Tips for effective PM Tool implementation

So, you realized that your current SW tools do not cover important aspects of your work, such as roadmap and product strategy. You also realized that the presentations that sometimes are used to capture those artifacts are not easy to manage. Therefore, you decided to introduce a tool built for Product Managers (if you have not decided yet, see “Should you use a Product Management tool?”). This requires a change in the way your Product Management team works and impacts other teams as well. How do you make this transition smooth and start enjoying the tool’s benefits?

Before you start

Tip #1 – Lead the change

It is not easy for most people to change the way they work.  People make their actions into habits and soon they get comfortable with what they do.  Transitioning into using Product Management tools we need to realize that we are about to encounter resistance to change.  This resistance takes many shapes and forms.   Some Product Managers will just avoid the issue all together, “so what if the roadmap is in Power Point and nobody knows what is the most up to date version…”

To make the transition happen, someone has to lead the change.  If it is not the Head of Product Management, assign one of the Product Managers to lead the change.

Tip #2 – Obtain Management support

This is generally true for any significant transition that you want to lead. In the case of introduction of a Product Management tool, highlight the benefits for Management:

  • Better visibility – Management can always have a look at the most up-to-date artifacts, such as your roadmap, personas and competitive analysis.
  • Product execution alignment with strategy – using best product practices and making it easier to understand the status of each product – resulting in a more effective and focused Product team.

This issue can be key to your success with the Product Tool implementation project, so it is extremely important that you identify and conduct one on one meetings with key stakeholders to ensure their support.

Tip #3 – select the right Product Management tool for your organization

Over the last few years, several Product Management tools have been evolving – Aha!, ProdPad, Product Plan, ProductBoard, Craft and others. Some of these tools provide full product cycle coverage while others are focused on certain aspects such as roadmap or the business side. Some tools have more capabilities and are more flexible while others may be simpler and easier to use. The decision should be based on the goals you want to achieve – for example, strategy definition, better prioritization, transparency, improved communication with other teams.

Tip #4 – Onboard your Product Management team

The Product team is key to the success of the tool implementation. If the tool does not provide value to them, they will not use it. The challenge is that to enjoy the benefits, they need to invest some initial work.

Show them how the tool will help them be more effective by enabling them to focus on adding value to their product and providing an easy, structured process from strategy to execution. Start with time consuming activities (e.g. periodic management reports) that can be done much faster and easier using a Product Management tool to show value quickly.

The next step is to start the implementation. See our next post for tips regarding how to manage the implementation process.

StarVision helps companies implementing Product Management tools, ensuring smooth transition, short implementation time and effective implementation.