Being a product manager is many jobs put into one. You have to be a great organizer, communicator, presenter, visionary, advocate and more.
Sometimes you gotta do the day to day mundane tasks of calling, messaging or checking in with every one in person asking about their progress. Other times you gotta inspire a room full of software engineers to make them believe in the product so they put in their best after an already long and exhausting marathon.
Luckily there are many tools out there that can help you with these daunting tasks.
Before we go on listing the best 10 products out there, there are some things to consider.
- Cost Concerns: depending on your budget and whether you work at a small company or a large one, your allocated budget will differ widely and you may not be able to afford some paid for services.
- Team Decision: many of these tools are for your whole team to use. Some are more user friendly than others. Find out if your team is ok with using less than pretty looking interfaces.
- Data Matters: when going down the free tools route, keep in mind issues of data privacy. Many free software systems and tools are free because they mine, collect and sell some part of your data.
TOP TEN TOOLS
Google Analytics, Google Sheets the whole package. It is free and ubiquitous so maybe it does not need stating but Google products can take you a long way there. Data will be your friend as a PM and you need to figure out your preferred method of storing, analyzing and presenting it in the best possible way. If you would like something fancier than Google for your data needs, try Airtable.
As a PM one of the most important skills you will practice day in and day out is prioritizing. While you can prioritize in your mind’s palace all you want (Sherlock reference, anyone?) it always helps to put it all out there on the screen. Trello is useful for keeping everyone accountable and also helping you identify any roadblocks or things that simply are dragging the project down. Some alternatives to Trello may be Productific or Craft
Roadmunk is all about roadmapping. Roadmapping is how you keep yourself and your team on track while keeping the management and the customers happy at the negotiation table. If Roadmunk does not work for you, you can try out ProductPlan or AHA.
This one is as the name suggests for prototyping. You may see the light end of the tunnel being the visionary that you are but you gotta show it to the people around you as well. Prototyping tools help you with that. Just keep in mind the usability aspect. We also recommend InVision or Adobe XD but there are many others out there.
If you use sprints then you will love Bonfire. (For those newby PMs out there a sprint is “a set period of time during which specific tasks must be completed.” courtesy of Google.) As an alternative consider Agilean or Planbox if you would like multiple teams to work together on the cloud.
This one comes with a note, it is not for every team. JIRA is a great tool for helping you with task management, but it is designed for agile teams (that’s literally their motto on their homepage) So keep that in mind when considering this one.
Coda works well with Google sheets and it is a much more user friendly interface especially if you are working with or accumulating large sets of data over the course of weeks, months etc.
This is one of the most popular customer service tools out there and it is for good reason. Keep in mind even though there are alternatives to zendesk there are not really any good free options.
This is a beautifully designed organization tools to get everything you are working on organized. It works really well with many different platforms so you can embed projects from a variety of different sites like Google docs or directly transfer your stuff to webflow for the website you are working on.
The roadmap you developed in the beginning, do not let it be a foe rather than a friend. If things are not working, it is best to change things up as fast as possible, preventing too much of a time and money waste. Freshservice is one of the best product management tools out there to get you back on track.
Lastly as a bonus category, there are many different tools to manage customer communication. This largely depends on whether you would like to use in app communication, emails, surveys, forms or other types of media. Some of the most well known tools in this category are SurveyMonkey, MailChimp, Google Forms, Instabug, UXCam. If you wanna kind of a bit of everything then you should check out InterCom