The Product Manager’s ToolKit
Chijioke Michael Egbulefu
Today, a wide variety of tools are available to make product management easier. This includes tools that do everything from setting product strategy to the more technical tasks of building out features and creating wireframes.
The tools listed here are grouped into the following areas:
ROAD MAPPING TOOLS
Great customer experience does not start when the consumer buys a product, it starts at the very beginning of the product development journey. Like any other journey, the product development process depends on various resources and we highlight some of them below.
– ProdPad: ProdPad helps you ensure that your product planning process follows the lean approach by allowing you to share only what is essential for your project with your team. The design is intuitive. Visualization chart aids prioritization and it allows you to create multiple ideas that can be used later based on priorities.
– Monday.com: monday.com is a viable option for big and small teams to plan, track, and manage their work. This tool comes with visual and flexible features to assist teams needing an agile workflow to collaborate on projects.
– Aha!: With Aha! you can create a visual product roadmap to outline your strategy, features, and ideas. Using the Aha! Score, you can prioritize features and user stories to highlight business value.
Others include ProductPlan, airfocus, Productboard, StoriesOnBoard, and Roadmap Planner.
Numbers, they say never lie. product analytics is the most reliable way of understanding what makes and or breaks the product. product analytics tools are useful because they help a product manager gain insight into how, why, when, where, and what the user uses.
– Google Analytics: A web analytical tool created by Google in 2005 to track and record website traffic. It is a digital marketing tool that PMs can use to track and record a website’s users’ and visitors’ behavior and garner useful insights from these.
– Pendo: To a PM, Pendo provides intelligence on how the visitors to a site and the users of software use it. It provides information on the most frequently used features and the duration of time they spend interacting with your software.
– Mixpanel: Mixpanel helps to track the timeline of users and helps you determine what matters most to them. With great segmentation and funnel features, it comes with custom dashboards and builds performance measuring tools and custom database engines.
Others include ProfitWell, Amplitude, Smartlook, Baremetrics, and Segment.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK TOOLS
Gathering customer feedback is an essential process for any product manager. In the process, you get to know what is working and what is not and look for the way forward.
There are several ways to gather feedback from your users and some are listed below:
– Typeform: Typeforms are a joy to fill out because they are beautifully designed and very user-friendly. They are conversational and super customizable.
– Heap Analytics: Some of these tools are project management tools but Heap Analytics is designed specifically for product managers, to keep them informed on how their product is performing, and what improvements need to be made. It focuses on in-product user behavior.
– Hotjar: with Hotjar, Heatmaps help you to visualize user behavior, and make decisions about product improvements based on users’ clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior. User recordings allow you to see how customers interact with your site, quickly and easily identifying any usability issues.
Others are Google Forms, Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, and Prodsight.
DESIGN AND WIREFRAMING TOOLS
It is a necessary skill to have for any product manager to be able to use design software to help translate their ideas from their head and into something understandable.
Product development is as much design-centric as it is customer-centric, so familiarizing yourself with the most popular design tools will help you make big strides in your career and help you build better products.
– Figma: Figma helps teams create, test, and ship better designs from start to finish. An innovative cloud-based tool that allows for more web-based collaboration, Figma is fast and easy for newcomers to use.
– InVision: InVision has this inspect feature which translates designs into detailed specs, helping development teams to hit the ground running without having to engage in a continuous back and forth.
– Balsamiq: Specifically built for non-designers, is considered one of the best. It is user-friendly and being cloud-based helps to make your designs accessible to anyone who needs them. Balsamiq focuses on communicating usability and structure rather than fancy animations and sound effects.
Others include Adobe XD, Sketch, Axure, Framer, and Moqups.
USER ONBOARDING TOOLS
Great onboarding experiences that get users to the point where they start to see value from a product, can have a huge impact on the conversion, satisfaction, and retention rates of your business or product.
– Intercom: You can send targeted messages to onboard and activate users. announce new features and more. You get to build better customer interactions through these messenger-based experiences.
– Appcues: Publish in-app messages and walkthroughs to welcome your users, drive them to action, and create long-term customers.
– Evergage: They say you can deliver 1-to-1 experiences across every channel using built-in machine learning capabilities.
Others are Inline Manual, UserIQ, and WalkMe.
The goal of workplace collaboration is to increase project success. These tools bring benefits that improve workflow, team relationships, productivity, and efficiency.
– G Suite/Microsoft 365, Slack, and Zoom need no introduction. Most of the collaboration tools have seen a boost due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant remote working arrangements.
PROJECT AND TASK MANAGEMENT TOOLS
These tools help you collaborate with colleagues, organize notes, maintain your project schedule, meet deadlines and ensure proper task delegation to all the right people
– Asana: Asana is a web-based project management application that helps you work on the go from anywhere. You get to keep team conversations and tasks in one place.
– Jira: Jira offers deep integrations throughout the development and release workflow. You can track bugs, issues, and perform project management functions using one tool.
– Trello: This is like a virtual whiteboard. This flexible tool helps you visualize projects at a high-level using boards, lists, and cards.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTING PRODUCT MANAGEMENT TOOLS
In choosing the tools to use, companies and individuals look out for factors such as:
1.User interface: Is the app clean and intuitive across different OS?
2. Usability: Is it easy to use? Is it easy to learn? How is the customer support?
3. Functionality: Does the tool do what it says it will do? What are the reviews saying?
4. Integrations: Can you connect with first and third-party apps to unlock more features if you must?
5. Value for money: How appropriate is the price for the features and capabilities of the tool?
Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive list. These are just stated as examples of tools in each category. We encourage comments from readers and you are free to add more.