What tools do you use for Product Management?

I have 15 years of experience in product management and learned most of my skills from business administration books. Today, the profession is more standardized and professional, with consulting companies offering frameworks for product management and development. Tools like ProductFolio, ProductPlan, and ClickUp have emerged to guide product managers through their workday. However, the complexity of the job makes it difficult to believe these tools are helpful.

I would like to know if any of you use such a tool? E.g. ProductFolio, ProductPlan or ClickUp, etc.

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Yes, it is simple with the appropriate tools.

Making a selection is difficult. requires many diverse viewpoints. When making a selection, it is important to consider various perspectives and gather input from different individuals. This helps in ensuring a comprehensive and well-rounded decision-making process. Additionally, incorporating diverse viewpoints can lead to more innovative and creative solutions.

Our ‘stack’ was chosen by myself. Before settling on the one we use now, we went through three different ones. In my opinion, adopting a “get more done with less” mentality is the best course of action. By exploring multiple options and considering different perspectives, we were able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each ‘stack’ before making a final decision. This approach not only allowed us to select the most suitable one for our needs but also encouraged collaboration and fostered a sense of ownership among team members. Ultimately, embracing an efficient mindset helped us streamline our processes and maximize productivity.

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I’m not sure I completely understand the advantages of the different frameworks. Finding the upcoming changes and modifications that are most crucial is a PM’s responsibility. The best approach I’m aware of is: Ask customers or users about their problems. Determine which pains are most common among the clients you interviewed. To ensure that your interviewers are representative of the user population as a whole, distribute a brief survey. Create features to address the most pressing issues. You are “doing good PM” if you consistently accomplish this and inform stakeholders of the research findings and the plan.

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I do comprehend, @Pankaj-Jain. Even though I’ve only had the position for two years, the company I work for has very outdated procedures.

I learned about the position from coworkers who are 20 or older, and they give a description that is comparable to yours and the OP’s. There is no magic involved; simply perform X and compare the results with Y to determine Z. The best guideline to follow is common sense, as my coworker truly says.

He’s fortunate that he wasn’t recently terminated because common sense these days won’t take you very far in interviews.

I’ve been doing interviews for a very long time, and fortunately, I still have a job, so I can see how data science has largely replaced product management as the dominant discipline. There are many PMs who serve two purposes, and I just cannot compete with them.

Like @Pankaj-Jain , I was influenced by social media and did everything I could to increase my chances by learning new frameworks, listening to influencers, and modernizing my language. However, as data science is constantly prioritized over business administration principles, I don’t see any change.

However, this is just my incredibly personal experience. Please use it as a guide only!

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I tend to agree @DianneStinger, but I believe that because frameworks are so evident, you end up defining them even when you don’t name them. Always keep in mind that frameworks are simply models that compile several concepts into something that can be shared or used.

Frameworks are models that package ideas into something that can be discussed or applied. They should not become the process itself, but rather expand the range of thinking. The process used to take an organization from A to B should blend the models in the right way. Emphasizing models in an offsite or explicit effort to change how a PM team operates is appropriate. For example, the jobs-to-be done framework has a specific context designed to disrupt thinking. Having frameworks to sense-check your own thinking is useful. Marketing frameworks like the 4Ps can help contextualize go-to-market work, but they are not tools to directly drive your process. Process is often used, but PM culture tends to eschew the term while not acknowledging its implicit existence.

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I concur with you @LawrenceMartin. It’s crucial for a team or organization to use a standardized process for comprehending problems and outlining potential solutions. Regarding the initial question or comment of the OP, I wonder if mentioning a specific framework could improve or worsen a PM’s chances of landing a position at a specific organization. What I’m trying to say is, if there are 13 or 14 prominent frameworks, and you mention one during an interview at business G but they don’t use it, will you still get the job? My preferred approach is to first determine the overall objective, then list and prioritize the user and customer pain points, and only then build features to address the pain areas. Would it be better to say, “I’m aware of a dozen frameworks, and they all get to the same end”?

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There is no magic solution, and choosing a tool that complements your ideal process is very different from using the tool as the foundation of your approach. Numerous tools claim to have excellent intrinsic processes or the adaptability to manage any process into which they are put, in my experience. But when forced to take into account the specific quirks of a single organization, they fall short. Excel is the only tool I’ve found that is actually adaptable enough to manage any workflow.

Having said that, I believe that tools have their uses. They are very useful for gathering and organizing feedback and user analytics data, in my opinion. We presently utilize Aha, Dovetail, and Hotjar (of which I have both positive and negative opinions). I mostly have good things to say about Pendo as well.

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@WhitneyChard, we’re implementing Dovetail as well, so I’m curious how it fits into your product-making process and feedback loop.

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Well @AnaRodriguez, each user calls, and the majority of our workshops are fed into Dovetail. Following that, either product or design will review the transcripts and tag the pertinent areas, depending on who controls the session. Both teams do this frequently, and usually there are conversations in the comments about the insights produced. Then, as needed, we draw on such revelations, using direct quotations when applicable.

These calls are also stored in it, and the best ones are used in the onboarding processes for new employees.

It can be tedious to tag. In order to reduce the user’s burden, I believe Dovetail can be improved by assisting in the tagging of pertinent content. Before diving too further into it, I’d advise thinking through the kinds of tags you want to use. We can surely do better in this area because not all tags are applied equally.

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Wonderful @WhitneyChard. In order to drive operational and business projects and adjustments, I’m currently working to finalize a flow that allows for an organization-wide research repository so that sales, operations, and other teams can mix feedback and items that can be converted into insights for product consideration. It also integrates a more specialized product management tool to give us a space to do our feedback, triage, and discovery before pushing items to linear for engineering executives.

How is Dovetail used in conjunction with Aha?

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The choice of a specific tool for product management ultimately depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the dynamics of your team and organization. Each tool has its own set of features and capabilities that might align better with your requirements. I’ll provide a brief overview of the tools you mentioned and some considerations to help you make an informed decision.

  1. ProductFolio:

    • ProductFolio is designed for product roadmapping and portfolio management. It helps in visualizing and planning your product strategy, aligning stakeholders, and managing multiple products or projects.
  2. ProductPlan:

    • ProductPlan is a product roadmap tool that helps you create and share visual roadmaps. It allows for collaboration, prioritization, and tracking progress of your product development.
  3. ClickUp:

    • ClickUp is a comprehensive project management tool that supports various aspects of project and product management. It includes features for task management, time tracking, goal setting, collaboration, and more.

To determine which tool is the best fit for you, consider the following factors:

  • Functionality and Features:
    Evaluate the features of each tool and compare them with your specific needs in product management. Consider aspects like roadmapping, collaboration, integration capabilities, analytics, and ease of use.

  • Team Collaboration:
    Consider the collaboration capabilities of the tool and how well it facilitates communication and coordination within your product team and with other stakeholders.

  • Scalability and Flexibility:
    Assess the scalability and flexibility of the tool to adapt to the size of your team and the complexity of your projects. Make sure the tool can grow with your needs.

  • Integration with Existing Systems:
    Check if the tool integrates well with other tools and systems your team is already using. Seamless integration can improve workflow efficiency.

  • User Interface and Ease of Use:
    Consider the user interface and ease of use of each tool. An intuitive interface can enhance productivity and adoption among your team.

  • Cost and Budget:
    Compare the pricing models of each tool and determine which one fits within your budget while providing the necessary features.

  • User Reviews and Recommendations:
    Read user reviews and seek recommendations from industry peers or colleagues who have used these tools. Real-world experiences can provide valuable insights.

Ultimately, it’s advisable to try out demos or trial versions of the tools to get a firsthand experience of how they work and how well they align with your product management workflow. You may find that a combination of tools or a customized approach utilizing different aspects of multiple tools may be the most effective solution for your needs.

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Dovetail is now standalone; it doesn’t seamlessly connect with aha. We must transform the Dovetail lessons into aha ideas and features.

Having said that, I have utilized Gong in a way that appears to be comparable to what you’re describing in a previous capacity. Making it as simple as possible for the non-product stakeholders (sales, cs) to give us feedback was crucial. They were already using Gong, which was really crucial, so we asked them to just add the tag “feedback” to any chats that addressed providing feedback on products. The responsibility for reviewing the calls and looking up the feedback tag in the future fell on the product. Although it was still manual, it was successful because those teams adopted it easily.

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Lovely. Yes, our sales team uses Gong. It’s really effective for sales duties, but it doesn’t have many integrations or any kind of automation for snippet capture and sharing.

My team uses Grain, which feels like the product version of Gong. It’s awesome as hell and makes gathering and sharing information programmatically really cool.

The last question I’ll bother you with is where Aha fits into this pipeline and how you use it if Dovetail isn’t used or integrated with it.

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Aha - all-in-one product management platform. Roadmaps, releases, ideas, and more.

Dovetail - user research tool. Helpful for analyzing recorded calls, storing notes.

Hotjar - user analytics. Heatmaps, flows, etc.

Use Aha with caution. It offers a ton of functionality, which is fantastic, but it also makes it simple to perform things that perhaps shouldn’t be done. For instance, the tool makes it simple to employ prioritizing frameworks like Moscow or Rice, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate they should be used.

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Tools are essential in today’s hybrid work environments, undoubtedly. The key is not to overwhelm with a multitude of them; determining the right tools for your workflow is a decision specific to you, your team, and the established processes. It’s worth noting that even traditional tools like pen and paper constitute a form of tool, but their online counterparts facilitate collaboration and synchronization significantly. It’s a natural progression - an evolution. There isn’t a singular tool that suits all needs; even industry giants like Atlassian have developed multiple tools, each serving distinct purposes (such as Trello, Jira, Jira Product Discovery, and more). Given the multifaceted nature of a product manager’s role, encompassing various steps, segments, responsibilities, and daily tasks, employing a curated selection of tools that remain in harmony is always a prudent approach.

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Tool of my choice: Miro

I am only constrained by my creativity and not by any frameworks because I can see all of my studies and thoughts.

Of course, we also tried applications like Monday, Roadmunk, and ClickUp for team collaboration.

Most tools died a few months later because they weren’t being used frequently.

JIRA and Confluence are used by our development teams.

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First off, congratulations on your years of experience in product management. I also used a lot of other tools. Coda is effective for road mapping in general. Additionally, take a look at Visor.us; it makes it simple to generate a product roadmap (Gantt chart), particularly if you use Jira data. Visor.us is a great tool for visualizing and tracking project timelines, allowing you to easily communicate progress and dependencies to stakeholders. It seamlessly integrates with Jira, making it even more efficient for product managers like yourself.

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Supporting these intricate procedures is more important than necessarily instructing someone on how to perform their job. It also has to do with the process’s organization and scalability. I believe that most frameworks are absurd, much like trying to squeeze an 8-armed, 3-legged, interdimensional monster into a ready-made outfit. We actually only need a pen, a piece of paper, and some EQ in ourselves as our sole tools. By focusing on supporting the intricate procedures, individuals are empowered to adapt and innovate within their roles, fostering a sense of ownership and creativity. This approach allows for flexibility and agility in problem-solving, as opposed to rigidly following predefined frameworks that may not fit every situation. Ultimately, it is the individual’s mindset and emotional intelligence that truly drive success in any job or process.