effectively produce and enhance the products of a company. It allows product managers and their teams to gather new ideas and lay out concrete plans to turn the ideas into a finished product. Although product management is mainly for product managers and product teams, it also provides other divisions, including marketing and sales, with greater accountability and insight into product growth, profitability and market game plans.

In order to coordinate and execute product plans, product management teams need product management tools and solutions to manage this process and share insights with different stakeholders.

These tools provide a range of features ranging from roadmap functions, feedback tracking, ideas portal, prioritization, development progress, reporting, all the way to launch planning. As such product management tools have a range of features that facilitate these e.g. a way to prioritize features and what to build in order to identify where to concentrate the resources of a team on the most important tasks. Product management systems also offer resource allocation tools, product portfolio management, and agile workflows for development teams, such as sprint preparation, user testing, and bug tracking. Some product management software packages include collaboration features like chat or comment threads, in order to facilitate collaboration with stakeholders.

So, what qualifies as a product management software? How different is product management software than a project management software?

 

Product Management Tools and Modules

In order to qualify for inclusion in the category of Product Management software, a solution must:

  • Provide a way to collect and manage customer feedback
  • Enable users to prioritize ideas for increased organization and to backlog them
  • Offer roadmapping functionality to plan future features and communicate with stakeholders
  • Track progress in product development
  • Work with agile methods for better efficiency and completion of assignments
  • In particular, enabling and facilitating the product management throughout the full lifecycle.

 

Three Key Takeaways

It is not just about features and stories

Product managers manage all facets and aspects of their product to make sure it is, that including thinking about the user interface and the design, infrastructure and operation of their product engineering. Managers would also have to think about legal and financial issues, customer service, promotions and distribution of products. It doesn’t mean worrying about doing all those things. There are individuals and teams in your business committed to taking care of these subjects. Therefore, worrying means knowing these things, what the relationship with the product is and how each of these areas is influenced by the product.

Owning the whole product lifecycle

The second key takeaway is that product managers obligations and responsibilities take place during the product’s entire lifecycle. From market assessment, customer insights, through prioritization, building, launch, all the way to post-launch, feedback, and restarting the loop again.

Strategic alignment

The third point is the connection of the product to the company’s strategy, goals and how it helps it win in the market. This includes market dynamics, competitive analysis, strategic initiatives, goals, OKRs, and customer mandates. These drive the vision of the product.

 

Product Management Software Features & Capabilities

 

As explained above, Product management tools help with many aspects of building the product.

Product roadmapping

The Product Roadmap is a common source of truth that describes a product’s vision, course, goals and progress over time. It is an action plan that aligns the company with the short-and long-term objectives of the product and how they will be accomplished.

Although it’s popular for the Roadmap to show what you are creating, it’s just as important to show be able to point to the why. Roadmap elements should be specifically related to your product plan, and your Roadmap should be sensitive to shifts in customer feedback and competitive environment.

Product owners use the roadmaps to work with their teams to create a consensus about how the product can evolve and change over time. Agile teams turn to the Roadmap to keep everyone on the same page and create a context for their daily work and future course.

 

Who are Roadmaps for?

Roadmaps come in a number of different ways and represent a wide range of audiences:

Internal Roadmap for the Development Team

These Roadmaps can be created in a variety of ways, depending on how the team wants to function. Some common versions provide information on the priority value of the customer to be delivered, target release dates and milestones. Because many development teams use agile methodologies, these roadmaps are also structured by sprints, displaying specific pieces of work and problem areas plotted on a timeline.

 

Internal Roadmap for Executives

These Roadmaps emphasize how the work of teams supports high-level organizational priorities and indicators. They are often grouped by month or quarter to demonstrate progress over time towards these goals, and usually provide less information on detailed development stories and tasks.

 

Internal Sales Roadmap

these Roadmaps concentrate on new features and customer advantages to help sales conversations. Important note: avoid using difficult dates in the sales roadmaps to avoid binding internal teams to potentially impossible dates.

 

External Roadmap

These Roadmaps are meant to excite consumers about what’s coming next. Make sure they’re visually pleasing and easy to read. They can have a high-level, generalized view of new functionality and prioritized problem areas in order to get consumers involved in the potential direction of the product.

 

Why build a product roadmap?

The main advantage of the Product Roadmap is the strategic vision it provides to all stakeholders. The Roadmap aligns wider product and business priorities with growth efforts that align teams with shared goals for developing successful products. For organizational leadership, the Roadmap offers information on the status of work and “translates” developer activities in Jira to non-technical terms and formats that are easily understood.

For product owners and managers, the Roadmap unifies teams working on high impact product improvements and helps them to communicate goals efficiently with neighboring teams.

For developers themselves, the Roadmap offers a clearer understanding of the big picture” that helps team members to concentrate on the most important tasks, avoid scope and make simple, autonomous decisions.

 

How am I going to create a product roadmap?

Product owners should consider business trajectories, customer value ideas, strategic priorities, and effort constraints to construct a roadmap. Once these considerations are known, the owner of the product will collaborate with his team to prioritize projects and epics on the Roadmap.

The quality of the Roadmap may rely on its audience-a Roadmap for the Development Team can cover just one product, while a Roadmap for Executives may cover several items. Depending on the size and nature of the company, different teams working on the same product can have a single roadmap. The external roadmap will also cover several items associated with a single point of focus or customer needs.

The most critical takeaway: build a roadmap that can be easily grasped by your audience. Providing too much or too little detail on the Roadmap can make it easy to skim over, or worse, too intimidating to read. A road map with just the right amount of detail and some visual appeal will allow the buy-in you need from key stakeholders.

 

Presentation of the Product Roadmap

The Product Roadmap requires buy-in from two main groups: the leadership team and the agile development team. Presenting the Roadmap is a perfect opportunity to show key stakeholders that you understand the strategic goals of the business, the needs of your customer, and have a strategy to satisfy all of them.

As you progress through the project, make sure you connect your team’s work back to the road map to create a sense. A tried-and-tested method: break down the initiatives into epics in the product backlog, then further decompose them into specifications and user stories. Establishing this problem hierarchy makes it easier for product owners and development teams to make decisions and understand how their work fits into the wider picture.

 

Use and refresh the Roadmap

As competitive environment changes, customer tastes adapt or planned features change, it is crucial to ensure that the product roadmap continues to represent both the status of current work and the long-term objectives.

The Roadmap should be updated as much as necessary-it may be every week or every fortnight-so that it can remain a true source of reality. As we’ve all learned at one time or another, a roadmap is counter-productive if it’s not up to date. You will know if your roadmap needs to be changed more often and your clients will start calling you for feedback instead of checking your roadmap. These one-off requests reflect a lack of faith in your roadmap and a massive potential time for sucking.

On the other hand, though, you do not want to spend more time reviewing the roadmap than is required to achieve harmony between stakeholders and within your team. Note, the Roadmap is a strategy method to think about how to create better items. If you spend time reviewing your Roadmap that you might (and should) spend on execution, think about changing your Roadmap Method to something simpler.

 

Good Practices for Best Roadmap

Building and managing product roadmaps is an ongoing task to be conducted for the team. There are a few easy ways to make yourself a success:

  • Just provide as much information as is appropriate for your audience
  • Keep the Roadmap equally based on short-term strategies and how they contribute to long-term objectives
  • Check the roadmaps on a regular basis and make changes as plans change
  • Make sure that everybody has access to the Roadmap (and checks it on a regular basis)
  • Stay linked to stakeholders at all levels to ensure alignment

 

Market plan development

Roadmaps inform market development, marketers have a saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, there’s a road to take you.” Without preparation and a sound strategy, how can you know where you’re going or what you need to do to get there?

 

Step 1: Set your business goals

Until you leap into strategy and implementation, the marketing team can ask the management team to identify their business objectives for the next 1-3 years. Your goals can be externally oriented, internally focused, or even a combination of both.

Write them in the SMART format to ensure transparency when establishing expectations (at or without a business level). SMART stands for Clear, Observable, Achievable, Practical and Time-bound and represents business objectives such as:

  • Increase product line sales by 30% to $2 million over the next 12 months.
  • Double sales from distributors for the next two years
  • Increase profitability from 25% to 30% by the end of the year.

Step 2: Create a SWOT and set your budget

In the end, you want marketing that ensures a constant flow of high-quality leads to help fuel new business opportunities and drive growth. You want your target markets and clients to be able to hear from you and not to be scared of it. And you’ve got a small budget and a tight bandwidth.

The way to accomplish all this is to use a smart marketing approach that builds a marketing strategy and implementation plan aligned with your company objectives and begins with:

A SWOT of your existing marketing campaign – strengths, drawbacks, opportunities and risks in terms of your competitive position, target markets, target demographics, current positioning/messaging, sophistication of your products, channel partners, etc.

Marketing capital and budget-the rule of thumb for marketing budgets is 6-to-12 per cent of gross sales, with higher costs in the early stages when you set up the marketing base.

Step 3: Identify your target persona

You probably know the profile of your most valuable prospects and the sales mechanism that your company uses to turn them from leads to opportunities for customers. However, as the business expands, you won’t know the particular circumstance of each prospect, and one message won’t work for everybody. You’re going to need to tailor the marketing strategy by creating buyer people.

Buyer Individuals are imaginary representations of your ideal customers based on demographic data, online actions, and your informed speculation regarding personal backgrounds, motives, and concerns.

The first step in developing your customer is to brainstorm who they might be. When you have your full list, find those that have similar needs or responsibilities and consider combining them. From here, prioritize your list of people by considering their effect on the final purchasing decision, their relationship with your company, and the size of the Persona Community audience. When you’ve done brainstorming, make up your actual people.

Step 4: Develop your marketing goals

Equipped with your business plan, areas of greatest potential, and established people, you are now ready to set your marketing goals. Goal setting is important for aligning your marketing department, narrowing your emphasis, and setting your overall marketing plan.

Documenting your expectations ensures that your team is aligned with your top marketing targets and what you plan to accomplish through your marketing activities. Your goals can be externally oriented, internally focused, or even a combination of both.

Write your priorities in a SMART format that helps ensure transparency. SMART means:

  • Explicitly
  • Observable
  • Feasible
  • Practical
  • Time-Back

For example, the marketing objective of SMART may be: “Increase by 15% the number of qualified leads to sales in the military market by Q4 2020.” Create at least three and not more than five marketing targets for SMART.

Step 5: Develop your campaign and build up your business plan.

Now that you’ve set your marketing targets and have a budget, you’re ready to implement your business plan. The most successful way to turn your marketing strategy into an execution plan is with the use of a campaign framework. You may think of campaigns as buckets of events that concentrate on a common theme or target.

With limited time and budget, a campaign strategy offers you a big picture before you get into the weeds on which new video you’re going to make, which white paper you’re going to write and promote, etc.

Campaigns are permitted to run the range of reach. They can be everything from major product releases to thought-provoking leadership in a specific market to rising web traffic and leads.

 

Resource allocation

Resource allocation lets you select the best available resources for your projects and handle them during your job, so that you can prevent under-or over-use of your staff. Unfortunately, not all project managers use it to their benefit.

 

How are we supposed to know that?

Just 26% of organizations still use resource management to estimate and assign capital, and 36% of them frequently do so according to last year’s PMI survey.

Around the same time, fewer than 60 per cent of projects meet the original budget and only 50 per cent of them are finished on time, according to the same report.

If that is the case with you or your business, you should certainly learn more about resource allocation and resource planning. In particular, as reported in the same report, resource dependency, inadequate forecasting of resources and limited resources account for many projects’ failures.

 

Definition of resource allocation

The allocation of resources—part art, part science, as some call it—recognizes the best available resources for the project, assigns them to your team and tracks their workload throughout the work, and re-assigns resources if necessary.

In project management, the allocation of resources or the management of resources shall be the scheduling of the activities and the resources needed by those activities, taking into account both the availability of resources and the time of the project.

 

Common problems in the allocation of resources

Resource management is vulnerable to a variety of problems that you need to be conscious of in order to efficiently assign resources and handle them during the project.

 

1. Changes to the client

As a project manager, you might have already encountered how changes in scope, schedule or budget could impact the execution of the project. For resource allocation, it’s actually the same – keeping an up-to-date resource calendar can help you adjust resources smoothly once adjustments are made.

 

2. Resource availability

Starting with a new project, you should hopefully use any tools you need that are available to your business. But what if your department is running several projects and you have to negotiate the same services with other PMs? Or what if a member of the team is out on their sick leave? Changes in availability and you need to keep track of it all the time to identify risks to the execution of your project.

 

3. Dependency of the project

Allocating resources, you need to include project dependencies that are a form of partnership between the tasks or activities of the project. For example, in IT projects, there are tasks that can only be performed after some others have been completed, so there is no point in hog resources early on.

 

4. Uncertainties of the project

Even if you have checked all the boxes before beginning a project, settled on schedule, budget and scope, there are still stuff you can’t foresee. Resource management needs you to be prepared to react to project uncertainties, e.g., through transferring or reassigning resources from other projects.

 

5. Corporate objectives around the company

If your organization performs several projects concurrently, you and your colleagues will have to share scarce resources, sometimes within a similar timeframe. But even though you manage to negotiate the money you will need, there might be a shift in the goals for one of the projects.

 

Product Data Analysis

Companies use product analytics to assess their users and enhance their customer experience. Analytics makes it easier for users to monitor because it automates data collection and management. Brand leaders, designers and developers use this data to direct their decisions and their results show that businesses that rely on product analysis are much more successful than their peers.

 

Why are businesses using product analytics?

Product analytics helps businesses to truly understand how consumers communicate with what they are creating. It is particularly useful for technology products where teams can track users’ digital footprints step-by-step to see what they like or don’t like and what leads them to engage, return, or churn. Analytics is a vital aspect of modern product management, since most applications and websites are not designed to generate comprehensive reports on their own. Without analytics, the data they collect is always inaccurate and poorly formatted (known as unstructured data). Product analysis makes this data usable again by combining all data sources into a single organized view.

 

Why is product analytics important?

Product research tells marketers what their customers actually want, not just what they think they do. These are known as exposed habits, and they are highly revealing. Users are not very adept at predicting their own future (consider every new year resolution) and having analytics helps product teams to dig deeper than human error-prone surveys and user interviews. Hyper-detailed data contributes to more profitable choices. According to McKinsey, “Companies that make full use of customer analytics report outstripping their competition in terms of profit almost twice as often as companies that do not.” To see these returns, companies must learn how to use their product analytics.

 

How to use the product analysis

All product analytics systems are designed around two main functions that help businesses address customer questions:

  • Tracking data: documentation of visits, activities and actions
  • Data analysis: Presentation of data by dashboards and reports

With data that has been monitored, captured and structured, businesses are free to ask questions such as:

  • What are the demographics of our users?
  • What is the usual behavioral flow of users through our web or app?
  • What are the opportunities we have to minimize churn?

And more than that. The responses they receive are followed by statistically relevant evidence on which to base marketing and product decisions. Popular objectives for product analysis:

  • Improve retention of product
  • Segment of the most successful consumers
  • Decide where to spend your marketing dollars
  • Understand how people use the web or app
  • Uncover the pressure points of the customer
  • Reduce churn

From there, teams usually graduate to confirm or disprove theories such as “Does adding a pop-up raise subscribers by more than 30%? “Or by adding icons, can consumers find what they’re searching for 20 percent faster? “Over time, teams develop a repository of data-backed proof that enables constructive feedback loops to be generated. In other words, the more data teams get back from product analytics, the more they can iterate their marketing and product growth. More iteration leads to more results, more tests, and more progress in the virtuoso cycle. Products that come from this cycle also have a high degree of usability.

 

What tools are offered by product analytics?

The methods that teams currently use to explore insights differ from platform to platform. The following are the most common (and most useful) features. Popular features of product analysis:

  • Track users: Automatically track activities within your site or app.
  • User profile and segment: Find out who users are and segment them by device, time, country, and actions.
  • Submit alerts: connect with users and send notifications to the product team.
  • Display the Marketing Enclosure: View customer journeys and conversions.
  • A/B Test: Checking of messaging combinations or functionality.
  • Display dashboards: View data with template or custom reports.
  • Measure: Measure commitment by feature.

 

Product Management: The perfect way to become a product manager

One of the most difficult things is to be a product manager since there are no rules to apply or to read a guidebook. It’s all about practice, intuition, and collaboration. As long as you’re passionate about product management, you can start from any point in your career, from whatever field.

 

Practice

Practice is not about performing, but how much you fail at anything is all about it. Anyone can learn how to be a product manager, but it can only become great for those who practice it enough times. Training makes great after all! Practice develops habits. They become part of you once you grow a habit of doing those things. You learn all the ins and outs of certain duties, which is how “expertise” is created. An experience contributes to a powerful intuition.

 

Intuition

Your intuition, when it comes to product management, is your best mate. There’s no point in doing it if anything doesn’t feel right. You will often be presented with sudden circumstances that involve fast and critical decisions. This is when it comes to your intuition. It will allow you to “call at the right time the right shots.” You will learn how the dilemma can be identified and dive deeper into what pain needs to be solved. “But intuition is the one that’s going to help you say Yes, this is how to solve it. “This is how they’re going to fall in love with what we’re offering them.” And that kind of trust is what will guarantee the faith of your team in you.

 

Teamwork

Team, group. All is about the squad. You may be the best PM there is but if you don’t have the right squad, all of your super powers will be nullified. You may not be able to pick your team now, but you can certainly turn any group of individuals into the right group of individuals. It will certainly get the best out of your team members by using some emotional intelligence, charm, and tons of encouragement.

Anyone as long as they have the enthusiasm and the will to go the extra mile, can break into product management.

 

What is product management

 

The question: “What is product management?” It comes up very often, even from experienced people in industry. One theory is that product management covers a wide-ranging field of duties. Indeed, in different organizations, the job itself means many different things.

What is product management?” here is the most succinct explanation we’ve come up with. Question: Product management is the process of strategically driving a company’s products’ growth, market launch, and continuous support and improvement.

That is an abstract description of the function, of course. Then what is the product management? What does the work entail?

What is Product Management?

A broad range of strategic and operational activities are included in the day-to-day tasks. Not all of these roles are taken on by most product managers or product owners. At least some of them are owned by other teams or divisions in most businesses.

Yet the majority of product professionals spend much of their time focusing on the following:

Conducting Study: Research to gain awareness of the business, customer personas, and competitors of the company.

Strategy development: Shaping the awareness of the market that they have gained into a high-level strategic plan for their product, including priorities and goals, a broad description of the product itself, and maybe a rough timeline.

Communicating Plans: Using a product roadmap to establish a working business plan and present it to key stakeholders in their organization: executives, investors, their development team, etc. Throughout the production process and beyond, continuous collaboration across their cross-functional teams.

Coordinating Development: Assuming they have obtained a green light to move forward with the strategic plan of their product, coordinating to start implementing the plan with the appropriate departments, product marketing, development, etc.

Acting on Feedback and Data Analysis: Ultimately, learning through data analysis and direct feedback from customers, what works, what does not, and what to add, after developing, testing, and introducing the product to the marketplace. Working with the respective teams to integrate this input into possible product iterations.

 

Product Management Operations Optimization

Product managers have a variety of responsibilities that are often daunting. Time is a valuable asset. To perform the requisite discussions and meetings, they must be productive and coordinated, while also providing enough bandwidth to actually get any work done.

It can be a massive time-suck to make decisions and get internal consensus on those decisions. Product managers must find a scalable way to get to an agreement quickly in order to get through them all promptly. Clearly defined responsibilities and a coherent procedure enable the parties involved to concentrate on the issue at hand.

Another strategy for getting more done in less time is a divide-and-conquer approach. Recognizing the main strengths of everyone available, separating assignments and delegating stuff helps product managers to concentrate on what they do best while not neglecting something else that is relevant.

Product Managers may also borrow some valuable skills from their peers in project management. This means identifying and sticking to explicit scopes, cutting down on diversions and ratholes. It is also helpful to develop and communicate specific action plans to relevant colleagues to ensure that everyone knows what they are responsible for and understands the goals.

Even the scheduling of the day by product managers will lead to improved production and higher-quality work sessions. Product managers may cluster related activities together to maintain concentration and limit distractions by minimizing context switching.

This involves finding time to think strategically. When there are frequent interruptions, it’s hard to take a deep dive into a specific topic. For this important mission, product managers must invest time to create an atmosphere where they can focus.

 

5 Product Management Efficient Management Strategies

 

The most important factor for making any product more attractive in the market is effective product management.

From the concept of the idea, through the supply chain, sales funnel, and out to the customers, product management can involve several processes in a company, particularly if you are the entrepreneur and the only one in your business.

In order to produce greater production for the organization, the business management of any product can be in the form of offering services or solutions over the entire life cycle. The one who masters these life cycle procedures of every product is a good product manager. Both views on the priorities and recommendations of any product must be gathered and understood well before development.

It does not matter what sort of organization you are dealing with; it is imperative for product management. You need to have the right roadmap or strategy in every company to release the finished product to customers on time.

Here we send you a description of the role of efficient product management and associated product managers.

 

Defines duties and obligations for product managers

Every company must delegate definite roles and responsibilities to its product managers for successful product management. You can set up and plan for many product managements positions that are essential for the growth of your companies, but in order to be successful, these roles must be clearly established.

Engagement between product management and other functional areas

It is important to have better interaction with other functional areas for better management. You need to use non-defensive body language as a product manager and strive to position yourself at the level of the other employees.

You need to be more reasonable and analytical, but preserve your dignity as well. While product managers are responsible for the performance of the product, they often depend on the other functional areas for product fulfillment and involve marketing strategies.

The basic prerequisite in every decision-making process is to collect and strategically evaluate appropriate data. It is necessary to collect all customer-related data for successful product management and evaluate this data effectively before even jumping into the production of any product.

This stage has so many points to it that the how-to is linked with an enormous amount of knowledge. If this is your own business, then in a conventional business, some of the roles would be different than they would be.

As this client is the main focus in all parts of a company, the customer will be your main focus. You’re going to want to know precisely who your client is what they think, feel, say and do. What are your desires to be fulfilled? All this data you collect will potentially be what makes or breaks this company. All of this data collected into one whole will give you the precise idea of what to build to fulfill your organization’s demands.

 

De-escalate the Urgent Situation

When you may have to agree to differ, there will be some occasions. In order to de-escalate such circumstances, which will normally be the immediate case, you will be called upon to use proper techniques. You’re going to have to find out how to let someone do whatever they’ve been hired to do, and what they want to do, which may or may not be what you’ve been dreaming about.

Remembering that when all the feelings have been side-lined, it is easier to step away from a situation at times and revisit it later. Why does this task have to be fulfilled by a product manager? Well, product management is not just product management, it’s management and continuous negotiation with others.

 

Focus and follow through on outcomes

For your product, service, and for the people you manage, always strive to seek better options. Often, all that is required in a situation is to ask questions for clarity and more details, so the focus will return to finding the solutions you are working on. Check for workable or practical solutions for your employees as well as for your product or service development, and either way explain or analyze possible implications of behavior. For e.g., if our product works this way, what is the outcome or result, if our service does such and such, what is the effect on our business?

 

Enthusiastic and critical being

You have to be excited and inspired as a product manager. You have to have a confidence in your product. You will know the answer to the questions on how this product will satisfy the requirements of the consumer, and you will also know the answers to the advantages that your product will bring to its users.

You are the one who can make choices on whether your organization’s investment is worth this particular project. As a result of you getting a grasp on all facets of the product as the product manager, your decisions can be hard, but inspiring others will not be hard. The drive will become contagious if you can strive to be able to share your vision with your team, and your people can share the same feelings and excitement as you do.

Unfortunately, you can’t simply be a cheerleader. That would be so much more exciting. You will have to compromise between being naive and too positive as a product manager and being critical.

Never be too pleased with the performance of the product, always search for opportunities to pivot or add to the product more utility.

 

Coordination and Communication

The main mantra for the growth of every organization is that the greater collaboration and connectivity between product management and other business functional areas, the smoother the road to success that can flow through the company.

As all the organization’s functional areas begin to connect, then products start to achieve a new level of excellence.

 

Resources for Product Management: What should be included in the product stack?

 

When talking about tools for product managers, we typically apply to the few standard ones used every day by most product managers. Generally, these product management tools include software for product analytics, tools for progress monitoring, and software for roadmapping.

But the role of a product manager requires much more than collecting product feedback, monitoring the backlog, and updating the roadmap of the product. Whether you’re a new product manager or a seasoned PM only trying to ensure that a key component of your position is not lacking because you lack the right tool, a list of product management resources to help you succeed in your role is described below.

12 Tools to use in the software stack Product Management Tools

1. Tools for user tracking and analysis (such as Pendo and Amplitude)

These instruments can be invaluable sources of information and insight into how the consumers of your apps or visitors to your website actually communicate with your product and material.

Whereas customer surveys or interviews will tell you only what your customers say and think, product analytics systems capture and help you analyze what those customers actually do, which are useful tools in their own right.

If your business sells software or just keeps a lot of content on a website, the implementation of a service such as Pendo or EProduct will disclose important realities about what resonates with your customers and what does not.

 

2. Roadmapping Software (such as eProduct)

Roadmapping software is a must-have feature on every list of product management tools. Using any non-native roadmap program to draft and manage your product roadmap (such as spreadsheets or slide decks) will produce much more work, be much less versatile and easier to distribute, and be more vulnerable to version control problems that can delay the development of your product.

EProduct makes it easy to create and share beautiful project roadmaps for product teams. For communicating product strategy, a visual interactive roadmap is far more powerful and helps unite your team around the vision of the product.

3. Instruments for customer surveys (such as SurveyMonkey or Typeform)

What’s great about web-based survey tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform is that they have so many types of pre-formatted questions that, if you want to offer multiple-choice questions, drop-down lists or just open comment fields, you can put together a survey in minutes.

You can then submit the survey out to your clients and monitor and interpret the results easily.

These tools are extremely helpful for collecting fast responses to important user queries. But beware: online survey tools, like email, are so simple, easy and cheap that it can be tempting to overuse them. Use the surveys sparingly, so that your user base does not get offended.

4. Recording customer interview apps (such as GoToMeeting or Zoom)

When you talk to customers on the phone, even if you are only calling to answer a question, capturing the call is always a smart idea. Using a tool such as GoToMeeting or Zoom makes it simple to record and reference those conversations later. You never know when a customer is going to offer useful feedback, ask a question you realize many other customers are going to have or just share a novel with you why they’re using your product that you would not have thought of otherwise.

5. Analyst accounts of the sector (like Gartner or Sirius Decisions)

Here’s a tool you probably wouldn’t automatically think of as part of the stack of product management software, but you may want to consider it depending on your business and target customer.

Getting access to the collective industry reports and the latest thinking of the analysts covering your room can be immensely helpful in terms of directing your strategic thinking and helping you assess where your business is going. The statistics and reports these research firms (such as Gartner or Sirius Decisions) output will give you just the types of data you need to prioritize and earn stakeholder buy-in for particular themes and features on your product roadmap.

This will of course, be one of the most costly product management tools on this list, so you will need to use your persuasive powers (which you definitely have as a product manager) to persuade the management team of its worth.

6. Tools for team messaging (such as Slack or Confluence)

You would want a simple and immediate means of interacting as well as keeping an ongoing record of all interactions related to the initiative when your product creation, or any complicated and cross-functional initiative, gets underway.

Thankfully, there are several simple, cloud-based tools that allow for fast and centralized team communication of just this nature. A couple that come to mind are Slack and Atlassian’s Confluence.

7. Tools for Presentation (like PowerPoint or Keynote)

For roadmaps, we also find out how unreliable presentation tools are. But that doesn’t mean that PowerPoint or Keynote in your product management toolkit shouldn’t have a popular slot.

For communicating your high-level goals, visions, and plans through your company and to external audiences such as clients, presentation decks can be invaluable.

For example, vision decks can be a powerful means of communicating the vision of your product to a community of executive stakeholders and earning their buy-in. Presentations can also be a highly productive way of informing market experts about the product or performing sales preparation.

8. Tools to handle projects (such as Jira, Pivotal Tracker or Trello)

Today’s project management software, including the team communications tools we mentioned above, are much more comprehensive and offer a simpler way to track and record information.

For example, using a web app such as Trello, you can track and share different items with related team members by grouping these items into easy-to-view boards, such as “Sales Collateral in Progress” and then creating individual cards below, such as “Product Data Sheets” or “Case Studies.” These cards can be easily dragged and dropped under various boards, such as In Progress” to Under Re Studies.”

Microsoft Project, which is usually organized in Gantt chart format by teams, and Jira, which is mostly designed as a less visual problem-tracking method, are other common project management tools. And tools such as Pivotal Tracker will help you execute your plan and organize your backlog.

9. Tools for Feature Flagging (such as Split.io or LaunchDarkly)

Feature flags offer a convenient way for product teams to “turn on and off” particular features once code has been deployed to production. In a variety of scenarios, this comes in handy: managing a large feature launch, A/B checking, scaling back a new problematic feature.

Tools like Split.io and LaunchDarkly allow product teams to handle and make the most of their use of feature flags.

10. Session replay and heatmap tools (such as FullStory or Hotjar)

You spend a lot of time as a product manager trying to reach into your consumers’ minds and discover just what the experience of using your product is like for them. You can get insight into user actions like never before with tools such as FullStory and Hotjar.

By visually reflecting their on-site actions, Heatmap software lets you understand exactly what users on your site care about. As supplementary data for the product team, this perspective can be highly useful. A heatmap can give you plenty of data to make an informed product decision in combination with a variety of session replays and a few customer interviews.

11. Tools for Flowcharting (such as Visio)

Although flowchart and diagram applications are not used by all product managers, the affordability and ease of use of these tools make them a great way to perform a move that many PMs neglect but should not map customer journeys.

It is helpful to build a customer journey map to give you and your organization a better picture of your customer’s complete experience with your business. A travel map will display all the contact points a person has with your company from the first visit to your website (or the first call from one of your sales reps) through the purchase and use of your product when properly produced.

Journey maps can also concentrate directly on the full experience of using your product, such as installing and logging in to your tool from the first visit to the website, through completing an online form, to any interactions the user has with your sales representatives or other employees.

Flowcharting and diagramming applications such as Microsoft Visio and OmniGraffle, may be useful in mapping some particular aspects of the process or product experience of a customer. And since they provide a visual view of the workflow or experience, as opposed to just a list of steps your client can take, the flowcharts you generate from these tools will then help you discover insights into how your product roadmap can be strategically prioritized.

12. Tools for Idea-capture and collaboration (like Evernote OneNote or a Wiki)

Finally, don’t neglect the tools of business productivity to collect thoughts, review and exchange meeting notes, and organize your observations into coherent strategies to obtain support from stakeholders.

Here we think about concept-capturing tools such as Evernote, cloud-based collaboration apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and even paper and pen, because when your mobile is across the room, inspiration often hits!

 

Get your Product Management Tools budget

For product teams, who have historically not had any dedicated budget and seldom ask for anything financial other than authorizing travel expenditures or a new laptop, demanding budgets for a tool is still a relatively uncommon occurrence. So how can you successfully broach this subject with the executives holding the purse strings?

 

1. Make assumptions

When you have this method, paint a picture of how life will be easier because you are either more creative, more nimble, your clients are happy, you save the company cash or you boost time to market, you can start trying to measure those benefits.

For instance, using a requirements management tool saves the team 15 hours per week and decreases the risk that customer requests will fall through the cracks, reducing by one sprint the average processing time from customer feedback to feature deployed.

 

2. Power in figures

While an instrument that only supports product management is still useful, a much stronger argument can be made when other groups in the company can benefit from the instrument. This may be by direct use, meaning that this tool would not only be used by product management, but will also be used by customer service or engineering, or as an indirect advantage where another community will consume the production of the tool to make it more effective. In addition to helping more than the product management team, when it’s time to ask for cash, it also gives you another executive in your corner.

 

3. Acknowledge the choices

There are several manufacturers providing customized software solutions that meet your needs in most cases. And if you have already decided on a specific vendor, as part of your pitch, do your homework and include the other choices.

If you can’t get the full budget you were hoping for, you can illustrate why the option you’re sweet on is superior, whether it’s the features or the cost, and theoretically have a fallback strategy if there’s a cheaper, inferior alternative you could live with.

 

4. Try the free-trial process

If you have a free trial of the instrument you like, dive in and start using the product before you even broach the topic of the budget with the powers that be. Not only will you be able to prove that it’s the instrument you like, but when the trial is about to expire, you will even gather more data to improve the business case, and you can illustrate just how the team is using it.

 

5. Overcoming the awkward question

Customer teams are not accustomed to asking for a budget for instruments, but that does not mean that they are not deserved by the team. High-performing companies need resources and processes that help their portfolio development and expansion, so there’s no shame in asking for the appropriate budget to equip the team with tools that can make a real difference. Even if the funds are not immediately available, to get them in the future, you can at least start the discussion to draw up a dedicated product management tool budget for the next planning round.

 

What to Expect from a Product Manager?

 

Product management function is still in development and this role is all over the map. From the outside, product and product management can be confusing. So, to help understand the role of PMs and how it might impact their product management software usage, I put together this list of popular PM challenges.

 

1. Their days are highly frenetic.

As a PM, it is natural to go through the whole day and get absolutely nothing done. Your calendar is piled up. The sessions are reserved. There’s a lot of chat, but nothing really seems to have happened (outside of a bunch of new items for you to follow up on). You have two hundred unanswered emails in your inbox while your team is sitting there with significant concerns, Slack is firing off updates left and right, and you have a doctor’s appointment you have to get to at 4:30 pm (because you’ve missed your appointment three years in a row). It’s so frenetic.

For weeks, this may extend. You know you have to do the deep work-strategy context building, unraveling insights-but somehow everything takes a back seat to a mess of meetings, Google Docs, status reports, and the organization’s inertia usually gets caught up.

 

2. They can be torn about their role.

I talk to several PMs who confess privately that both of them love product management, and yet doubt that they are a good match for product management. The entrepreneurialism attracted others, only to find out that they had to spend all day playing defense and executing the bet of another guy. Some were drawn into the possibility of actually introducing new things” into the world, only to discover that it is super difficult to bring something successful into the world, and that most PM functions entail improving existing goods (and spending a good chunk of the day in meetings saying No). In order to be more hands-on, some wish they had tried UX or programming (or both). Don’t get me wrong… PMs “love their jobs as well, but there is a friction with the position that can be difficult to define.

 

3. They’re in the middle of a tornado.

Even a front-line’ PM (think Senior PM) will communicate with the CEO, clients, sales management, front-line developers, tech leadership, customer success, marketing, help, users, and business partners in a single week. The individuals on this list are almost definitely absent. One of the joys of the job is this range, but it can also be extremely difficult to navigate and master. Imagine having to alter meaning too often. Go big, you’re going to be asked for information. Offer info, and you’ll be asked for a 12 month roadmap by someone. You’re going to jump from one meeting of people freely discussing business strategies to another meeting where you are supposed to be the “product’s” sparkling, energetic face.

“You are somehow viewed as the gatekeeper for better (or worse, often the one who must be exploited to get something done”. That includes being the subject/target of social engineering, and people just working around you in seriously dysfunctional circumstances. In the meantime, you have a squad of enthusiastic manufacturers toiling away at things that you have prioritized. Maker-fierce It’s strain. They’ll let you know if they think you’re going in the wrong direction, either directly or indirectly (see #12 for more on this).

 

4. They are thrown into the deep end of the game,

Many junior PMs are thrown into the deep end (or folks transitioning to PM). “They are “assigned to a team, handed the old backlog, tasked with and set loose with “coming up with a new roadmap. Until you do, you are not trusted by people. But they doubt it too, when you do! Since everyone is so busy, and since PMs are supposed to be resourceful, you won’t see the amount of onboarding support and care you would see from an engineering organization. I have spoken to leaders who believe “sink-or-swim” is a legitimate way to separate the chaff from the wheat.” The challenges are enormous here. Imagine matching the junior PM with a group of seasoned manufacturers; they’re going to get eaten alive. Or… if everyone in the team is junior, they’re not going to get any support from the team, and they’re going to flounder. You’ve got a dilemma either way.

Not only is this relegated to less-experienced individuals. Recently, with almost no effort to help them develop connections and relationships around the company, I spoke with a Product Director who was given a huge challenge, “figuring out our platform strategy.” They were sink-or-swim. They found a massive gap in mutual understanding around the organ in three months, a gap that had to be close to doing his job, but the politics were too fierce to make headway.

 

5. They are supposed to exude confidence.

Even if things are unpredictable, PMs are supposed to be certain about dates (“you know…ballpark”), roadmaps, concerns, effects, and the exact details of the release notes. This is an issue, since so much of what we do as product developers depends on the fact that things are not “certain” because there are opportunities to start with. Everyone would be doing it if there was assurance. You may become a project manager as well (lol).

During fundraising, this is most obvious. You usually need to prove you have a vision for the future in order to raise funds. Whose vision is that? It’ll support your fundraising efforts if you have a compelling tale. So… senior product folks are asked to hastily frame the story, cash is raised on that story, and spend the next 12-18 months (the time it takes to spend every raise) balancing what existed before the raise on the field, and this new story (a few pages on a ‘deck’).

We see PMs forced to “pitch” to teams every day, justify a course, and even fall into a bit of performance theater (“the feedback is wonderful!”). That’s super tough. The majority of PMs know what is going on deep down and feel broken. Some get so wrapped up in the theater of assurance that they tend to trust their own Kool-Aid. ” I don’t know ” is a hard skill to learn.

 

6. Depending on the company, they have dramatically different positions.

Take a party at a meeting of 100 salespeople. Now, bring them into a room and start asking questions about their roles, their intentions, etc. A good deal of homogeneity is likely to occur. For PMs, do the same thing and you’re likely to see a lot of variety. There is the PM job description “on-paper” that you may find online, and there is the truth. About why? In the middle of all, PMs are smack dab, and their position is therefore highly dependent on other systems, viewpoints, and organizational powers. Additionally, in the grand scheme of things, software product management is still relatively new, so you still see a lot of divergence. A great example: consider Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google’s position as “product managers.” There are plenty of distinctions. Part of it is due to various business models, and part of that is due to various cultures (right back to the founders and early team).

You also have the challenge of the new PMs being heavily influenced by more modern interpretations of the position, clashing against less modern interpretations, when you see new generations/waves of PMs joining the workforce. So, you see vastly different meanings even for a single organization, even though everyone seems to agree on what the product does.

 

7. Most decisions can’t be taken unilaterally.

I’m going to use the buying tools/products frame here but as examples, you might slot in several styles of decisions. Take a new or similar CMO, CIO, CTO. They come with blazing guns waiting to shake things up. For new tools, hires, and projects, they have been given a budget. They are supposed to have a plan” in the first 90 days, and will then be given the next year or two to make it happen. Importantly, all of these choices can be made unilaterally (for these roles). The CMO will have a list of tools (either self-generated, consultant-generated, or “best practices”) they need to purchase and they will be able to write the check. In order to run the “operations” of that department, they might also recruit a person with experience. When it comes to product leaders,” this is much rarer.

The production of goods is fundamentally cross-functional. Many of the main buying decisions are piggybacked from decisions in other categories through product management. The cliche is that managers of goods have power, not authority. While this is not an absolute, in many settings, it holds true. Example: “Website” regulates marketing. Basically, marketing can do what it wants (and install whatever tools it wants). Try to do that with the item” with a group of thoughtful and enthusiastic engineers monitoring every change, and you will be in for a surprise (this is a good thing, by the way, just hard). For example, if it is in their budget, a CTO does not ask permission to install a CI/CD tool. They’ll need to “take it to the committee” for “product” to do the same.

 

8. They are struggling against the pressure to “ship”

You can still find a heavy pressure to only ship “new things” even in evolved organizations. New things are tangible. Fresh characteristics feel like progression. Selling new things. Learning and experimentation is wonderful, but by non-product creators, it is not noticeable, and largely not understandable. What do you mean that it was worth the failed experiment?”

Even if they realize that a “better solution is feasible, in the feature factory you can see PMs getting caught up. There is tremendous pressure to be certain (see above so pitches turn into prescriptive proposals that turn into confirmation bias and to plan execution. The production driven by experiments and theories is seen as something that only happens in the movies” and a “nice to have.” You’re expecting “ship stuff” back in the real world.” This leads to conflict and a touch of forlornness. You know that in your craft there is a next stage and you want to get there but day-to-day is far from that fact.

 

9. It’s the canary in the coalmine,

We find that product managers, and the pain they are feeling, are an early sign of organizational failure for many of the reasons above. This appears to occur with “hub” positions that connect with almost anyone. Compared to, let’s say, sales, that’s a different kind of answer. Sales touch the consumer, because when the product/pricing/value proposition does not hit the mark, they may have an early sense. This is crucially important (note to PMs, listen to Sales). Product claims that renewal time comes with AND the discomfort that may be experienced with technological debt, difficulty supporting the product, difficulty embracing the product, and difficulty gaining real value of the product.

Any leadership stress/dysfunction moves all the way to frontline PMs (to the extent that I can usually predict what is going on at the highest levels based on a quick chat with someone in the product development trenches). When things are going well it feels like a commodity. When things are not going well (nearly anywhere it feels like a commodity. This can give rise to a variety of coping strategies ranging from anger/defensiveness to a kind of low-level dejection and learned helplessness (“why can’t they ship anything” or why sales keep selling stuff we don’t do”).

 

10. Project managers and facilitators also have to play

Managers of goods often find themselves playing the role of project manager and facilitator. A trend I have often found is that the PM is more in tune with the challenges/tensions of engineering than with engineering leadership. First-hand vs. from afar, they see the suffering, and feel a deep obligation to encourage and strengthen team wellbeing. Coordinating tasks, choosing software project management methodologies, getting deep into Jira, and “managing” routines and activities are often frequently required to play “herder”. These hats are necessary, someone has to wear them, but it can usurp all the time available on top of an already hectic schedule (and tax the PMs skillset). Strategy forgets. Forget collecting insights. The day-to-day is focused on herding the weeds. While this is predominant, it is not an absolute. “High performance” teams are happier, and dotting “I”s and crossing “T”s require less support. In principle, it should be up to the team to how the team delivers and the PM can be a participant in that decision (not the catalyst or “manager”).

 

11. They come from all sorts of backgrounds,

Product managers come from a range of backgrounds, including: engineering, design, marketing, support customer success, business analyst, events, management consultancy, founder/entrepreneur, and domain knowledge fields (e.g., health care). Typing a PM or making assumptions about what drives them as a person is very difficult to do. Some support the principle of working with their team, whereas others see “their” team as a means-to-an-end to advance their individual objectives. Some love the start-up world, others are super product-craft design nerds, and ultimately want to start a company. Others prefer to make decisions in the hotseat, others get primary satisfaction from their team’s facilitation of great choices.

 

12. There’s a lot of pressure on them from their teams…

Imagine that you’re a developer or artist. The next 6-12 months you are about to spend marching in a certain direction. The root of that ruling? The manager of a commodity. Now it seems that the PM is wavering a little. It seems that they are a little soft in their resolve. They do not lead with data, and their intentions are not clear (or, again, it seems that way). How’re you acting? What’re you doing? And what are you going to do if stuff doesn’t work out great? You’re getting resentful. You start doubting a member of your product management team. Maybe you might even begin to undermine their decisions.

The argument here is that the partnership is very interesting between the product manager and the engineer/designer. The “skin in the game” is different. If the PM says, “Okay, we’re moving forward the MVP is good enough!” For the PM and the team, that may mean very different things. The team that toiled in the trenches were asked to cut short their good work. The relationship can be tense and strained, or it can be based on “healthy tension” that can actually help the product, believing it not only makes mediocrity.

 

  1. They are still balancing “theory” with reality in the real world

I made reference to this above, but it’s worth exploring. Day after day, product managers are bombarded with information, books, and individuals telling them “how to do the product. Knowledge and learning are not missing. For each initiative, take something such as having an outcome in mind. It makes absolutely perfect sense. Or the Google ‘Sprint’ concept. Cool, that sounds good. Now in reality, strive to do that in the midst of the strong pressure to ship, be sure of things and work through your team’s dysfunction. Difficult it is! In well-known businesses, I have talked to so many senior product leaders who want to introduce some new ways of operating in their heads, but simply can’t operationalize these ways in the real world. There’s the aspiration. Yet there’s still inertia. I’ve been lucky enough to speak with teams from certain organizations that are commonly considered “best in class.” Oh, you know what? The concerns are still the same. It’s messy job.

 

14. They struggle with unrealistic hopes

“I meet senior product leaders very regularly who openly say something like, “Well, many of our PMs don’t cut it. When I speak to those PMs, I discover an atmosphere in which it is incredibly difficult to get something done, let alone the “right stuff, AND they get little guidance and training. The challenge is that the doubt is felt by these front-line PMs. They internalize it and they believe like they will never do a wonderful job. It could even push them to performance theater and looking for big, tangible “wins” at the cost of their teams and long-term business outcomes. It doesn’t seem like a feasible long-term solution (to me to recruit based on a capacity to manage dysfunction, but I know this is very normal.

 

15. That’s tough. Super tough.

To sum up, it’s super difficult. You are in a vague position, the uncertainty expected to be cherished. You are thrown into the center of the business, and required to go 90mph (and be a servant leader, and be a shipper, and be a therapist). You make choices for other people, and when things eventually do not work out, they are responsible for starting to doubt you (because it is hard). You’re counting on your team and they’re counting on you. And when things go wrong… when things go wrong….

 

 

Top product management software platforms

 

Product Management Software can tremendously help product managers in their day to day management of the things that they need to do, and help them with raising visibility to the product and the process.

Top Software Solutions for Product Management

Let’s be clear, first of all. Budget problems. Product managers range from remote staff employed in support of numerous small businesses to PM bosses in big tech companies with tentacles all over the world. Clearly, budgeting for both situations is going to be different. You will need to be mindful of traditions: you may be in a large business, but perhaps management is used to employ “freemium” solutions rather than pay for full services.

Now since we’re talking about costs, make sure you have top-notch security protocols. How much data are you able to share with third parties? A compromised breach is something you probably won’t be able to afford if things get worse. Another critical economic issue is whether the functions you want to conduct with the product will be delivered within your offices or in a third-party setting. In fact, who is your audience: external stakeholders, colleagues? What kind of team is going to use these tools?

These issues matter because product management software often has different user” levels. These levels will define access to different areas: some may only be of concern to managers. So keep hierarchies in mind until you select one form of product management tool or another.

Last but not least: honesty matters. Have a conversation with your staff. What’s their level of skill? Will “user-unfriendly” interfaces be understood? Or would they prefer to work with a slickly built program? Speak to them, collect opinions and make sure the team can use anything you want.

When these problems have been resolved, go through the list and select the product management tool and product management program that best suits your needs.

 

Best Product Management Tools for all needs

Prototyping

Often, all you’ve got is a little bulb. You need to work hard to show that your product vision can be transformed into something concrete before you get to the full flower. Due to the growing value of user interface and seamless customer journeys, more and more resources are emerging. Along with methodologies such as MoSCoW (Must, Could, Might and Would), they seek to make the delivery as painless and seamless as possible.

In reality, this success has multiplied the number of web-based apps available. Some, however are somewhat questionable in terms of usability. We will suggest Proto.io to you. In terms of stand-alone applications, InVision, Balsamiq, Axure RP, Sketch (only for Mac) and Adobe XD are strong choices. The rule of thumb when selecting prototyping tools is their complexity: you do not need all the features of the world to make your project scream SUCCESS.

  • io
  • Adobe XD
  • InVision
  • Balsamiq
  • Sketch
  • Figma

 

Roadmapping

This is a fundamental exercise in product management. Although PMs are known to be adaptable, tracing the path brings to light the kind of stakeholder negotiating skills and data-driven planning that make Product Management so successful.

According to the experience of the PMs that we know, both Roadmunk and Monday lean on the “easy side of things.” AHA is also useful and is focused on solid analytical observations into how product managers operate. EProduct is also ideal for those who prefer it lighter: it’s web-based.

  • eProduct
  • Roadmunk
  • Monday
  • Aha
  • EProduct
  • Pendo
  • ProductBoard
  • ProductPlan

 

Prioritization

The Product Manager must have both an optimistic and a negative view. That is, they need to know when to drop something that doesn’t work. This is a very useful skill: if you work on your own, you save time and money; if you work in a position like Google, you save a lot of time and money.

Suggested resources include Trello, Feature Upvote (helps the team choose between lines of action!), Airfocus, Craft, Hygger, GridRank, and Efficient.

  • eProduct
  • Trello
  • Feature Upvote
  • Airfocus
  • Craft
  • Hygger
  • GridRank
  • Productific

 

Task Management

That growing backlog, huh? If you want to hold it down, you need a good tool that tells you exactly what you need to do to get back on track, both visually and in terms of results.

All of the product management tools suggested above are tasks for task management. Bear in mind, however, that these tools are associated with unique methodologies. For example, if you don’t work with small, Agile teams, they may not be useful to your team. JIRA is a prime example of this. You might need to prepare the teams to operate at full pace!

  • eProduct
  • Jira
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Clickup
  • Monday

 

Sprints

This approach is used in a wide variety of disciplines and Product Managers may use tools in other fields. Tools like Agilean and Binfire are good enough for small and medium-sized businesses.

Asana provides a lot of functions for broader activities, and Planbox integrates space for various teams to operate on the cloud. All in all, it’s all about the goals. Would you like to invest in a richer, more dynamic application for product management? Or are you going to help your Sprint with some freemium apps along with more conventional email, data and presentation tools?

  • Jira
  • Agilean
  • Binfire
  • Asana
  • Planbox

Data Management

Without data, the Product Manager is nothing. Your intuition may even be founded on decades of experience; but without reliable analytics, you’re going nowhere. Product management software such as Airtable work, on the surface, like a standard spreadsheet. But it will actually extend to become a fully fledged database.

Google Analytics is a free and simple tool for monitoring your online metrics, but if you want to go into more depth, we suggest Mixpanel, where you can monitor user interactions and even run A/B tests. Salesforce also provides an adept user with efficient CRM software.

All in all, strong Excel or Google Sheet will help you a lot if you do some data analysis work for Product Management.

  • eProduct
  • Airtable
  • Excel
  • Google Sheet
  • Coda
  • Notion

Transformation

These tools are designed to promote rapid change and adaptation. They’re like a “antidote” to your road map, a way to take a left turn to get back on track. PMs need to know about this; most importantly, they need the right tools to handle their goods.

Both Freshservice and Gensuite help avoid mistakes by recording and monitoring risks in the development process. Remed Change Management and Intelligent Service Management are more specialized and have a broader variety of resources. Overall, any successful implementation of the Product Management Roadmap should also have sufficient resources to support this form of problem prevention and rapid fire response. Particularly if it affects the distribution of goods, budgets or human resources.

  • Freshservice
  • Gensuite
  • User Knowledge

Customer issues

You need to hear the noise out there in this day and age.

First you need resources to collect, understand and respond to feedback from the consumer. Zendesk is one of the most common out there; alternatives include Freshdesk (with brand customization) and User Interaction (adding CRM). Unfortunately, there are no good free options: customer services are still a very high-quality operation.

Next, you need resources to collect information on your goods. SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Survey Anyplace and Typeform are useful for prompt customer inquiries. UXCam is a fascinating window into how your customers use your goods.

With Instabug, gather user input directly from the inside of your app without affecting the user experience with the app. Send tailored surveys to unique user groups and gain insight.

Finally, MailChimp and Customer.io provide powerful resources for reaching the clients via email. MadMimi works if your goals are more modest; Intercom is only fine if you want to cover all corners.

Listening to your users is important. Otherwise in the dark, you’re creating your product!

  • Zendesk
  • Instabug
  • Freshdesk
  • Userengage
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Google Forms
  • Survey Anyplace
  • Typeform
  • UXCam
  • MailChimp
  • io
  • MadMimi
  • Intercom

This list is not supposed to be exhaustive. Its division into groups, however should make you think about your needs. What are your weak points, huh? Think of them as the locations where you can pivot and develop your product management operations. Adding a new tool to your arsenal will make you wonder about efficiency, communication, and performance.

There is no risk in flipping or trying between different tools. Never feel that it’s too hard to change: after all, we’re in the transformation industry! Of course, if you need a better solution to all of this, you would need to look at Product Thinking. Or you can update your methodologies.

 

What Your Organization Can Do to Benefit

In diverse, competitive global markets, companies exist. Many are innovating, creating new products and services, as well as actively defending their bottom line to remain relevant.

Product Management is one role in this setting that can bring substantial benefits to organizations. Product Management brings strong, solid business values with it. No acronyms of fancy, no catchy patterns that fade over time. It effectively marries business goals and allows target audiences to provide companies with measurable, enduring benefits.

When well-practiced, Product Management increases the rate of success of the product on the market, reducing expensive efforts to produce the product.

 

Here are several other ways that companies can benefit from product management.

1. Product management improves customer adoption

The incentive to meet revenue goals in competitive circumstances has, rightly or wrongly, put pressure on product management departments to help sales teams to achieve their short-term sales targets. Even if it is not a wise business decision, this propels all teams to market products to all and sundry’.

Good Product Management takes a more sustainable approach and works closely with sales by ensuring that the wrong customers are not sought. Brand managers who are in touch with the target audiences and their issues are in a position to educate sales of where their products are most likely to be marketed.

Product Management articulates the advantages of products to its target audiences and can offer basic artifacts for sales, such as case studies of how similar consumers use their products.

The increased dialogue between Sales & Product Management provides both parties with a great opportunity to identify potential significant target markets for current products and to identify any new customer concerns that may contribute to the production of new products.

2. Product Control Decreases the probability of failure of products

Preparing a business case before product production is one of the first steps of successful Product Management.

The very act of writing a business case decreases the probability of failure of the product. Failure does not avoid it nothing can. But the probability of failure is minimized by collating a collection of hypotheses, gathering business information and scanning the market.

The business case is a container for internal capacity, resources, business constraints) and external data related to the business case (market conditions, market size, market trends, the competitive landscape). It helps to make better investment choices for organizations.

It also further reduces the possibility of product failure by communicating the opportunity inherent in the business case. To persuade internal stakeholders to invest in the new product, the plan must be sufficiently convincing.

It is like sailing a ship towards an uncertain destination to create new products without a roadmap that navigates the team towards success. Any costly misadventures are expected to occur.

3. Aligning customer needs with key organizational priorities

Effective Product Management ensures that all new incremental features, products or innovations that are implemented fix quantifiable customer challenges that are consistent with company priorities. While an emphasis on the client is paramount, the balance of product management brings balance. In order to satisfy external and internal standards, it ensures that new products have both client and company value.

If the production of the product does not satisfy or achieve the business goals, even if there is an opportunity to be found, it should be de-prioritized or discarded by good product management.

4. Future Product Management-Proofing Organizations

In order to ensure the efficient execution of the product roadmap, they interface with several parts of their organization and have excellent visibility of internal projects as well as external influences. They keep up to date on industry changes, rivals, customer opinion, the success of the product and the product’s financial intricacies. Companies can stand in good stead with up-to-date business and product awareness.

Although the task of product management was historically the catch-all of all urgent/non-urgent and significant/unimportant issues relating to product, service or consumers, its purpose has developed to drive more value for customers and their organization.

Final thoughts

Product managers have a huge responsibility to drive the success of their product without lot of authority. Anything that helps them in this process is well appreciated by any product manager or product team. We discussed many aspects ranging from process, tools, characteristics and more. I wish I had these resources and tools when I was a young product manager 15 years ago. The function is maturing, the tools are improving and it is up to the product manager to make the best out of them.