Businesses today need to thrive in a competitive and agile global market. Keeping up with evolving technologies and the capriciousness of consumer demand has become a basic standard if you are to compete and have a sustainable business.
From developing a range of new products and services centred around your customers to integrating with new tools and creating a streamlined operation, product managers have a lot on their plate.
In competitive business environments, product management is a key differentiating factor. Unlike other business functions, product management relies on consistently proven and sound business principles, data, and full customer understanding.
Product management can be a complex role that relies on a vast number of data points and communication channels. That’s where product management tools become invaluable for product managers. Product managers need effective tools to enable their processes, frameworks and just about most tasks and project they take on.
What classifies as a Product Management Tool?
For a tool to be classified as a product management tool, it needs to provide inherit and significant value for product teams to carry out some or all of product’s lifecycle more effectively. Great product management tools make it easier to conduct planning, researching, developing, and even measuring the ROI of your digital products.
There are lots of tasks that need to be carried out by a product team. Using the right product management tools means the following can all be much more efficient:
- User journey mapping
- Product roadmap definition
- Customer research
- Feature prioritization
- Analysing product data
- Management of product releases
While product management tools are essential for in-house product teams, they are proving indispensable for remote working environments – the new normal. As remote work becomes increasingly common, the right tools provide a vital central location for the development and management of products.
What are the Benefits of Product Management Tools?
The fact is that you don’t need to use product management tools to get the job done. Traditional ways of working still exist. However, using the right product management tools means being able to make your product management workflow much more efficient.
Using any kind of tool is about making it easier to reach goals. It’s a common statement to make, but ‘we’ve always done it this way’ is lethal for a business that’s trying to compete.
The main benefits of using product management tools include:
- Making it easier to turn strategy into trackable and achievable tasks
- Product managers can access information about a product immediately, making them a more effective touchpoint for product updates
- Makes team communication and collaboration much faster and more effective
- Being able to gather product feedback in-house and from customers
Put simply, the right product management tools are the key to a more fast-paced business and a more adaptive and streamlined product development process.
Top 5 Product Management Tools
There are plenty of product management tools to choose from. Here’s our top five. They each come with differences, but they will all make the before, during, and after-process of product development significantly easier.
You know that Productboard is high-value because it’s already being used by some big names. Microsoft and Zendesk use Productboard, so it’s clearly got some advantages that other product management tools lack.
Great for developing a more informed understanding of what your target audience needs and for highlighting what features to include, Productboard delivers more than that. While all of the product management tools on this list allow for easier communication, there’s a simplicity to the collaboration resources on Productboard that are hard to beat.
When it comes to third-party integrations, Productboard covers the basics. Currently, you can integrate the following into your productboard interface:
- Pivotal Tracker
Productboard is a well-rounded tool that does everything well. Where it stands out is in its ability to collect product insights and customer input across all of your inboxes. So if much of your role is taken up with ongoing product feedback, then Productboard is definitely a product management tool that you need to look at closely.
This is a slightly different product management tool and is largely focused on customer experience. It’s known as a session replay tool and it’s extremely useful. That’s because it allows product teams to see the bigger picture when it comes to knowing how customers are using your products.
What FullStory does is record every single action taken by a visitor to your website and product pages. While doing so, it’s also pulling in user data about your product. That means you can see a massive amount of data as you study how users are interacting with you.
This can be useful knowledge when your website is your product, or when you’re publishing a new product page. Additionally, FullStory also integrates extremely well with Slack, making session sharing straightforward. Simply click a button and your team has access to the relevant data and session recordings.
There are plenty of session recording tools available, but FullStory stands out. It provides an accurate snapshot in real-time of what your audience is seeing and doing. That makes it much easier to follow what’s going right and wrong with your product and your content.
If you’re looking for a tool that focuses on product analytics, then Mixpanel is hard to beat. It provides product managers with a self-service option, while also providing more technical methods of collecting and then understanding product analytics.
Mixpanel also has plenty of features to make use of. Not only does it make it much easier to measure customer usage, but it can also be used to make predictions about that usage. You can break down your target audience into segments for even more in-depth insights.
Where Mixpanel truly excels is in its focus on mobile site analytics. The fact that it comes with many free packages that include a range of features simply makes this a product management tool worth having in your toolbox.
With more than 26,000 companies already using Mixpanel, it’s safe to say that it certainly provides value. If you’re a product manager that wants to know what matters to your target audience, make decisions that are driven by real-world data, and create the products that come out of that data, then Mixpanel is worth learning more about.
Miro is where distributed team get work done. It’s essentially an online collaborative whiteboard platform that brings remote teams together, anytime, anywhere.
Businesses use Miro for a number of activities including meetings and workshops, ideation and brainstorming, research and design, strategy and planning, a lot more. Some of the biggest brands in the world use Miro including Cisco, Dell, Deloitte.
One of the features we love is the real-time collaboration functionality. The platform provides an intuitive, in-person collaboration experience with multiple options for real-time or asynchronous teamwork on an online whiteboard.
And to ensure your ideas and intellectual property is protected, Miro comes with enterprise-ready security and advanced administration controls, to deploy Miro company-wide with ease.
Clubhouse.io is a great project management tool designer to software development teams to do their best work. It helps businesses through its intuitive project management platform – from project planning to product creation.
Clubhouse is all about speed. For team collaboration, Clubhouse is a step ahead and makes collaboration much more efficient. Product management teams will find great value in the templated storyboarding options, as well as the ability to track project progress across the whole company.
However, Clubhouse isn’t designed for everyone. They target specifically mid-sized teams. If your business is too large or small, then the chances are that you’ll experience either limitations or workflow roadblocks. They do offer a free trial though, so Clubhouse is certainly worth looking at.
When it comes to third-party integrations, Clubhouse has a lot. There are hundreds of listed third-party integration options, with some of the bigger names being:
- Google Drive
All in all, Clubhouse provides everything that a product manager might need. Whether it’s the roadmapping, the collaboration speed, or the third-party integrations that stand out, Clubhouse is a useful tool. There’s even a freemium option that allows for up to 10 users.
Besides the tools we mentioned, there are some other incredible tools in the market that worth giving a try. Some of these are:
And of course, spreadsheets will remain a viable option to help you manage some activities of your product management.
It’s not always easy for a product manager to choose between the hundreds of product management tools on the market today. The tools listed above are excellent starting points and amongst some of the most useful tools we’ve come across.
When determining which product management tools are best for you and your team, consider everything from the ease of use of the UI to the features and the functionality of the tool. You don’t want to invest time and training on integrating your tools into your work processes if they turn out to not have the features that you hoped for.
Product analysis is critical at every stage of the product lifecycle. Having right tool can ensure that every initiative and milestone your business takes is efficient and focused on the right goals.
If you’re a product manager that’s hoping to develop a better and deeper understanding of product performance, then you need to know how to best measure the relevant data points. The tools we listed in this resource can help make it easier to measure and analyse critical data and KPIs.