The Best Product Management Tools for Product Managers
Accountants have Excel, Salespeople have Salesforce, and Product teams have… just about everything else. Let's face it - our work life is run by tools. Whether you're in B2B, B2C or even C2C, it's likely your team's techstack involves at least 2-3 different tools you can't or don't want to live without. It's understandable as to why: a well-formed, cross-functional team is expected to discover how to solve a user’s problem, solve it, and then figure out a fair exchange of value from there, which naturally comes with many tasks that must be managed.
Currently, no single tool on the market is able to serve all these needs, and perhaps for the best. If one single product is able to do all of these things, it's probably not doing any of them particularly well. This is why product teams are left to choose from a breadth of available tools in order to serve each of these jobs-to-be-done (JTBD).
As a Product Leader, you want to equip your team with the best tools to help them succeed at their jobs. In the spirit of works on modern product teams like "Continuous Discovery" by Teresa Torres and "The Build Trap" by Melissa Perri, we've carved out 5 JTBD categories (as well as a bonus JTBD) to explore.
For each JTBD, we will have three buckets of tools:
1. The Manual Way: gets the job done but requires additional time and effort
2. The Tried & True
3. The Up-and-Comer
JTBD 1: Problem Discovery
Understand customer pain points you’re uniquely positioned to solve
Manual: Reach out to people in your CRM, schedule meetings individually, and hopefully incentivize them adequately to talk to you 🤞
Tried & True: Userzoom
Userzoom has a pool of over 120 million participants directly on the platform, ensuring you get the quality and quantity of data you need. Along with automated reporting, video transcription, heatmaps and video tags, they have a special QXscore that is able to measure and quantify the users' attitudes and behaviors into a standardized score on a 100-point scale.
Up-and-Comer: Hotjar Engage (fka PingPong) or tl;dv
Hotjar Engage lets you easily schedule, run, record, and share user interviews. You can do this by inviting your own users, or accessing Hotjar's pool of over 175,000 testers. You'll be able to highlight key moments of your video call with instant markers and add notes as you go, creating clips that your team can access quickly.
tl;dv lets you automatically record and transcribe Google meet and Zoom calls for free. Similar to other video transcription tools, you're able to create tags for important moments of the call, and share these via links automatically to Slack and email, as well as integrate them into CRM tools like Hubspot or Salesforce.
JTBD 2: Solution Discovery
Find your way toward problem<>solution fit
Manual: Ship it and hope your metrics go up and to the right 🤷
Tried & True: UserTesting
UserTesting allows you to quickly collect feedback from your customers on any experience (websites, prototypes, IoT, etc.) analyze the results, and share findings. You can watch what they do and hear their feedback within a few hours, either on an individual basis or as a summarized analysis.
Maze is a rapid testing platform that gives you actionable user insights in a matter of hours. Collect in-context product feedback with surveys, run cards sorts and easily integrate into your existing toolset like Figma, AdobeXD, Invision, Amplitude and others. Automated reporting to stakeholders is available for each project that's collecting data, so that the entire feedback collection process is seamless and continuous.
JTBD 3: Outline Commitments
Communicate what’s coming to best equip your stakeholders
Manual: GANTT charts via spreadsheets and Confluence pages
Tried & True: Monday.com or ProductPlan
Monday.com is a cloud-based work OS that acts as an open platform where anyone can create and shape the tools they need to run every aspect of their work. By combining building blocks, like apps and integrations, organizations can build or customize whatever they need to improve the way their business runs. Companies can dump their data into the OS and product teams can create custom views to help them prioritize what to build and how to build depending on their needs.
ProductPlan lets you plan, visualize, and share product information by creating roadmaps that can be easily shared across teams. You can see how multiple product plans within the company fit together, as well as descriptions for each product and its history, thus improving clarity between departments.
Up-and-Comer: ProductBoard or the simple Now-Next-Later framework using a tool of your choice
ProductBoard helps you capture problems, feedback and user research, organize feature ideas, plan releases, and share interactive roadmaps all in one place. The prioritization tools help you take advantage of the feedback source data and map effort vs. value, helping you create confidence in data-driven product decisions.
JTBD 4: Keep the Wheels Moving
Manage the delivery side of customer value
Manual: Write long Product Requirements docs, break it into chunks, map each chunk in a spreadsheet to an owner and its current status 🥴
Tried & True: JIRA
JIRA is perhaps the most well-known issue and project tracker for teams. It captures and organizes issues, assigns work, and follows team activity throughout the development process, and helps visualize the velocity at which the team is building so you can plan upcoming cycles of work more accurately.
Linear is an issue tracker with an approachable and clean UI/UX that makes managing tasks across the team easy to track. It integrates with GitHub and Figma to embed task statuses directly in the tool, and allows users to create custom views that filter for tasks based on your set criteria.
JTBD 5: Evaluate Performance
Understand how well what you shipping is solving a worth problem for your customer
Manual: Hope that you captured every event you need via your front-end or back-end, write queries to fetch the events you need, and design custom data visualizations that people can somewhat understand
Tried & True: Mixpanel or Amplitude
Mixpanel helps companies understand user behavior with user analytics that track and analyze user behavior on websites and mobile applications. In addition, Mixpanel offers tools for segmentation, engagement, and retention analysis, making it easy to extract relevant insights.
Amplitude offers real-time analytics, cross-platform tracking and behavioral analytics. They have a flexible query builder that allows users self-service visibility into the entire customer journey. Results are easy to share with various stakeholders, who can then slice and dice the results further to generate their own reports.
June is a product analytics tool for B2B SaaS with ready-made reports of all your main metrics ready in seconds, so there's no need to build dashboards from scratch. It's simple interface makes it easy for everyone on the team to understand what is happening, and be able to create their own templates and funnels to track.
Manual: Find people from your CRM whom you suspect have used what you shipped, ask them to meet, and observe their use of the product over screen share 😵💫
Tried & True: Hotjar or Fullstory
Hotjar is an all-in-one analytics and feedback tool that provides product experience insights into how users behave and what they feel strongly about. It lets you observe user behavior through heatmaps that represent where users click, move and scroll on your site; and recordings of user visits that include mouse movements, u-turns, and rage clicks.
Fullstory is a web-based digital intelligence system that helps optimize the client experience. It enables users to track and monitor each customer activity. From clicks to page transitions, everything is indexed and is then accessible to the entire team, helping them drive better business decisions.
Sprig helps product teams collect user feedback by embedding research throughout critical moments in the product development process. Sprig lets you quickly get feedback on your designs and run continuous in-product surveys to understand what's working and not working with currently available features and products.
Bonus JTBD: Advocate for Next Steps
Present results to stakeholders and make your case for the future direction you believe in.
Manual: Write up a multi-page report presenting all your findings. Hope people respond in the comments 📝
Tried & True: Present Google Slides in a meeting
Up-and-Comer: Present Pitch slides in a Loom, then engage in meaningful, actionable discussion after everyone has context
Pitch is a collaborative presentation software with a focus on real-time collaboration, smart workflows, and intuitive design features. Equipped with contemporary templates and styles, even non-designers can express themselves with a clean, professional manner that resonates to the audience. You can easily embed personality into the presentation via GIFs, images, and icons, and remain data-driven by importing up-to-date data from Google Sheets and Analytics.
Loom is a video communication platform built for async work. You can record your screen, add voice over, live stream, and share videos for others to view and collaborate, then track the viewing analytics and real-time comments to collect feedback.
With so many great tools out there, it's impossible to capture all the ones a product team needs to continually build and ship new customer value. We've tried our best to list out some favorites for each JTBD category, but we acknowledge that we likely let some slip through the cracks. Don't hesitate to DM us on LInkedIn or email us at email@example.com with the latest and greatest.