The role of a Product Manager calls for a number of core competencies - a 2017 article from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) very accurately puts this forward. Despite having the best resources at hand in order to strategize and execute product roadmaps, many giant tech companies have faced major product goof-ups either during launch or when already-in-use by its customers. Product Managers, therefore, need to be very particular about their choice of tools, especially the ones designed for their specific function i.e. Product Management. Having the best product management tools can put a product manager quite ahead of competition.
Features that the best product management tools should have:
- Roadmapping: This reminds me of a famous quote by Ernest Hemingway: 'My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way'. Outlining the product roadmap on visual boards can be a great way for brainstorming and iterating in the ideation phase of a product.
- Project Management: Reaching the milestones set while roadmapping requires control over budget and time among other things. A product management software should have integrations with popular project management tools like Trello, Jira, Asana, etc. or have project management features built-in.
- User feedback: Let's say you have completed the first milestone and rolled out a new feature for your product. As a Product Manager, the criteria to gauge the success of this new feature and to release future updates would depend a lot on the feedback received from the users. The tool needs to have a mechanism to gather this feedback from users using various channels.
- Collaboration: Product Management usually involves working with cross functional teams such as Product Design, Product Marketing, Engineering, Operations and Support teams. Publishing roadmaps and sharing it with relevant stakeholders to view or make changes is thus an essential part of the product development lifecycle. For example, Product Plan lets you publish and share a private link with your team members so as to collaborate effectively.
- License Management: When building your product, you might be using third party tools and services. License renewals and managing approvals for buying licenses needs to be synchronized with existing workflows. A tool like Aha! offers this as a feature.
Now that you have some context on what to look out for in a product management tool, here's our list of best tools for product managers, particularly in remote teams.