Guidebook: Best Product Management Solutions and Tools — A mature landscape 💪
2020 is a year like no other in the memory of a technological player. The Product Management ecosystem has shown remarkable resilience, but also dynamism and acceleration in collaboration methods and practices. Product managers have played a critical role and have become an important part of the success of their companies and products.
Among all the solutions used to overcome everyday challenges, the great champion of collaboration and covid is the Atlassian platform (Confluence, Trello, Jira — Slack integration) which was the collaborative structure of the product and engineering teams during the Coronavirus crisis.
Jira now represents more than 35% market share in project management solutions.
However, as complexity increases and technical possibilities multiply, new alternatives have emerged that promise solutions with complete data integration and automated processes.
Tooling becomes essential to the success of a product, so a whole solution framework must be built by the Product Manager to lead his product to success. This constant search for tooling is made difficult by the choices and possible needs and therefore has no single answer.
In this publication, we will draw up the existing landscape of Product Management solutions with a focus on the most popular ones on the market to guide you towards success.
Main criteria for Product Management software 👷
Product Managers carry out a variety of tasks for different teams, structures vary and it is clear that depending on size certain criteria can import more than one startup to a scale-up or even a corporate.
Culture is crucial and also influences: a large company may be used to using ‘hybrid’ options rather than paying for full SAAS services.
- 💰Budget: Depending on the size of your structure, the maturity of your product, and the need, the cost may be a variable choice.
- 🏈 Collaboration: The explosion of remote-work has highlighted the need for the ability to implement collaborative functions.
- 🕹 Usability: This criteria helps to determine functional consistency. The tool must be able to integrate into existing workflows and offer a range of functionality as required.
- 🛠 Integration: Halfway between functional and technical, integration allows to evaluate if the tool can fit into the process and existing solutions without requiring a long configuration phase.
- 📊 Analytics: The analysis part should facilitate data retrieval or measure performance and impact. It must be flexible enough to be understood and customizable.
- ⛓ Security: Finally, the criterion of protection is paramount, especially if users or confidentials data is manipulated in the tools or uses supported.
These criteria illustrate that the choice is not so simple at first glance and that the tool decision must be carefully considered before using it on a daily basis and becoming dependent on it.
Main areas of product management in 2020
(1) The selection below focuses on tools recognised by the market (2) Arbitrarily placed in a category, some of them offer multiple functional coverage (3) These tools are illustrations, they are not exhaustive
1. User tracking 🏄
To start with, the tools for monitoring and analyzing your users’ journey are a valuable source of knowledge about how your solution is used and the difficulties encountered. Most of them are very simple to install and require a significant amount of effort in setting up the tracking of events generated by your users.
- Pendo, Amplitude, Mixpanel, GoogleAnalytics: User tracking, cohort tracking and behavioral tracking.
- FullStory, Hotjar, UXCam, Mouseflow: Session replay and user journey mapping
2. User Insights 📢
Secondly, understanding your customers and easily analyzing feedback is extremely useful to get quick answers to important questions about your users. You can use surveys or support tools. Two types of insights can be collected, verbatim, and semi-structured feedback.
- Hubspot Services, Zendesk, Instabug, Freshdesk:: Essential customer support tools, providing important sources of insights.
- SurveyMonkey, Survey Anyplace, Typeform, MadMimi, Qualitrics: Analyses and collection of structured ad-hoc feedbacks
3. User Testing 🏹
Analyzing user feedback is essential, succeeding in drawing out experiments and results in the short term is another. This is why a significant wave of AB Testing and performance monitoring solutions exists on the market. Among the latest trends are split testing and progressive test deployment, allowing for on-demand monitoring and activation of functionality.
- LaunchDarkly, adobe Target, Split, Abtasty: Feature deployment and progressive release management for accurate deployments
- CrazyEgg, Optimizely, Apptimize, Wvo, Firebase: AB testing creation and split testing, performance monitoring and suggestions for improvements.
4. Prototyping 🎨
To prove that your product vision and functionality can be translated into something real, design and prototyping solutions are paramount in the construction process.
- Proto.io, Wireframe, Balsamiq, Sketch: For rapid construction of mock-ups and framework
- Figma, Adobe XD, InVision: For end-to-end workflow, animation and UI graphic design creation
5. Roadmaping ⛳️
Roadmap tools allow you to establish, monitor, and maintain your roadmap without requiring a lot of work if not updating the application. Conversely, the traditional Excel file is much less flexible and easy to share and will be more prone to versioning issues that can slow down progress and collaboration on your product.
- Roadmunk, productboard, Productplan: TOo centralize and manage a roadmap with a very intuitive design.
- AHA, Wrike, teamGantt: To build complete roadmaps and project plans including resources, timelines and efforts.
6. Quality Management🍾
The quality management and collection allows ensuring and focus on the most important measures to be controlled during the production phase. These solutions allow avoiding mistakes while following norms and standards.
- Mesmer, Leapwork: For tests and quality checks created from customized user scenarios.
- Ghost inspector, Testbench, Zephyr: To analyze and monitor the quality of the user experience
- Practitest, Testrail: To manage and analyze technical tests and acceptability criteria in an existing structure
7. Feature and task management 🏋
Managing the backlog of stories or features is critical to the collaboration between the product and engineering teams. These solutions enable smooth collaboration and ensure the monitoring of team productivity for the smooth operation and delivery of the versions of your developed product.
- Jira, Trello, Basecamp, Asana, Monday, Quire: Task management between different engineering and product teams
- Sunsama, Todoist: Personal and team management of tasks and note-taking
8. Customer automation 🚨
Simplify the management of customer processes in your product. These automation allow you to track users and guide them in what is essential for the growth of the product and especially for SaaS applications.
- Customer.io, Userengage, Segment: For centralized user management according to the stages of the customer lifecycle.
- MailChimp, Sendinblue, sparkpost, Intercom:To automate notifications and messages throughout the user lifecycle
9. Training and onboarding ✍️
The success of your product depends on onboarding successful users and customers during your deployment. To do this, solutions offer to produce simplified content and to support your users in the use of new functionalities.
- Userpilot, Bonjoro, whatfix: Helping your users to use your services and discover new functions.
- Showpad, Powtoon, Highspot: Present your demos and functionalities in a fun and interactive way.
10. Process Automation ☑️
The larger you are going to be, the more complex and repetitive the tasks are likely to become, it may be difficult to find information quickly or to get answers to your questions. Automation of search and workflow automation becomes crucial to ease the burden of everyday life.
- Station, Slapdash, Commandement E, Qatalog fyi: bring collaboration and documents together in one place with a unified search
- Retool, Bubble, Parabola, Zappier, Ifft: To build automated processes to simplify the daily organization
11. Documentation 📖
The solutions in this category are critical and will allow you to follow internal processes or to enhance collaborative document editing. They disassociate themselves from GSuite and Microsoft Office by focusing on teamwork and the needs around growth and problem-solving.
- Confluence, Notion, Slite,Tettra: Transforming note-taking and organizing your content into fun and beautiful experiences
- Guru, Bloomfire, Slab, Obie: help teams find the information they need and share learning easily
12. Visual management 👀
Teamwork is essential for good product design. Visual management is a means of facilitating problem-solving so that all players can share constraints and stimulate creativity.
- Klaxoon, whimsical, Miro: Managing and animating online workshops using frameworks such as user story mapping, customer Journey, etc.
- Yed, Draw IO, Lucichart: For collaborative workflow design and process construction
13. Agile management 🕰
The prioritisation and selection of features can be complicated, time-consuming and difficult to analyse. In order to do this, tools propose collective approaches to analysis and prioritisation adapted according to the stages and the context.
- Agilean, LeanLoop, AgileStorypoints: Facilitating the collaboration of teams in agile mode with the turnkey tool tool
- Feature Upvote, Productific, Planbox, Ideascale: Identifying and prioritising the choice of features effectively
14. Data management 💯
Without Data, a Product Manager lacks orientation and analysis of cross-functional impacts in the organisation. In order to do this, numerous management and analysis solutions enable the Product Manager to better visualise and understand data management.
- Airtable. Google Sheet, Sheetgo, Coda :for management in spreadsheet mode, to structure and enable on-the-fly analysis
- SiSensi, Tableau, Qlik : for advanced analysis in business intelligence mode
Best solutions for Product Management💁
The ecosystem and tooling is therefore broad and offers many possible combinations.
It should be noted that the vast majority of solutions are SaaS, some of them with very complete freemium formulas allowing you to test the compatibility of the functionalities with your needs.
Each piece of this landscape is essential for the construction and overall coherence of your product strategy. Without a roadmap no coherent task management, without customer knowledge, no prototype tools to adapt the experience, and finally without documentation no agile management tool. Overall the best approach is to equip yourself with one or more tools that will cover several of your critical areas.
This year’s best-sellers are Atlassian Notion and Asana, which offer more and more functionalities covering several domains. However, be careful of the strong return of Adobe and Microsoft who are investing in order to satisfy design and project management uses.
Notable mergers and acquisitions 🚀
To conclude and Aas a reminder that this ecosystem is gaining more weight, you will find below some recent fundraising and M&A announcements:
→ Rocket score importance 🚀
- Airtable raises $185M and launches new low-code automation 🚀🚀🚀
- Atlassian acquires Halp to bring Slack integration to the forefront 🚀🚀🚀
- Miro lands $50M Series B for digital whiteboard as demand surges 🚀🚀
- Design startup Figma could be worth 2-billions 🚀
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