A Product Manager owns a large set of activities: vision analysis, feature definition, sprint articulation and roadmap detailing to name a few. All of them should be iterated again and again. In many companies, these processes are managed in several different tools.
Many R&D teams use dedicated software management tools such as Jira to manage the development activities. However, most product teams do not use a dedicated tool to manage product activities. While there are many tools that can help manage short-term product activities, general tools do not help manage longer term, strategic product activities effectively.
There are currently several software tools in the market (e.g. Aha!, ProdPad, Craft and more) which capture the product processes and the data they define, allowing for single place of truth for the entire product management processes or part of it. This allows for better and more efficient control, saves time, and enables creation of a better products.
Product Management tools provide a framework for defining your product strategy. This enables product managers to focus on the strategy definition, helps them to ensure all strategic elements are covered and to set product goals.
Based on the strategic definitions, product managers can create a roadmap to achieve the goals, define features, prioritize them and associate them with releases. Some of the tools provide a mechanism to gather ideas from internal and external sources – the product manager decides which ideas will become features and which will be discarded.
Align strategy and execution
Product managers can link releases and features to the goals so that prioritization will be done considering the strategy. As a result, product managers are less likely to lose the big picture under the pressure of day-to-day challenges.
Streamline product processes
Product Management tools allow product teams to follow a product methodology, implemented using the tools. The tools offer generic product processes – these should be customized to your company’ specific needs and workflows.
In cases where the current work processes are suboptimal, introducing a product management tool can bring order to the processes and make product processes more effective.
Single repository for product information
In many cases, product information is spread in various tools, documents, presentation and excel sheets, resulting in some cases in working according to a document that is not updated. Product Management tools can be a single, up-to-date repository for product information.
Product Management tools allow visibility of product information and status to all relevant stakeholders (Management, R&D, Customer support, etc.), who can log in to the system and view the desired information. In addition, Product Management Tools enable generating reports and make it easier to share product information and updates.
Product Management tools can help product managers be more effective and focus on adding value to their products. As a result, they can shorten time-to-market and help creating better products.
While implementation of a Product Management Tools involves setup effort (customizing the tools to the product processes that work best for your company), StarVision believe the value exceeds the cost and therefore recommends using a Product Management tool. In the coming posts we will review some of the popular tools and provide more information that will help you choose which of the tools is suitable for you.