Key Tools for Product Planning in 2020

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When we create projects, we want them working and in demand. It can take a month or more than a year from the concept to the launch of an MVP. The amount of time, money and human resources spent on project realization depends not only on the complexity of a product but also on the effectiveness of planning and competence in the selection and usage of additional tools.

What is Product Planning?

product planning tips

Product planning is a process that includes full project management. It begins from the moment of collection and analysis of the requirements for the maintenance of a product at different stages of iterations. Different tools for product planning are used at each stage of project creation. They help to plan and coordinate work, visualize data, etc.

Who Is Responsible for Stages of Product Planning?

A team of specialists is involved in the project creation process. The team includes developers, testers, analysts, marketers and project managers. A single person can hold a number of positions in the team if the project is not complicated. Or, on the contrary, if the project is a large one, the team of specialists may be more numerous.

But regardless of the complexity of a project, the team should always have a product planning manager – a person who elaborates and supervises all stages of product creation. They have a thorough grasp of the project and are responsible for the team. 

The Role and Responsibilities of a Product Manager

A product manager is a specialist who creates products and is responsible for them. Their responsibilities also include analysis of the market and competitors, product range and pricing, product promotion and improvement. It is a person who is familiar with marketing and psychology, knows how to distribute priorities, controls task completion and overall establishes effective teamwork. 

What Are the Benefits of Product Planning Software In the Working Process?

As we can see, the product manager has a wide range of responsibilities. And special tools are useful for performing them effectively. They help plan and control work objectives, establish team communication, structure and visualize data for better presentation and understanding. There are numerous solutions for each task. The difference lies in functionality, convenience, navigation, and cost. 

How to Choose the Appropriate Software

In order to find the appropriate software, first of all, the requirements must be determined. Select a few options, test them all and choose the best fitting one. If a program is to be used by a team of people, also consider the presence of essential functions and convenience for all of its participants.

The Best Product Management Tools (by Category)

Product Planning System Smartsheet

Smartsheet is one of the most popular tools. This platform is designed for managing tasks and automating processes. It can be used to create tasks and queue them, assign responsibilities, monitor the progress, etc. Reports for efficiency analysis are built based on the results of the past period. This piece of software allows users to visualize data using a Gantt chart, calendars, etc. No special knowledge or skills are required to work with the program. The interface includes customized templates. It is also possible to import data from Google or Excel.

Tools for Analyzing and Understanding Users

Pendo is a tool that helps to analyze collected information (interviews, surveys, feedback, etc.). It highlights the data that should be noticed, thus helping to understand the target audience. 

Amplitude is a tool very similar in functionality to the previous one. It also helps to determine the pains and drivers of consumers based on current information.

Google Analytics is a platform for collecting customer data based on the analysis of their behavior on the website. 

Tools for Product Roadmap Planning

GoodData is designed for business analysis. It helps users to examine data in real-time. 

Aha! is a tool that helps users in compiling and analyzing roadmaps. It is useful for developing strategies for the planning stages, setting goals and objectives, and monitoring progress.

Domo is an open platform for communication and data exchange. It connects to information sources around the world and helps users to make evaluated decisions. 

Tools for Product Manager Client Surveys

SurveyMonkey is a platform for creating and conducting surveys, as well as for analyzing and structuring the results. 

Typeform is yet another tool for collecting data using questionnaires. It can post a link to a user’s blog or website. 

Google Forms is a free platform for creating surveys. The results are rendered in a separate report. It can also organize and compose the data. 

Recording Apps for Customer Interviews

GoToMeeting is a service for creating web conferences. Its features include a convenient panel for a speaker. It can support up to 25 participants at a time.

Zoom is a program for recording phone calls. It is useful when discussing business with clients, as well as for recording interviews with customers.

Tools for Product Manager for Analysis

product planning tools

Sirius Decisions is a service that provides access to studies, customer surveys, and analyst reports. All this data helps users better understand and assess the current state of the market and make the right strategic decisions.

Gartner is a platform that provides a variety of research reports and summaries. It also offers analytics and consulting services.  

Team Collaboration

Nimble is a CRM-system that has tools for establishing work processes and communicating within the team, adjusting, tracking and optimizing customers’ management, as well as a wide range of functions for monitoring the results of business activity. 

Slack is a service for organizing team communication. It includes planning, discussion and performance control. It is also used for personal messaging. 

Confluence is a tool for corporate communication. It configures the communication circuit and stores corporate information.

Product Launch Planning Presentation

KeyNote is a website for creating and sharing presentations. It allows users to share access to other participants’ material. All data is stored in iCloud. 

PowerPoint is part of Microsoft Office. It is designed for creating and storing presentation material.

Product Management Tools

Jira is a complex system for project coordination. It has issue-tracking and bug-tracking systems. It is more suitable for large companies, development teams and those who are familiar with such services. 

PivotalTracker is a project management service that uses flexible methodologies such as Agile at its base core. It can combine all tasks in a single place and generate reports on the results of the work. 

Trello is an organizer built on the Japanese principle of project management called “kanban”. It is an easy to use software that controls the execution of work in each phase.

Product Based Planning Tools for Creating Functions

Split.io is a tool that helps developers to implement features in their software. It can be used for conducting A/V tests, coordinating the launch of new projects and undoing a new problematic function. 

LaunchDarkly is a platform that helps to manage all of the function life cycles, from figuring out the concept to making a release and collecting feedback.

Session Replay and Heatmap Tools

FullStory is a tool that helps developers to visualize user behavior in stages. It can be used to construct hypotheses of consumer motives. 

Hotjar is a product that helps to trace the behavior of customers at different stages of the sales, to find weaknesses and eliminate them.

Flowcharting Tools

Visio is a Microsoft product for creating flowcharts. It is designed for illustrating scenarios of different user interactions with the product. 

Idea-Capture And Collaboration Tools

Evernote is a platform for collecting and storing information: photos, videos, articles, notes, etc. Users can access their accounts from various devices. 

Google Drive is a system for the creation, acquisition, storage, and sharing of information. Different data formats are available (texts, tables, presentations).

Things To Consider When Choosing Product Portfolio Planning Tools

When choosing the most appropriate tools, we recommend defining the goals and objectives first. Highlight the main criteria for the product. Estimate the user-friendliness of installation and operation, taking into account the people who will be using it. Try to test the product, there is usually a trial period that can be 3 to 14 days long. It is better to choose a platform that allows for solving several tasks at once. This way you can collect data and analyze it all in one place. 

For example, Nimble CRM comprises suggestions for solving most tasks at different stages of development and advertising cycles, such as internal communication, planning, objective formulation and monitoring, process automation, customer behavior analysis and team performance statistics.

There is also a trial period, detailed installation guide, answers to common functionality questions, blog and user support.

Conclusion

We’ve looked at the common product development planning tools used to create high-quality projects to compile a list of the best ones. Find the appropriate solution for your business, and enjoy the streamlined work processes.

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