Product Development Management Software helps you manage your product development projects. With an easy-to-use but robust system, you can stay organized and on-task, assign tasks and collaborate with team members. Track the progress of each project, identify bottlenecks and roadblocks, and get feedback at every stage in a streamlined way.
In this guide, we review the aspects of Product Development Management Software, top product management tools, product management tools and techniques, and What does a product management software do?
Product Development Management Software
When you’re managing product development and the associated documents, you want a system that helps empower your team. Whether it’s in-house or outsourced, there are a lot of moving parts to consider when developing a product and keeping track of them all can be challenging. You need an easy-to-use yet robust tool that allows you to store documentation, send secure emails and PDFs, assign tasks and collaborate with your team members on projects.
Review and Approval
Reviews and approvals are an essential part of the product development process. Here’s what you need to know:
- The importance of reviews and approvals.
- How to manage the review process, including how to organize your team, what tools work best for this, and how often to hold reviews.
- Different types of reviews you can use throughout the development cycle, including code review, UX review, design review, testing and more.
Security and Audit
- Track and monitor changes to documents
- Keep track of who made changes, when they were made and why
- Track who has access to documents, and if their access has been revoked
- Monitor printing activity for each document (who printed it, where it was printed to)
- Track who viewed a document on the web or in an app (via IP address)
- Monitor emails sent with links to specific documents
PDF processing is a key part of the product development process. You will need to import and export PDFs, convert them to other formats, and export them to other formats.
Product development management software should be able to do this for you.
Document Creation Software can create documents from a variety of sources. You can create documents from templates and also from scratch. Documents can be created from spreadsheets, images or even other documents. This means you don’t need to start a new document for each project and you’ll have more time to focus on your clients’ needs!
Document Management is the storage and retrieval of documents. It is used to store and retrieve documents electronically, typically in a document management system (DMS). Document management systems are often used in conjunction with other information management systems, such as enterprise content management (ECM) or records management systems (RMSs). The key difference between document and file management software applications is that files are only one type of document an organization might need to manage efficiently. A business’ needs for managing documents may include a wide range of media types—from scanned paper images to digital PDFs; from PowerPoint presentations to Excel spreadsheets; from email attachments to faxes—that need to be managed individually but also integrated into the overall workflow process across different departments within an organization
In-Production File Automation
In-production file automation is the process of automating repetitive tasks, highly specialized tasks and manual tasks that require a lot of time. In other words, it’s the process of creating a workflow within your software development toolkit. Using pre-existing templates, you can set up workflows that automatically release code to testing when it’s ready or run tasks like automated regression testing without having to manually click through each step. Workflow automation makes sure that no matter how many developers are working on different parts of a project at once or how large your team becomes over time, it will always be easy for everyone involved in the production cycle to keep track of what they’re doing and where they stand in relation to other teams’ progress.
When it comes to project management tools, there are plenty of options out there. There’s no single solution that works for every business or team—and that’s the beauty of it!
But you don’t have to be overwhelmed by all your options.
If you’re just starting out on a new project and want to find software that will help keep things organized and running smoothly, here are some questions to consider:
- What type of project is this? Is it a website redesign? A marketing campaign? A new feature for an app? Knowing what kind of work needs to get done will guide your search process. It’ll also help you think about how much time and effort should go into managing each part of the process in order to achieve success.
- Who will be working on this project? The answer could impact which tools might work best for everyone involved (even if those people aren’t directly involved in Project Management). For example, if multiple stakeholders need access at different times during different stages, then maybe something like Trello would be better than Basecamp because Trello allows multiple users per board while Basecamp only allows one user per account with limited permissions set up ahead of time by managers or leads before handing off control over projects later down line when they’re finished developing them further)
top product management tools
When talking about tools for product managers, we’re usually referring to the standard few that most product managers use every day. These product management tools generally include product analytics software, development tracking tools, and roadmapping software.
But a product manager’s job involves a lot more than gather product insight, tracking the backlog, and reviewing the product roadmap. Whether you’re a new product manager or a seasoned PM just wanting to make sure you’re not missing a key component of your role because you’re lacking the proper tool—the following is a list of product management tools to help you excel in your role.
12 Product Management Tools to Have in Your Product Stack
1. User tracking and analysis tools (such as Pendo and Amplitude)
These tools can be invaluable sources of intelligence and insight into how your software’s users or your website’s visitors are actually engaging with your product and your content.
Whereas customer surveys or interviews — which are valuable tools in their own right — will tell you only what your customers say and think product analytics platforms capture and help you analyze what those customers actually do.
If your company sells software or just maintains a lot of content on a website, deploying a service like Pendo or Amplitude can uncover important realities about what resonates with your users, and what doesn’t.
2. Roadmapping software (such as ProductPlan)
Roadmapping software is a must-have item on any list of product management tools. Using any non-native roadmap application to draft and maintain your product roadmap (such as spreadsheets or slide decks) will create far more work, be far less flexible and easy to share, and more prone to version-control issues that can slow your product’s progress. This is exactly why we built ProductPlan.
ProductPlan makes it easy for product teams to build and collaborate on product roadmaps. A visual, interactive roadmap is much more effective for communicating product strategy and helps align your team around your product vision.
Watch the webinar, What’s in Your Product Stack: Roadmap Tools
3. Customer survey tools (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, whether 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 send the survey out to your customers and easily track and analyze the results.
For gathering quick answers to important user questions, these tools are extremely helpful. But beware: Like email, online survey tools are so easy, convenient, and inexpensive that it can be tempting to overuse them. Use your surveys sparingly, so as not to upset your user base.
4. Recording apps for customer interviews (such as GoToMeeting or Zoom)
When you speak on the phone with customers, even if you’re just calling to answer a question, it’s always a great idea to record the call. Using a tool such as GoToMeeting or Zoom makes it easy to record those conversations and reference them later. You never know when a customer will offer valuable insight, ask a question you realize a lot of other users will have, or just share with you a novel why they’re using your product that you might not have otherwise thought of.
5. Industry analyst accounts (like Gartner or Sirius Decisions)
Here’s a tool you probably wouldn’t immediately think of as part of the product management tool stack — but depending on your industry and target customer, you might want to consider it.
Having access to the collective industry research and the latest thinking of the analysts covering your space can be extremely beneficial in terms of guiding your strategic thinking and helping you determine where your market is headed. The statistics and reports these research firms (such as Gartner or Sirius Decisions) output can give you just the types of data you need to prioritize and earn stakeholder buy-in for specific themes and features on your product roadmap.
Of course, this will be among the most expensive product management tool on this list, so you might need to use your powers of persuasion (which you no doubt have as a product manager) to convince your management team of its value.
6. Team messaging tools (such as Slack or Confluence)
When your product development, or any complex and cross-functional initiative, gets underway, you will want an easy and immediate means of communicating — as well as maintaining an ongoing record of all communications related to the initiative.
Thankfully, there are many simple, cloud-based tools that allow for just this type of easy and centralized team communication. Slack and Atlassian’s Confluence are a few that come to mind.
7. Presentation software (like PowerPoint or Keynote)
We often point out how inefficient presentation tools are for roadmaps. But that doesn’t mean that PowerPoint or Keynote shouldn’t have a prominent slot in your product management toolkit.
Presentation decks can be invaluable for communicating your high-level strategies, visions, and plans across your organization and to external audiences like customers.
Vision decks, for example, can be a powerful way of communicating your product’s vision to a group of executive stakeholders and earning their buy-in. Presentations can also be a highly effective way of conducting sales training or educating industry analysts about your product.
8. Project management tools (such as Jira, Pivotal Tracker, or Trello)
Like the team messaging tools we listed above, today’s project management applications are much more robust and provide a simplified means of tracking and documenting details.
Using a web app such as Trello, for example, you can track and share various items with relevant 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 easily be dragged and dropped under different Boards — say, from “In Progress” to “Under Review.”
Other popular project management tools include Microsoft Project, which teams typically arrange in Gantt chart format, and Jira, which is often configured as a less visual issue-tracking tool. And tools like Pivotal Tracker will help you to execute on your roadmap and keep your backlog organized.
9. Feature flagging software (such as Split.io or LaunchDarkly)
Feature flags give product teams an easy way to “turn on and off” specific features once code has been deployed to production. This comes in handy in a number of scenarios: coordinating a big feature launch, A/B testing, rolling back a new problematic feature.
Tools such as Split.io and LaunchDarkly empower product teams to manage feature flags and get the most out of their usage.
10. Session replay and heatmap tools (such as FullStory or Hotjar)
As a product manager, you spend a lot of time trying to dig into the minds of your customers and unearth exactly what the experience of using your product is like for them. With tools like FullStory and Hotjar, you can get insight into user behavior like never before.
Heatmap software helps you understand exactly what users on your site care about by visually representing their on-site behavior. This insight can be extremely valuable as supplemental data for your product team. A heatmap in conjunction with a number of session replays and a few customer interviews will give you plenty of data to make an informed product decision.
11. Flowcharting tools (such as Visio)
Although not all product managers use flowchart and diagram applications, the affordability and ease of use of these tools make them a great way of performing a step that many PMs overlook but shouldn’t — customer journey mapping.
Creating a customer journey map is helpful in giving you and your organization a clearer view of your customer’s full experience with your company. When created properly, a journey map will show all of the touchpoints an individual has with your organization from the first visit to your website (or the first call from one of your sales reps) through purchasing and using your product.
Journey maps can also focus specifically on the full experience of using your product — say, from the first visit to the site, through completing an online form, through any contacts the user has with your sales reps or other staff, through downloading and logging in to your tool.
Flowcharting and diagramming tools — like Microsoft Visio and OmniGraffle — can be helpful in mapping out any specific aspects of a user’s workflow or experience with your product. And because they offer a visual view of that workflow or experience — as opposed to merely a list of steps your customer will take — the flowcharts you output from these tools can then help you uncover insights into how to strategically prioritize your product roadmap.
product management tools and techniques
Product Management tools are software that makes a product manager’s work easier. Right from planning to the final product launch, a product manager is responsible for the seamless delivery of goods. To do these tasks effectively Product managers rely on a bunch of tools.
The need for Product Management Tools
Can you think of a product that was developed without the software? Do not say anything random like a comb because it was also made in 3000 BC in Persia. We are not saying it’s impossible to develop products without product management tools, but it’s a little difficult.
Given the time we live in now, where every second corresponds to a new product in the market, we do not have the time to return to black-and-white TV sets when we can use smart home appliances.
Product development tools and techniques
A product’s life cycle consists of several stages. From ideation, product roadmap, user journey mapping, prototyping, managing sprints, customer research to learning launch and delivery, the process of creating a product is very layered. To simplify this task, traditional product managers used tools like road mapping software and development tracking tools.
However, as software became a crucial part of product development, from developing and designing consumer goods to food delivery apps, this trend changed management practices forever.
As newer software and technologies emerge, product management tools also undergo serious changes and become more nuanced. If you have the FOMO as a product manager, here is a list of tools you should check out before developing that next product idea of yours.
List of Free product management tools a product manager must know about!
Let’s take a look at the Top free product management tools in the market that you can use. All the mentioned below can be used for any organization type, from startups to the big leagues.
Free product management tools
Coda: Best for all-in-one documentation management
Coda is one of the best product management tools for integrations. It can provide data access in whatever way you wish to see, like graphs, charts, infographics, etc. Below are some salient features of Coda.io:
Balsamiq: Holy Grail of Product Management Tools
A user-interface design tool, Balsamiq, is used for developing wireframes( also called mockups or low-fidelity prototypes). One can use Balsamiq wireframes to create digital sketches of ideas for an application or website before writing any code.
Such prototypical wireframes can be used for user testing, getting feedback from stakeholders, or refining the idea of a product before moving on to development.
Balsamiq also offers a free trial period of 30 days before buying the product.
Bitrix 24: Best free CRM tool
Bitrix is great for communicating/collaborating within the team and external parties. It is an all-in-one free product management tool that lets product teams work on multiple product dimensions on one platform.
What does Bitrix have to offer?
Taskade: Best for startups
Taskade is beneficial in setting up meetings and has in-built seamless communication tools. The software is compatible with all operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux. The primary features of Taskade include:
One setback with Taskade is that it does not offer Reporting and Analytics. It is also one reason why Trello is a more recognized task management tool. However, Taskade offers a better user rating.
Asana: Best for facilitating Team Management
Asana is a general product management tool, unlike being a dedicated product development app. According to Getapp, more than 100,000 organizations in 190 countries across the world use Asana. Various features of the software include:
While its free version is available to 15 users (and thus, startup-friendly), you can opt for a premium version for more features like detailed task management, etc.
Backlog: Offers not just code management but also Product Management
Backlog is popularly used for code management but also works well with project and product management. The app is easy to use and is compatible with all operating systems. Backlog is useful in
Agile product management tools
Before proceeding to the product management tools used in Agile, let’s understand what Agile is.
Agile or Agile Methodology is a kind of project management process, mainly used in the IT sector for software development. The methodology divides work into smaller tasks that need to be completed in a set period called sprints.
Jira: A must in your resume if you are a Product Manager
Yes, we know you get the reference. Many recruiters ask a Product Manager if she/he is well versed in Jira before considering their candidature. That’s how necessary Jira is.
Jira is a product management tool that has been operating successfully for 15 years now. Used by the PepsiCo employees, the application management tool was initially developed to check for bugs in the program code. It is also used for many aspects of product management, including:
Monday.com: If you use Facebook with ease, you can use Monday.com conveniently
This agile product management tool is becoming increasingly popular with product managers of all generations because of its easy-to-use interface. Some of its features are:
Wrike works well with mid-size and big projects. It is compatible with all operating systems and integrates with over 400 third-party apps. Its free version is also compatible with the likes of G Suite and other task management tools online. Self-built project templates and Wrike- designed project templates are favorite features among many.
Tableau: Biggest Data Visualization Tool
Easy to learn for beginners, Tableau as a product management tool is used by millions of people across the globe. Its interactive reports have made static PDF’s an outdated feature. Tableau can however get a bit pricey for those in the startup stage, however, most big leagues use this product management tool because of its proficiency in data analytics.
Tableau also has an online analytics platform fully hosted on cloud that is easily accessible on both desktop and mobile.
What does a product management software do?
First, a confession: Ten years ago, when I was invited to apply for a product manager position at Atlassian, I didn’t know what product management was. This wasn’t unusual. While product management has existed in one form or another for a number of decades, the “product manager” title only started picking up steam less than 20 years ago. And still, I encounter talks at conferences called “What Does a Product Manager Do?” (Actually, I sort of gave one of these talks.)
What is a product manager?
A product manager is the person who identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill, articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality. After 10 years of studying the craft of product management, I’ve developed a deep understanding of what it means to be a product manager.
The confusion about what a product manager is likely stems from the recency of the role. Where practitioners of more established crafts, like design and engineering, have been able to segment themselves by their specialization, product managers are still defining what the role should be.
Martin Eriksson, product leader extraordinaire and founder of ProductTank, initially summed up product management in a simple Venn diagram that sits the product manager at the intersection of business, technology, and user experience. Fifteen years ago, Ben Horowitz, CEO of Opsware, called the product manager the “CEO of the product.”
I agree with both Eriksson and Horowitz, but not always with how their definitions are interpreted. People see Eriksson’s diagram and think that product managers manage the product between all three disciplines (UX, technology, and business). Really, though, he’s saying product managers need to balance all three needs and make hard decisions and trade-offs. People hear Horowitz’s analogy and think product managers have some kind of special authority. They don’t. But, like a CEO, product managers set the goals, define success, help motivate teams, and are responsible for the outcome.
Product manager responsibilities
Specific responsibilities vary depending on the size of the organization. In larger organizations, for instance, product managers are embedded within teams of specialists. Researchers, analysts, and marketers help gather input, while developers and designers manage the day-to-day execution, draw up designs, test prototypes, and find bugs. These product managers have more help, but they also spend more time aligning these stakeholders behind a specific vision.
On the flip side, product managers at smaller organizations spend less time getting everyone to agree, but more time doing the hands-on work that comes with defining a vision and seeing it through.
Broadly speaking, though, a good product manager will spend his or her time on a handful of tasks.
Understanding and representing user needs.
Monitoring the market and developing competitive analyses.
Defining a vision for a product.
Aligning stakeholders around the vision for the product.
Prioritizing product features and capabilities.
Creating a shared brain across larger teams to empower independent decision-making.
Product manager vs. product owner
Whether or not a team is adhering to a certain agile practice (and which one), can further muddy the waters when it comes to what a product manager does. For instance, if a team is practicing scrum, then they also need to have a product owner.
While a product manager defines the direction of the product through research, vision-setting, alignment, and prioritization, the product owner should work more closely with the development team to execute against the goals that the product manager helps to define.
Here’s how that tends to break out:
Involved in day-to-day activities
But responsibilities can shift a bit when team makeups and practices shift. For instance, if the team isn’t doing Scrum (say, they’re doing kanban or something else), the product manager might end up doing the prioritization for the development team and play a larger role in making sure everyone is on the same page. On the other hand, if the team is doing Scrum, but doesn’t have a product manager, then the product owner often ends up taking on some of the product manager’s responsibilities.
All of this can get really murky really quickly, which is why teams have to be careful to clearly define responsibilities, or they can risk falling into the old ways of building software, where one group writes the requirements and throws it over the fence for another group to build. When this happens expectations get misaligned, time gets wasted, and teams run the risk of creating products or features that don’t satisfy customer needs.
Best practices and tips for being a great product manager
Just as there isn’t only one kind of team, one of the most exciting aspects of the product manager role is that there isn’t only one way to do it. During the last two decades, the craft has exploded both in popularity and approach. Unlike designers who have successfully segmented themselves into interaction designers, graphic designers, motion designers, and so on, product managers, as a whole, are still wrestling with how to label their different strengths.
To complicate matters, people are only beginning to pursue product management as their intended discipline. Where older generations “fell into product management” from engineering, design, finance, or marketing, younger generations are starting their careers with product management in mind.
That said, there are a handful of skills and practices that any good product manager will need to develop.
A colleague recently likened product management to being a politician. It’s not far off. The product manager and the politician both get an allotted amount of resources. Each role requires the practitioner to make the best use of those resources to achieve a larger goal, knowing that he or she will never be able to satisfy everyone’s needs.
At any one time, the product manager might have to decide between a feature that might make one big customer happy but upset 100 smaller customers; maintaining a product’s status quo or steering it in a new direction to expand its reach and align with larger business goals; or whether to focus on the bright and shiny or the boring and important.
Clearly understanding the costs and benefits of each choice guides the product manager toward the right decision.