10 essential product management tools for launch success

10 essential product management tools for launch success

If you’re leading a product launch, you’ll need all the help you can get. But with mountains of product management tools, apps, and platforms to choose from, where do you begin? And which combination should your stack include?

These days, most product managers have tried-and-true roadmapping and analytics tools in their kit. However, the gig is about more than just hitting milestones, managing the backlog, and gathering insight. So, what else do you need? Here are the top product management tools you need for success.

1. Roadmapping software

Roadmapping software is a critical tool for all product managers, regardless of their level of experience. This software helps you visualize and track the progress of a project, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

When shopping around, it’s important to find software that suits your team dynamics and workflow. For example, if your team is spread across different locations, you’ll need flexible, cloud-based, and collaborative tools.

Key features to look for:

  • Task management: the software should help you track tasks, milestones, and metrics, so you never miss a deadline.
  • Flexibility: when it comes to project management, flexibility is the name of the game. Make sure you choose a tool that handles adjustments with ease and lets you customize your workflow as needed.
  • Visualization: seeing the big picture is important, and visualizations allow you to do just that. Diagrams are also great for explaining complex data to stakeholders and non-techy folk.
  • Collaboration: no matter the size of the team, you need the ability to work together efficiently. Any tools you choose should be cloud-based and jam-packed with collaboration features. Think file sharing, notifications, and live editing.

2. Data analytics software

Data analytics software helps you identify areas that need improvement. When you monitor the right metrics, analytics provide insights into what’s working well (and what isn’t).

Let’s say you’re managing the launch of a new mobile app. You can use analytics to track how many users download the app, how often they use it, and the most popular features. This information is critical for understanding how well the product is performing and where there’s room for improvement.

Key features to look for:

  • Ease of use: why would you create more work for yourself? The software should be easy to use, so you can get up and running quickly.
  • Data visualization: diagrams make it easier to digest piles of data. Choose a tool that turns all those numbers and insights into easy-to-read charts and graphs.
  • Reporting: Go with a tool that can automatically generate reports, letting you easily share your findings with the team.

3. Communication tools

Good communication should be the bedrock of every team project. And while chat apps and video won’t solve every problem, they should play a starring role in your stack.

Different channels work best for different types of communication. For instance, try a chat app if you need to quickly share a file or check in with someone. Video is best for important meetings or one-on-ones with remote workers because it allows you to see each other’s body language. People also have different communication preferences — so the more accommodating you can be, the better.

Key features to look for:

  • Video tools: sometimes, you need to see each other’s faces. For those moments, choose video.
  • File sharing: sharing documents and files during a chat is a must. Make sure you pick tools that make it convenient to pull up a diagram or document mid-discussion.

4. Session replay and heat map tools

A big part of being a product manager is getting to know users and their needs. Heat map tools allow you to see where users click and scroll on your website or app. This information helps you gather insights, improve user experience, and make sure users get the most out of your product.

Meanwhile, session replay tools let you see what users are doing on your website or app — that’s even more valuable data you can use.

Key features to look for:

  • Recording: the tool should be able to record sessions so that you can replay them later.
  • Data visualization: diagrams make data easier to work with. Choose a tool that can turn those numbers into pictures, and you’ll never look back.
  • User segmentation: look for trends in user behavior and demographics to create targeted marketing campaigns.

5. Diagramming tools

From flowcharts to virtual whiteboards, diagramming tools are handy, especially if your team is remote or hybrid.

Customer journey maps plot all the touchpoints involved in using your product — from first contact with the sales team to filling out sign-up forms, logging in, and beyond. Visually displaying this journey helps product managers, developers, and stakeholders get on the same page about what needs to be built and why. A good customer journey map can show you pain points and areas of opportunity.

Process flow diagrams, on the other hand, show the steps in a process, like a customer sign-up or a sales funnel. This is useful for mapping out complex processes and identifying bottlenecks.

Key features to look for:

  • Collaboration: the software should allow collaboration, so you can work on diagrams with your team.
  • Real-time editing: the ability for multiple users to make live edits ensures everyone is working with the correct data.
  • Export tools: once you’ve created many beautiful diagrams, naturally, you’ll want to share them. Choose a tool with exporting features to do this with ease.

6. Customer survey tools

Customer surveys are an efficient way to get feedback about your product — the good and the bad. The great thing about survey tools is that many now come with preformatted questions, so you can whip up a form in no time.

Key features to look for:

  • Question types: the tool should offer a variety of question formats, allowing you to evoke different responses and get to the heart of user needs.
  • Data visualization: Being able to visualize data quickly will allow you to identify crucial trends and develop an effective strategy.
  • Reporting: no doubt, you don’t intend to keep important insights to yourself. Reporting tools let you organize data and share your findings with the team.
  • Templates: pre-made templates cut down on your work and allow extra-speedy survey creation.

7. Recording apps for customer interviews

Customer interviews offer a direct, user-oriented way to get relevant feedback about your product. But it’s tough to remember everything that was said, especially when you’re talking to lots of people. That’s where recording apps come in.

With a recording app, you can quickly and easily record conversations and pick up on insights you might otherwise miss.

Key features to look for:

  • Automatic recording: the app should start recording automatically, so you don’t have to worry about starting the recording yourself.
  • High-quality audio: recordings are useless if you can’t understand what anyone said. Make sure you pick an app that creates high-quality recordings with no interference or muffle effects, letting you hear everything clearly.
  • Easy to use: less complicated is always better. The app should be simple enough that you can toggle settings with ease mid-interview.

8. Presentation software

When giving a presentation, you want to make sure your slides look clean and professional. With the right tool, you can easily create beautiful slideshows and present information in a way that’s compelling to stakeholders. As an added benefit, many presentation tools come with templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Key features to look for:

  • Templates: the software should come with templates for creating a high-quality presentation quickly. You’ll also want to customize it to match your brand and mood.
  • Integrations: in many cases, you’ll create dynamic charts in other programs and need the ability to import them to your presentations.
  • Animation and transitions: who doesn’t love a fancy transition? Choose should that lets you add animation and transitions to make your presentation more engaging.
  • Shareable: you’ll want to share all your hard work with stakeholders and remote team members.

9. Feature flagging tools

With feature flagging, you can easily turn features on and off, which is especially useful for A/B testing or rolling back a problematic new feature. Many programs include a handy dashboard that shows which features are used the most and least, providing a convenient overview of product engagement.

Key features to look for:

  • Dashboards: the software should come with a dashboard so that you can see which features are popular (or not).
  • User management: look for tools that allow you to manage users and control who has access to specific features.
  • Integrations: the software should integrate with other tools for a unified workflow.

10. Project management tools

These days, project management tools aren’t just for tracking tasks. They’re feature-rich platforms packed with tools like Kanban boards for data visualization, custom templates for issue tracking, wikis for project documentation, and team notifications for real-time collaboration.

Don’t choose software with hundreds of features you won’t use; but if you can find tools that give you deeper insights and make your job easier, why wouldn’t you?

Key features to look for:

  • Ease of use: the software should be easy to implement, so team members of all skill levels can learn to use it quickly.
  • Data visualization: if we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: diagrams are a must for turning all that complex data into easily digestible content.
  • Reporting: the software should allow you to generate reports and share your findings with your team.
  • Integrations: always look for ways to streamline your workflow with useful integrations.
  • Version control: choose a tool that lets you organize, discuss, and track work all in one place, including code changes.
  • Workflow control: boost efficiency with a tool that lets you track and assign tasks and stop bottlenecks in their tracks.
  • Issue and bug tracking: identify bugs quickly and easily, and prioritize fixes.

Final thoughts

Product management tools are an essential part of any product stack. They help you get feedback from users, create beautiful presentations, manage tasks, and cut extra steps out of your workflow.

When choosing a platform, make sure to put the needs of your team first. Just because a tool is a hot property right now, that doesn’t guarantee it’ll work for you. Do your research and try out some free trialsand with a little experimentation, you’ll be able to take your product management to the next level.

Georgina Guthrie Georgina is a displaced Brit currently working in France as a freelance copywriter. Before moving to sunnier climates, she worked as a B2B agency writer in Bristol, England, which is also where she was born. In her spare time, she enjoys old films and cooking (badly).