How to Evaluate and Choose the Right Product Tools as a Product Manager

Product managers are often responsible for leading the evaluation, selection and acquisition of product management tools to be used in their organization.

However, it can be hard to know which product management tool is the right one for the job. In this article, we'll provide 7 strategic steps to take for evaluating and choosing the best product management tools for your organization.

What are the tools of a product manager?

The product management tool stack is the collection of tools your product team uses to run their business. These are typically integrated, where they work well together and build on each other's functionality. Each product company will have a different set of tools in their stack depending on the needs of the organization.

These tools typically include project management tools, collaboration tools, bug tracking software, prototyping software, customer support software and more.

The right product management tools can make a big difference in the success of your product development efforts.

What is the product management process?

The product management process is typically laid out in stages, starting with the idea phase (discovery) through to the launch and maintenance of your product.

This lifecycle can include activities like project management, user research, prototyping, testing, marketing activities, collecting customer feedback and more. Most tools will integrate well along their respective stage of your product life cycle while others may be more general purpose and can be used in multiple stages.

9 steps to evaluate and choose the right product management tools

1) Understand your product management team's needs

A good way to evaluate the needs of your product management team is to create a charter with a series of questions for your new product management tool. The charter can be used as a reference point for evaluating products and it will help outline specific needs. The charter includes questions such as:

  • What are the main goals of the product?
  • What features or functionality is essential for the product?
  • How does the product impact the company's strategy and objectives?
  • Are you looking for a product management tool to help with development and product delivery?
  • What is your budget for this project?
  • What kind of data do you currently have?
  • What kind of data do you want to have in the future?
  • How much data is available about your product from different sources?
  • Do you need an all-inclusive product or would a subset suffice
  • How do you plan on collecting and managing customer feedback?

2) Define your product strategy

Your product strategy should be well-defined before acquiring any product management tool. Without a clear strategy, it's difficult to determine which product management tool will be the best fit for your product.

To create a product strategy, you'll need to identify your company's main goals, product features, and objectives.

Start by listing out what you want your product to achieve over the next few years. This could include differentiating the company from competitors, generating revenue or increasing or decreasing customer base.

Next list out or write down what you want this product to do - be it facilitate customer experience with product design, lead generation or monitoring of up to date data on marketing campaigns. These are the high-level goals of this product management tool.

The premise of having a well-defined goal is that it will provide insight into how your team intends to use the product.

Asking these questions will help simplify things for your team when they're deciding which product management tools to use.

3) Define your requirements

After you have a better understanding of your team's needs and your product strategy, it's important to define specific requirements for the product management tool. Your requirements will differ depending on the product management software you're looking for. In general, there are 3 main types of product management tools:

  • Different tools that focus on analysis
  • Project management tools and product management software that helps with product delivery
  • Tools that focus on collaboration for software development, task management, customer feedback etc.

These different requirements could be used to distinguish between different products in each category to help you choose the best product management software. Or you can find a tool like DoneDone that combines them all.

Analytics  tools

You'll need a product tool like DoneDone that offers unique metrics and insight on how users are interacting with your product. For more information on what kinds of analytics you should look for, read this article on product analytics.

Development tools

If you're looking for a product tool that can help with development and delivery, make sure to check out our list of the best product management tools.

Collaboration  tools

Your team will also need a tool that offers easy collaboration features so that you can easily manage customer feedback, feedback from stakeholders and other team members.

4) Research product options  

Now that you have a better understanding of your needs and requirements, it's time to do some research on the different product options that are available.

The best way to do this is by reading product reviews and watching product demos. This will give you a better understanding of how each product works and what kind of features it offers.  

You can also find product comparison charts online that will help you compare and contrast different products.

5) Evaluate products based on your requirements

After you've done your research, it's time to evaluate the products based on your specific requirements.

Start by ranking each product based on how well it meets your requirements. You can also add a column to each of your requirements to rate the different products.

This step will help you compare and contrast different options and determine which is the most complete product management suite for your team.

6) Don't forget to evaluate products based on company culture

Now that you've determined which product matches up with your specific needs, it's time

Once you have a better understanding of your needs and requirements, it's time to research the different product options that are available on the market. Don't just look at the big-name brands, but also smaller and lesser-known companies that might have the perfect solution for your team. Try to find a product that offers everything you need without any additional or unnecessary features.

7) Keep in mind your budget

Budget is always an important factor to consider when looking at product management tools, but it's even more essential if you work for a startup or smaller company. Keep in mind that some of the best products might come with expensive price  tags, but they might also have monthly fees.

The best way to do this is by establishing a set budget for your product tool and putting it into practice when evaluating different options.

8) Don't be afraid to ask for help

If you're feeling overwhelmed or don't have the time to do all the research on your own, don't be afraid to ask for help. Ask your team, friends, and other colleagues for their suggestions on product management tools. You can also find online communities that are dedicated to helping people find the right product tools.

9) Create a plan for how to implement the new product management tool within your organization

The product tool you choose will work for your team only if everyone is on the same page and using it properly. You may need to create a plan for how to implement the product tool within your organization or workflow before making any final decisions.

In your implementation plan, include the following:

  • Assess the team's current workflow and identify any changes that will need to be made to accommodate the new product tool
  • Hold training sessions to ensure that everyone on the team is familiar with how to use the product tool
  • Set up regular check-ins to assess how well the product tool is working for your team and make any necessary adjustments

Conclusion

Product managers have a tough job. They need to find the right product management tools that will help their team create better products, but they often don't know what they need in a product tool and this post will help them find out how to choose the right one.

There are many different options available on the market so it's important for teams to do research before making any final decisions. Once you've determined which product matches up with your specific needs, it's time to not only evaluate those products based on company culture, but also budget constraints.

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