Product Management Tools

One of the themes I’ve seen working as a Product Manager in big enterprises like IBM Watson, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the State of Colorado, is a lack of tools that help Product Managers plan.  Yes, these orgs have Jira or Azure DevOps to help organize agile software delivery and Google docs or Confluence to serve as the document repository, but when it comes to strategy, planning and product roadmaps, it tends to revert back to docs and powerpoint.

Whether in the beginning stages of a project where the team is still being formed, budget requests are being put together and procurement is the next step or in the middle of working on a years old mature product heavy in technical debt with power users, the work for the Product Manager is the same.  They need to drive the vision of what the product is aspiring to create, they need to describe the product, they need to talk about how product success will be measured and ultimately how the product benefits the agency and people within the community the agency is serving.

There are now SaaS tools specifically designed for Product Managers like Prodpad and Aha! or templates designed for PMs in Confluence.  Adding this to your team helps formalize the product management planning process by giving your PM and team a way to add ideas, elaborate on these ideas over time, prioritize and attribute value to personas, understand impact versus effort and more.  This is the world a PM lives in everyday outside of the agile software delivery activities like user stories, testing and devops.  Because these PM tools integrate with agile software delivery tools like Jira, PivotalTracker, Azure Devops, etc, the hard work done by the PM is pushed into the dev tools when and only when, the time is right.  

Appreciate the processes Product Managers, UX Designers and Product Owners go through to deeply understand what users need and support them with the right tools.

Good luck!

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