Ideation, planning, forecasting, production, decision-making, marketing, and more: These are the recurrent terms found in a Product Manager’s job description. Sounds overwhelming, right? You’re part of multiple teams, managing stakeholders, expectations, and requirements — all while holding onto the product vision and process. It’s a juggling act that seems to require supernatural time management and planning skills. And some great product management tools.
Like the ol’ magician’s bag, every good Product Manager has a set of go-to tools and tricks to keep all the balls in the air. What are these instruments and how can they make you a better Product Manager? We’ve curated a list of the best product management tools industry experts swear by, and which can help you excel in your role.
Skip to the type of tool you need here:
- Project Management Tools
- Analytics Tools
- Customer Survey Tools
- Roadmapping Tools
- Design and Wireframing Tools
- User Tracking Tools
Everyone needs a solution to organize their workload, whether that be big teams or a small outfit of two. Efficient planning and collaboration just can’t happen without a proper project management platform.
There are many project management solutions out there, but some are better than others. Better UX and personalization options are some of the features many Product Managers appreciate the most, which is what makes the following favorites so popular.
Why PMs love it: Easy customization and A to Z management.
Gantt charts, Kanban boards, lists, and columns: Wrike can do it all, and these options for customization are what make it excellent for mixed teams with unique workflow needs.
You can control how your tasks are organized, assign and approve work within the platform, communicate via comments, the inbox, and even send out email blasts to entire departments. Wrike makes it easy for PMs to manage the entire lifeline of a project from start to finish, even allowing for document storage within folders.
Best of all? It’s one of the most cost-effective project management tools out there today.
Why PMs love it: Everything at your fingertips.
One of the most popular product management tools in the game, this veteran’s Kanban boards have helped countless teams organize and prioritize their tasks seamlessly. Trello’s platform might seem simplistic to the user with more complex demands, but it is this very quality that makes it easy to use.
Its straightforwardness also means that anyone and everyone can use Trello to:
- Plan a project
- Keep track of who is doing what through tags
- See all the working parts of a project through lists on the board
The possibilities are endless for all the things you can use Trello for and small businesses with simple requirements can even use it free for life.
Why PMs love it: Makes it easy to break down big tasks into manageable pieces.
“Stay on track, keep projects organized, and hit deadlines”, is Asana’s promise, and it delivers just that. Need to arrange everything in a list or Kanban board? Check. Need to tag coworkers on tasks and notify them? Check. Need to prioritize tasks and set deadlines: There’s nothing this app can’t do. Hundreds of companies use it to plan workflows and tasks, including Google and NASA.
It goes without saying that Product Managers need analytics. Forecasts just don’t cut it; you need to measure the state of the product, see what users are doing and clicking on, and track user behavior — these metrics are crucial for the ultimate success of a product.
What makes an analytics tool better than the other? The following top tools can give you a clue.
4. Google Analytics
Why PMs love it: Easy to use for newbies and the more seasoned.
Google Analytics (GA) is a free website analytics service that helps website owners or admins view data related to their website traffic and activity. With GA, Project Managers can:
- See how many people visit your website by page, date, and even hour, whether that be unique visits or return users.
- Learn where your website traffic is coming from, which can also help you measure the success of your marketing campaigns.
- View visitor demographic data to see whether your product appeals to your target market.
- Provide insight on what people do on your website.
- Track conversions on your website.
Why PMs love it: In-depth analytics with a user-friendly interface.
Mixpanel is popular among Product Managers because it allows you to answer complex questions such as an app or website’s most popular features, why users convert, and why they come back for more.
Mixpanel allows PMs to track events, create sales funnels and see trends in a more targeted way than tools like Google Analytics.
Why PMs love it: Originally intended for product teams.
Though Pendo has evolved its toolkit over time to suit a wide variety of teams, its core intent to help organizations that require product usage information makes it a powerful platform that fulfills their unique data requirements.
Product teams can use it for:
- User onboarding
- Customer retention
- Tracking customer sentiment
- Gathering user feedback
- Feature adoption
- Upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.
As simple an approach as it may seem, there is rarely anything more effective when it comes to learning about your customers than asking them questions.
Customer surveys give your product users a voice, allowing them to share with your their concerns, wishes, and even positive feedback. But a simple question and answer format can be annoying and unexciting for your customer, not to mention how tedious the compilation and synthesis of answers would be. A tool can make this process much easier.
Some of the most popular customer survey tools Product Managers use include:
Why PMs love it: An intuitive and flexible feedback platform.
Delighted is an easy-to-use survey platform that makes use of proven methodologies such as NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), and PMF (Product market fit) to gather feedback from products. What’s also great about it is that it can be used to conduct surveys through multiple channels including:
- In-app surevys
- Email surveys
- Web surveys
- SMS surveys
- Link surveys
This versatility coupled with in-depth analysis and reporting makes it a go-to for many of the most-loved companies the product world, including Uber, Slack, and Instacart, just to name a few. Delighted enables them to gather actionable feedback in no time.
8. Survey Monkey
Why PMs love it: Easy to use.
Survey Monkey is one of the oldest customer survey platforms, an experience which has enabled them to improve and fine-tune their core features. It offers plans for both personal use and business, which means everything from the simplest templates to more complicated questionnaires can be built on the platform.
It’s a hassle-free tool to use for customers, and businesses on a budget will appreciate its free and affordable pricing packages.
Creating strategic roadmaps is crucial for PMs who want to visualize and track key milestones in the product creation and improvement process. It keeps teams aligned with workflow processes and the project scope. Luckily, there are tools that make all these tasks easier. Some of which are:
Why PMs love it: Easy to customize and share plans.
Aha is a roadmap software that allows product management teams to create custom visual timelines for projects and share them with each other. It makes roadmapping from start to finish easy for PMs with the ability to create and modify schedules and reports. Most teams say it is easy to use and customize, even for the most complex projects.
10. Product Plan
Why PMs love it: Visually attractive and shareable roadmaps.
This tool does just what it says on the tin: Help teams plan A to Z of their product creation. It’s best known for its visual layouts making it an ideal tool for Product Managers who prefer a simple drag-and-drop user interface.
Product Plan is a robust web-based tool with many features which teams with unique needs can take advantage of. It can also be integrated into various project management tools such as Asana and Jira.
While a pencil, paper, or a whiteboard for brainstorming has an old-school charm to it, the truth is that these methods are not the most efficient. Many Product Managers are now turning to UI design and wireframing tools to help them with their brainstorming.
Some of the most popular tools in the market that can be indispensable to you in your PM role include:
Why PMs love it: Product-design oriented.
Sketch is one of the oldest tools in the market for creating mockups. It helps users prototype, collaborate, and visualize user journeys — a vital process in product development. Some of its well-thought-out features include easy sharing and collaboration with the ability to receive feedback, the ability to install plugins and integrations with numerous platforms, and testing and iteration via prototype links.
Why PMs love it: In-person collaboration on a whiteboard.
Miro is a UI wireframe and web development tool that lets product owners and managers collaborate on an online whiteboard through digital sticky notes. It can be used for anything from planning to managing workflows, plus it can integrate seamlessly with tools such as Dropbox, Box, Google Suite, JIRA, Slack, and Sketch.
Its user interface makes it the perfect tool for remote teams as it allows them to engage and collaborate on the whiteboard at the same time.
Testing and iterations are crucial aspects of any product’s design, be it software or otherwise. Thorough research and assessment of your design is a must, and sometimes tools like Google Analytics don’t go in-depth enough.
That’s why Product Managers use special tools to monitor how users interact with their site and measure the user experience. Some of the best tools for this in the market are:
Why PMs love it: All-in-one analytics and feedback.
As its name suggests, Hotjar is a user tracking tool that uses heat maps to track website visitor activity. It also has the option of recording user sessions to display and analyze a visitor’s activity. It monitors clicks, mouse movements, and taps, which helps product owners identify usability issues.
And if monitoring your user does not give you the answers you need, you can simply create a targeted survey to hear it from the users themselves.
Why PMs love it: Real and quick human insight.
The more you look at your product, the less you can actually see or experience it as an “outsider”. This is the bane of many a product-design process, and any good Product Manager is careful not to design a product for other experts, and rather for the user.
UserTesting (The Human Insight Tool) is a simple but invaluable tool in this process. It gives real insight into your product by recording first-hand videos of new users interacting with it. Product Managers can create test plans to ask questions or request that specific tasks be performed on or with their products. They can then improve their product after watching the result.
Did We Miss Your Favorite Product Management Tool?
That’s our round-up of some of the best product management tools you should have in your arsenal. Do you now see how other Product Managers are doing it? Pick a few handy tools from the above list, make them your go-to, and you can bring exceptional products from conception to launch that much easier.
Want to combine the right product managemnt tools and knowledge to accelerate your Product Manager career? Check out our free training classes and tutorials to learn the skills you need to land the PM role of your dreams.