Product management is not like taking the product from point A to point B, it’s more like a do-it-all job and it requires you to take the product from point A to point Z. A product manager thus has to be present everywhere from sketching the prototype to the sales of the end product.
“One reason product management is such an appealing career is you get to sit at the intersection of technology, business, and design.”― Gayle Laakmann McDowell, Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology
And because you sit there, you need to use tools that can help improve the design of your product, analyze your business goals, communicate with your team and much more.
There was a time when product managers had to use more general product management tools to do this all. Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint decks were the mainstream. However, we now have plenty of tools to choose from in our daily working routine. And more importantly, they are created with the product managers in mind.
So, let’s take a look at a few of those tools.
Trello is like a virtual whiteboard since it helps see multiple project elements in one place. If you are looking for a high-level project visualization tool, then this is the best option for you.
Within Trello, you can create drag-and-drop cards, assign tasks, put labels and deadlines, add comments, tag people, invite people to collaborate, upload files and much more. Trello is good for both full-time and freelance teams and it allows managing anything quickly and seamlessly. One more thing: it’s free of charge!
Team communication is a must, so you need a business chat. What to use if not Slack? It is a team communication tool and its features are more tailored to fit the needs of teams no matter small or big.
Slack allows creating channels where you can discuss large-scale company-wide issues and make announcements. It also allows creating private channels to help you share confidential information with a few team members. And there is direct messaging that is just like email. Like other messaging apps, Slack allows sharing links and uploading files but it also allows integrating other apps so that you do not have to switch back and forth to get things done.
Hotjar is an all-in-one analytics and feedback tool that helps hear more from your website visitors. It allows seeing the heatmaps and understanding what users care about and interact with on your website. It also provides you with recordings of clicks, taps, and cursor movements. The tool also provides in-depth analysis on conversation rates.
However, the most interesting part about Hotjar is that apart from analyzing visitor behavior, it asks them to provide feedback on their experience with your website. For example, your visitors can fill in survey templates or leave instant visual feedback right on your website.
Hotjar is an analytics tool for websites. Inapptics is a similar tool for mobile apps. Mobile app product managers are going to love this! Inapptics allows you visualize user experience in your app and see how people navigate through it. It also answers the question whether your users really take the flows that were designed for them or not.
Like Hotjar, Inapptics provides heatmaps that show where users are tapping on each screen. This can help you visualize and analyze users’ browsing habits and make your app more appealing to them.
Remember Slack, the team communication tool, I was talking about earlier? Inapptics allows integration with Slack which notifies you every time a user encounters a crash on your app. With just one click you can replay any crash and see the exact steps that led to it. But that’s not the end: Inapptics also allows browsing through all the sessions performed by a particular user and seeing what they have been doing in your app since day one. Cool, isn’t it?
Inapptics is free for apps with less than 1000 monthly active users. So if you are a product manager or have a mobile app and want to analyze user behavior in your app, go ahead and create your free account.
Aha! is a product roadmap tool that focuses on the “why,” the “when,” and the “what” of the product planning process. This is a brilliant platform to help you create a visual product roadmap where you can outline your strategy, ideas, and features.
Note that Aha! allows employees and customers alike to come up with ideas. In addition, the integration of development tools allows making those ideas visible for the engineering team.
Product research is what product managers need to do regularly. Typeform helps to create forms and survey templates on all kinds of devices.
With Typeform, you can ask for anything: information, insight, event registration, payment, opinions, etc. Use a survey or a form in order to improve the product. The best part about Typeform is that unlike usual forms, it’s fun and creative.
No one likes bugs especially software engineers. And it is sometimes really hard to notice them. Instabug helps find and fix bugs quickly and effectively.
You need to add only one line of code to integrate Instabug SDK to your app. Then your users and beta testers can shake their phones to report a bug. Along with their feedback, they can attach a voice note or a screenshot of what happened. You then get detailed bug reports that include information regarding OS, device, connectivity type and much more.
This is just a small list of product management tools out there. If you go deeper and do your own research, you will find more interesting tools to help you get your stuff done.
But before you hit Google in search of other cool product management tools, let me tell you about Unsplash, a platform for free stock photos. It’s not a surprise that product managers need high-resolution images from time to time. Instead of buying them, you can search for them on Unsplash. It delivers 10 new photos to download every 10 days. And if you subscribe to their email list, you will receive that batch of 10 photos every time they appear on the website.