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  • Writer's pictureJayendra More

Product Manager Tools For Success

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Product Manager Tools For Success

Product Manager's life isn’t easy, writing user stories, creating user flows and personas, creating wireframes, timely writing small queries to get the data out of the databases, always busy in meetings, writing PRDs, user surveys, etc. a lot of activities are looked after by Product Manager. At times a lot of time and effort is invested in the above-mentioned tasks. Some tools in the market help a PM to make his life easier and work more efficiently. Following is the list of tools available in the market for some of the activities a PM does. Make a note that not all of the tools are free some of them are paid and might also require integration with your product or databases. Here is my take on the tasks & tools that are important to make a PM’s life easy. Just having knowledge of the tools will also help an aspiring PM to grow in this role.

User Research: User research is nothing but a study of your targeted users, their needs and the pain points they face. Once all of these data points are collected, they are then passed to the designers to have the best and to-the-point insights to work on and to make the best designs. There are various methods to carry out user research and expose the problems users face and find design opportunities and give Product Managers, Designers and Stake Holders crucial information to use in the design process or making decisions. Following are the tools or services that can be used for User Research, 1. Google forms You can use Google Forms to create simple survey forms for the users and create easy reports based on the surveys conducted. 2. Typeform Typeform is similar to Google FormsGoogle Forms but more customisable forms are available as compared to google forms. This makes it more fun for the users. 3. SurveyMonkey SurveyMonkey is similar to both the previously mentioned options, as compared to Google Forms, it has more options for forms but is somewhat expensive as compared to Typeform.

Brainstorming: The idea behind Brainstorming is to bring together team members in a friendly & learning environment, this helps to generate surplus ideas and that too in a given frame of time. Following are the tools that can be used to note down the brainstorming ideas always saving them and maintaining them, which then can be shared with your coworkers. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Brainstorming. 1. Miro Miro allows you to provide a collaborative experience with any of your team members. A plethora of features are available to use at your disposal. 2. Lucid Similar to Miro, Lucidchart offers fewer features compared to Miro. The best thing about Lucidchart is flow diagrams, they truly enhance the experience of flow charts for the users.

User Personas & Journey: User personas are used to identify the goals and characteristics representative of a larger group of users. Usually, a persona is a one or two-page document, depending on the product. These personas include behaviour patterns of the users, goals, skills, attitude and background information and also the environment of the persona in which he resides/operates. It is usually required of the PMs to add certain fictional details to make the personas realistic. User Journey is the journeys that a user goes through inside your application or product, from the days of acquisition till the day of the end of the journey. Following are the tools or services that can be used for User Personas & Journey 1. UXpressia One of the best tools available in the market to map the customer journey and create user personas. With the available templates of the user personas, it is far easier for one to create the user persona for his/her own product. 2. Xtensio Xtensio is an online documentation tool to collaborate with your team online.

Documentation: Most of a PM’s time is spent on documenting everything. May it be writing long PRDs or features for releases or even release notes. It is required of a PM to write long PRDs and short User Stories. Having all the notes in one place comes in handy when looking for what feature was released when and checking other important timelines as well. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Documentation, 1. Notion The Notion is one of a kind documentation platform. One of the well know and easier-to-use platforms with a plethora of templates available proposed by the platform or other users of Notion. This platform can be used for personal use or for a product as well. 2. Confluence Confluence is a tool similar to Notion but with some added features. As it is the part of Atlassian suite, Jira integration is readily available with this product. There is no limit to storing the history of a document, and tracking changes done in every edit is easy via a quick search. Admin level customisation is available so that it is easier for you to set up access level infrastructure for your team.

Design(Wireframing & Prototyping): When it comes to design, it is not required of the PM to design the final screens to be implemented, but it is required of him to create wireframes and app mock-ups. Once the ideation phase for a feature is done, the content and information to be displayed on the screen need to be finalised before the designer can actually start his work. Wireframes help the designers to understand the concept and content and then refine the designs. Once the designs are done, these designs are then converted to working prototypes, these prototypes are then shared with the developers and the stakeholders just to identify the flow of the feature and its actual functionality. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Wireframing & Prototyping, 1. Figma Figma is a graphic editor and a prototyping tool. The majority of the application is web-based, but desktop and mobile application are also available to use. The mobile app allows the users to view and interact with the prototype created on Figma. A designer or PM can make changes in the prototype, simultaneously checking it on the device to see whether everything is working fine. 2. Sketch Sketch again is a graphic editor tool. It is almost similar to Balsamiq, used for UI/UX design of mobile and web applications and features. The latest editions of Sketch also allow you to create a prototype and collaborate with your team. The only drawback of this tool is that it is only available for macOS. 3. Balsamiq Balsamiq is a wireframing tool. It has an application which is available for Windows and macOS systems. With its wide variety of icons, frames, images, etc. it is easier even for a newbie to create wireframes using this tool. It allows you to then export the created wireframes to export in PDFs, images, etc. to share with your developers or designers.

Project & Task Management: Once the design of the feature is done and you are ready with the idea, you need to share the feature with the respective development team. Now that all of the handovers are done and the development teams are working on the tasks you need to monitor everyone’s progress and similar can be used to identify the work progress of all the teams including the design team. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Project and Task Mgmt., 1. Trello Trello is a Kanban-style, list-making application which is available for website and Windows/macOS applications. One of the easiest tools to use for tracking the team’s progress. 2. Jira Jira is a product developed for agile project management, a lot of company mainly uses this tool for bug tracking. This tool can also be used for creating user stories and tracking every team’s progress.

Team Collaboration: It is essential for a Product Manager to always stay in touch with the team and always have conversations with the team about their doubts regarding a feature or the complete product. It is very important to have the history of the conversations stored somewhere so that it can be recalled whenever needed. Following is the tool or services that can be used for Team Collaboration, 1. Slack Slack is a messaging tool which was designed by keeping the workplace in mind. Its unique UI makes it easier for the users to use the application and various features help the organisation to divide chat team-wise no matter how big the team is.

Conferencing: A Product Managers life constantly involves meetings, whether it may be with stakeholders, management team, developers or outside organisation teams. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Conferencing, 1. Teams Teams is a chat and videoconferencing tool. It also provides features such as file storage and application integration. 2. Google Meet Formerly known as Hangouts Meet is a video conferencing tool developed by Google. 3. Zoom It is also a video conferencing tool which is available in both free and paid plans.

Product/User Analytics: It is nothing but to process, analyse and visualise how a user interacts with the product. Many companies use analytics to track and analyse the user experience. This usually helps teams to refine the product and its features based on the data recorded. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Analysis, 1. Mixpanel This tool when integrated with your product tracks users’ interactions on the app or website. These interactions can be used to derive insights and also for targeted communication with the users. 2. Amplitude Similar to other analytics tools in the list. Ranked number 1, 6 times in Product Analytics. 3. CleverTap CleverTap is an omnichannel customer engagement and user retention platform that helps brands create individualized experiences, drive user engagement, and delight customers through intelligent mobile marketing strategies and mobile app metrics. 4. Google Analytics It is a web-based analytics tool offered by Google used to teach website traffic.

Usability Testing/Heatmaps: Heat mapping is nothing but creating a visual representation of how users move around your product, indicating the hottest(most popular) and coolest(least popular) parts on your app or website page. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Usability Testing/Heatmaps, 1. Hotjar It is a behaviour analytics tool used to track user behaviour on your website. It provides analytics through eat maps, session recording and surveys. 2. Fullstory This tool allows you to track a user’s interaction with the website and hence helping you with taking more data-driven decisions to make a better UX.

A/B testing: This is a UX research methodology. In A/B testing an experiment is made with two variants A and B. Both are rolled out to a certain set of users. The better the performance of a variant the better it’s ranking. This test helps determine the better option in case of doubt. Following is the tool or services that can be used for A/B testing, 1. Optimizely Optimizely provides A/B testing and multivariate testing tools, website personalisation and feature toggle capabilities as well as web continent management and digital commerce.

Roadmapping: Roadmapping as the name suggests is a process to convert vision to reality through actions, steps and with the help of resources. It is one of the responsibilities of a PM to build a roadmap for the vision that the company stakeholders have in their minds. Following are the tools or services that can be used for Roadmapping, 1. ProductPlan An easy-to-use tool to create a roadmap towards a vision and track the progress of the team towards it. 2. Roadmunk Similar to ProductPlan, but with add-on features such as customer feedback and roadmap templates.

Tech Stack: It is not mandatory for a PM to code or have immense knowledge of coding. A majority of times all the decisions are data backed it is helpful for a PM to possess the knowledge of databases. This helps in extracting any data out of DB without relying on the data team or other entities. Following is the tool or services that can be used for data extraction, 1. SQL An easy-to-learn language used for storing, manipulating and retrieving data in databases. There are alternatives to all the tools that I have mentioned above in the market. The tools mentioned in the article are more famous and better compared to others. Anyway, it is really helpful for a Product Manager to have knowledge of all those tools as this helps to make one’s life easier. These tools can also be added to your resume which will again boost your interview score.

I hope that this article helps you with the right tool and increases your domain knowledge. Do let me know your views on the topic and if this blog helped you in getting the right tools for your product. Last but not least I have no interest in any financial gains from promoting these tools. This article is purely for your help.

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