I requested my product owner today that I want to use these tools as they facilitate agile delivery. And this suggestion was put down saying, “Justify this investment by explaining how it will benefit the business”
I am like silent from last 3 hours.
I am tech product manager from last 4 years and have been struggling to manage product roadmap.
I don’t know how to answer him. But I am damn sure that these tools will help us to manage product better.
It’s a B2B saas product.
We use Google spreadsheets to manage everything (please don’t kill me for this confession)
If you can’t articulate the problem that you have with Google Sheets and can’t articulate how buying Jira or Asana will solve those problems then it’s hard to justify the investment.
Just start by writing down the problems you face when using Google Sheets for everything and go from there.
This is brilliant. I have like tons of issues and the thing is that I never wrote them down. The problems are many and they are sort of invisible because they are not written. Hence I will write them down one by one and share with the product owner.
As annoying as writing things down can be, it’s often necessary. You need to prove to yourself that you know the things that you want to change. Then you can find the right way to change them.
I think you’re probably right about needing something besides Google Sheets, by the way.
One thing I have my PMs do is once they aggregate issues/points is then group them into themes and then rank them. When you’re trying to convince people it’s good to have the details for support but terrible to lead a discussion. For example you might have a bunch of things that point to where google sheets breaks down the process and you can group them into delivery or delay issues.
A tool by itself will never solve the problem. It’s how you use it that will solve problems.
So the question is: how are you going to use any of these tools? And then: why is this usage not possible or inconvenient in Sheets?
All the best!
Absolutely. First I am beginning to collate points and then group them into themes.
Yes. This is exactly the question he is asking. I want to use the tool for ticketing, UAT and user stories. Also, i read somewhere that there’s a feature to automate some flows. I am the bottle neck at the moment for many of these things which I can automate.
Look into using a less functional tool like Trello (which has free tiers) as a proof of concept. A lot of what you want can be accomplished there. Take that to your manager and show them the benefits of it and they will be probably immediately sold on it. Then explain to them that Trello sucks compared to Jira and explain the amount of reporting data, burndowns etc that you get from Jira that can lead to cost savings in the future, especially if your team grows. Right now it sounds like your team is basically working blind and the ability to track these workflows would be huge.
If QA is important, show them Zephyr Scale, which allows you to create different test scripts and properly track and log test defects. If QA is not important, then make it important.
I love your last line. Currently the QA is not a definitive role. But we do have plans to hire one experienced QA.
Also it’s a brilliant idea to start with a proof of concept. It will back my recommendation with facts and data.
I used trello to organize my study schedule. Let me give it a short spin too.
Having a dedicated QA, even if it’s one person, is HUGE. For the first 6 months or so in my product manager role I was doing basically all the QA myself along with one guy from our operations team, but it was a distraction from our actual work and our normal work and quality suffered. In early December I hired a QA analyst and it has been genuinely life-changing. We’re launching products with far fewer issues, we’ve got test automations set up, we can actually do end to end and regression testing. I cannot recommend having a dedicated QA strongly enough.
I cannot agree more with you. Even I spent my entire time in doing work of QA and BA. Hence I am a bottle neck for my team. I will definitely hire one before 15th Feb. That’s my personal goal. Org has instructed to hire by 31st March
As someone who did have access to a product management tool but the team wanted to use a google doc, I can say as a former PO the use of the google doc is tedious and can get messy really quick. This is what I have found. Also things get lost or work you thought was completed was not. It’s just easier to track in a product management tool. This can be a good argument.
It is like performing a cost-benefit analysis.
Think of it from the decision maker’s perspective. The PO has to justify investing that amount for a tool.
What are the value additions by using the tool? What are the time/ effort savings you are proposing by using that tool?
How will having that additional time help you create more value for the company?
There’ll be other questions like this. If you are able to justify the value that these potential tools can generate, a reasonable person may agree with your request.
I appreciate for sharing such a structured argument. Thank you so much
I think you have a great degree of empathy. I should be able to put myself in his shoes and think. I have a lot of homework to do here and the comments are just helping me. Thank you so much.
One thing to consider is that tools like GitHub and GitLab have issue tracking that might give you some options and the org might already be paying for them. Not sure how much pain procurement is, but I’d consider experimenting with them.
On devops side we do use gitlab as it is free and has lot of options for unlimited users. Life is unimaginable without it.
Again, depending on what you need, it could be easier to go from a Google sheet to this: Issues | GitLab
This is amazing. Never thought it exists. Thank you very much