If you are a product manager like me, working at a startup, you are already wearing lot of hats and always finding scrappy ways to get things done. On a typical day you help define the roadmap, spec features, triage bugs, analyze experiments and shephered launches. Now, How in the world do you maintain your sanity while being on top of all these things? For me the answer has partially been found in the set of tools which I use on a daily basis.
Use for: Note-taking
As a product manager I’m always taking notes whether it be over a quick feature discussion, the customer feedback session or quickly jotting down a piece of information. Over the years I have used Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, Trello and many other softwares along side some clever ways like writing emails to myself, but in the end none has stuck
But I turned a corner. Nearly an year ago, when I discovered WorkFlowy —so far— it seems to be the best note-taking and organizational program I’ve ever tried. This app is the easiest, best-designed, and most-flexible note-taker I’ve ever come across, and it solves many of the problems I’ve had with other software. In the year I’ve been using it, it has become one of two tabs that I keep open in my browser, along with Gmail.
Get it: https://workflowy.com/
Use for: Rapid Prototyping
As a product manager, who cares deeply about user-centric design, I like to create clickable prototypes of the features I work on, to get a sense of how the feature is going to be used by the end-user. With Easel I can import elements from existing sites, make a clickable prototype and get feedback from all the stakeholders pretty early in the product development life cycle.
Get it: https://www.easel.io/
Awesome Screenshot — Chrome Plugin
Use for: Capturing screenshots, annotating pages
As a product manager I end up taking lot of screenshots, be it for reporting defects, researching other products for ideas or simply specifying a feature request. After trying a number of options, I’ve opted for a handy little plugin for my Chrome browser, which stays at my fingertips at the top of the browser, and lets me snap a whole page (beyond the fold and everything) or snips of the screen.
The result is loaded in a new tab, complete with tools to annotate, black/blur out sensitive information, and draw all the red arrows and squares I desire.
From there, the screenshot can be copied to your clipboard, saved to your computer, printed out, or shared with a variety of other services like google drive.
It’s fast and useful, and has never given me reason to complain. Plus it’s free.
Use for: Quick, anonymous feedback
UsabilityHub gives you 3 tools each enabling you to post images (or a series of images, in the case of Nav Flow) and gather feedback from random users over the web.
It works on a virtual currency called ‘Karma’ — you can earn Karma by doing tests posted by others, or you can pay to buy Karma in bulk. Ideally, you can run through a handful during lunch break to earn just enough to spend them on tests in the afternoon.
Get it: https://usabilityhub.com/
Use for: Defining Roadmap, Spec features, Creating Personas
As a product manager alongside taking notes, rapid prototyping, taking awesome screenshots and gathering quick, anonymous feedback you need to come up with rock solid product roadmaps, be able to define personas and spec out feature details and share it with people across the board.
ProdPad is the only proper Product Management Software that allows you to gather ideas from your team, flesh them out into specs, outline your products and your product lines, and put it all on to a Product Roadmaps.
Best of all, it also has packages that will fit your company, whether you’re a startup or whether you’re part of a huge team with a big product portfolio.
Get it: https://www.prodpad.com/
Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive, and there’s plenty of room for debate on which other tools offer a better experience, richer feature set, or more attractive pricing. I look forward to finding out in the comments.
Guest Post by Chetan Kapoor, Product Manager working with SuperProfs.com design and engineering team. Serving as a linchpin between product management, engineering and customers to ensure that product is developed in a way to maximise all stakeholders success and contribute to SuperProfs.com overall strategy. Twitter – @kapoorcs