What are the essential tools and software for product managers in 2022? Update your gear with this tailored guide and make your product management tools shine!
Stories about humble beginnings have become legendary in tech. A couple of geniuses, a garage and an ambitious vision: all it takes to kick-start a digital revolution.
Do you really think this is how most people do it?
Face it, we are not all destined to change the face of tech. Or maybe we are; but most of us work hard, one day at a time. And you are going to appreciate every help you can get. A great team, better management and a cool product will make things easier. But you cannot really choose them. Most of the time, you will be joining existing operations with their own problems and challenges.
However, using the best product management software and tools are things you can choose. Find out which product management tools and software can help you to achieve PM excellence in 2021.
Considerations Before Picking Product Management Tools
First of all, let’s be clear. Budget matters. Product Managers range from remote workers doing support work for various small companies; to PM bosses in huge tech companies with tentacles all over the planet. Clearly, budgeting on both situations is going to be different. You also need to be aware of traditions: you might be at a large company, but perhaps management is used to employing “freemium” options rather than paying for full services.
Now, since we are discussing costs; make sure that you have top-notch security protocols. How much data are you willing to share with third-parties? A compromising breach is something you probably will not be able to afford if things came to worse. Another vital economic concern is whether the functions you want to fulfill with the product will be delivered within your offices, or in a third-party environment. In fact, who is your audience: external stakeholders; colleagues? What is the kind of team who will be using these tools?
These questions matter because product management software often has different “user” levels. These levels will define access to different areas: some might only be of concern to managers. So keep hierarchies in mind before picking one type of product management tool or another.
Finally: honesty matters. Hold a discussion with your team. What is their skill level? Can they understand “user-unfriendly” interfaces? Or would they rather deal with a slickly designed program? Talk to them, gather opinions and make sure that whatever you pick, it can be used by the team.
Once these issues have been solved, go through the list and pick the product management tool and product management software that suits your needs best.
Best Product Management Tools for Every Need
Sometimes, all you have is a small bulb. Before you get to the full flower, you need to work hard at proving that your product vision can be translated into something real. Due to the increased importance of user design and smooth customer journeys, more and more tools are emerging. Along with methodologies like MoSCoW (Must have, Should have, Could have and Would like), they aim to make your delivery as painless and smooth as possible.
Actually, this popularity has multiplied the number of web-based apps that are available. However, some are slightly dubious in terms of usability. Most are turning to multi-purpose apps, which are used for whiteboarding, designing, and prototyping. We can recommend Figma, if you’re looking for a multi-purpose tool which is also excellent at prototyping. InVision, Balsamiq, Sketch (for Mac only) and Adobe XD are also good options. The rule of thumb when picking prototyping tools is their complexity: you might not need all the features of the world to make your project scream SUCCESS.
This is a fundamental Product Management exercise. While PMs are known for being adaptable, plotting your path brings to light the kind of stakeholder negotiation skills and data-led planning that make Product Management so effective.
According to the experience of PMs that we know, Productboard leans on the “making things easy side”. AHA is also useful and based on sound theoretical insights into how product managers work. Product Managers also reportedly rely on Airtable, airfocus, and Roadmunk, so consider these to be great options when picking your roadmapping tool.
A Product Manager must have a positive and a negative vision. That is, they need to know when to drop something that does not work. This is a very valuable skill: if you work by yourself, you will save time and money; if you work at a place like Google, you will save A LOT of time and money.
That growing backlog, right? If you want to keep it down, you need a good tool that both visually and in terms of data shows you exactly what you need to do to get back on track.
Any of the priotization tools suggested above work for task management. However, keep in mind that certain tools are aligned with particular methodologies. If you do not work with small, Agile teams, for instance; they might not be useful for your team. JIRA is the perfect example. You might need to train your teams so they can work at full speed!
For larger operations, Asana offers a lot of functions and Planbox combines spaces for different teams to work on the cloud. All in all, it is all about your priorities. Would you rather invest in a richer, more complex product management application? Or will you support your Sprint with some freemium apps along with more traditional email, data and presentation tools?
Data Management and Analytics
A Product Manager is nothing without data. Your intuition could even be based on decades of experience; but, without accurate analytics, you are going nowhere.
Data is perhaps one of the most useful tools in a Product Manager’s arsenal, used for making decisions, justifying choices, testing hypothesis…practically everything a PM does can be made more powerful with data. For that reason, there will be a multitude of options to choose from when looking for data management solutions.
Heap automatically captures every user action, which helps to provide real-time insights. Amplitude’s freemium model makes it a popular choice for early-stage startups, and larger companies love it for its power and speed. Pendo is well known for being easy to use, making it a solid choice for cross-functional teams.
All of these are fine options, and it’ll take some work to find the right one for you. But it’s worth it!
In this day and age, you need to hear the noise out there.
First, you need tools to gather, understand and respond to customer feedback. UserTesting is a top choice for Product Managers as it lets you ‘look over the shoulder’ of your users and see how they interact with your product in real-time. Besides that, it’s a multi-purpose customer understanding tool that’s equally well loved by marketers, designers, and executives.
UserZoom‘s goal is to give you the user feedback you need to design the perfect UX. Apptentive is best suited to those specifically working on a mobile app, with a focus on giving you actionable feedback to follow through with your teams.
Listening to your users is fundamental. Otherwise, you are developing your product in the dark!
Product Management Software and Tools for 2022
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. However, its division in categories should make you think about your needs. What are your weak points? Think about them like the places you can pivot from and improve your product management operations. Adding a new tool to your arsenal can do wonders for productivity, communication, and results.
There is no harm in switching and trying between different tools. Never feel that it is too difficult to change: we are in the business of transformation, after all! Of course, if what you need is a better approach to it all, you might need to look into Product Thinking. Or refresh your methodologies.
If you’ve made it this far, you must be doing a serious deep-dive into the tools and products that your teams need to build the next great digital product. Consider taking our free micro-certification, Choosing Your Product Tech Stack, where we’ll teach you how to select the right tools, and how to adopt them seamlessly into your teams’ day to day.