Can’t Find the Right Product Tool? Microsoft’s PM Reveals Her Toolbox

In this article, Richa Rai, a former Microsoft Product Manager, talks about the importance of building the right toolbox for the job that you’re doing. You’ll learn how to think strategically about the tools you acquire, and also get Richa’s personal recommendations for a few of her favorite PM resources.

Watch Richa Rai’s full talk to learn How to Build Your Product Toolbox

Why You Need Tools

This is something that most people here will need much convincing on! Tools reduce duplicate effort, enhance efficiency, and allow you to get more done in less time. Sold? Let’s move on!

How to Build Your Custom Toolbox

Richa outlines 7 factors to keep in mind when choosing your toolbox

  1. Type of project: Software, hardware, IOT, etc
  2. Level of team’s expertise: Are your team members skilled programmers, or is “drag and drop” a challenge?
  3. Budget
  4. Security: Where is your platform hosted?
  5. Resources: In house, or contact?
  6. Capacity: Limited or scalable?
  7. Audience: Who is it for, and it what circumstances will the tools be used?
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  1. For roadmapping: Aha
  2. Wireframes, Mockups, Prototypes: Balsamiq, Invision
  3. Backlog Management: Jira
  4. Prioritization: MoSCoW
  5. Feedback Management: UserVoice
  6. Analytics: Adobe Tags

Essential Skills that Tools Cannot Replace

You need the right tools to do the job, but you also need the right attitude. Be curious and open minded. Hustle, be scrappy and stay focused. Take risks and enjoy opportunities to learn something new. Focus on building credibility and giving back to the community.

If you are looking for a larger selection we recommend you to read our extended — but still curated — list of best software and tools for Product Managers!

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