As a product manager, you know the drill. Coordinating designer and developer teams simultaneously while reporting to the boss via email becomes a drag.
But don’t worry, have hope! Using the right applications, everybody can work together flawlessly, in addition, you can save enormous time on execution.
We created a list of all the essential platforms a product manager would need, so anyone can revolutionize their team workflow.
In this article you can find our recommendations for:
- Project Management Tools: collaboration tools
- Product Management Tools: product roadmaps, user feedback tools
1. Collaboration tools
We simply cannot overemphasize the importance of collaboration tools. Our team would literally die without them since these platforms allow everyone to get on the same page.
When developing a product, you need to make information available to all parties, communicate continuously with the teams and track the entire design flow.
Lacking the proper system renders this a nearly impossible mission – especially when some of the team works remotely.
Asana has become one of the best-known collaboration tools on this planet. The platform makes it possible to create dashboards, tasks, projects, discussions and much more.
- Easy navigation and use
- Intuitive interface
- Mobile app version available
- Cannot sync Asana dates with Outlook calendar
- Lack of project templates
- No push notifications in the browser
Price: Starts at $9.99 / user / month
Basecamp has emerged as the other hotshot of project management and collaboration tools. You can create to-do’s with deadlines, milestones, upload files and organize discussions within the software.
- Super easy to use
- Project templates available
- Integration with Zapier
- Cannot sync Basecamp dates with Outlook and Google calendar
- Chat needs improvement
- Tricky to give user permissions
Price: Basic plan starts at $29 / month
Another sweetheart in our team because it’s almost dummy-proof. Trello organizes projects into cards and boards to visualize a project’s current stage.
- Perfect for seeing through processes and projects
- Easy to learn
- Growing list of integrations
- User interface tricky at first
- Underdeveloped design
Price: Free, though the business class package for $9.99 / user / month. It offers more integrations and a higher level of security.
zipBoard is a simple project management and bug tracking tool that teams use to gather feedback, track and organize their tasks. zipBoard lets your stakeholders add contextual feedback using annotated screenshots and videos, which makes it easier to report and reproduce issues.
- Contextual feedback using videos and screenshots makes it easy to report and reproduce issues
- Reviews on multiple media types including live websites, images, videos, PDF
- Kanban and table view for sorting, filtering
- Unlimited users for all plans
- Only a few integrations
- No mobile application
Price: Free 1 project, paid plans start at $39 per month.
Nifty is a collaboration and project management hub fuelled by user-friendly design. It combines the core phases of project planning and management with collaborative discussions and messaging.
- An all-in-one workspace for product, remote, and client facing teams.
- Affordable, especially when you factor in the other subscriptions it will replace.
- Their product expansion and feedback-to-implementation time moves at breakneck speed, so most product updates are a matter of “when” rather than “if”.
- As a newcomer on the market, Nifty is still rolling out some of the key native integrations
Pricing: Starting at $8/mo per user
ClickUp is a productivity platform that provides a fundamentally new way to work. Unlike many other task management software options, ClickUp offers notes, reminders, goals, calendar, scheduling, and even an inbox. It is fully customizable, so all types of teams can use the same app to plan, organize, and collaborate on projects.
- Multitask toolbar – Easily select multiple tasks
- Rich text editing on tasks
- Multiple views: list view, board view, box view and Gantt, etc.
- Chrome extension: many features to increase productivity, including time tracking, image markup, and task creation
- Integrations: seamlessly manage and collaborate on Git workflows, sync time tracking with Harvest, and send tasks to and from Slack.
- Setting everything up takes quite some time, as the product and its many functionalities are robust
Pricing: Free to $17 per user/month
Hygger is a project management tool with built-in prioritization. The platform allows establishing specific project goals and breaking them into an actionable plan. It’s popular for coordination and collaboration functionality that provide full transparency of work. Hygger is a tool for software development, product management, marketing, creative agencies, and other teams.
- Convenient time tracking system and timesheet reporting and beautiful timelines
- Sprint board and Burndown chart
- A cool spot between Trello and Jira (not so complex as Jira and not so simple as Trello)
- Powerful prioritization frameworks (matrices)
- Great opportunities for managing Kanban workflow
- Multiple team members can cooperate once invited to the board.
- Easy to use interface available for small and medium sized teams.
- Interface available only in English
- Mobile version is a bit limited
- Basic reporting system without extra abilities
- No integration with a Wiki-like tool
Starting price: $7.00/month/user
An all-in-one collaboration app for teams: SquidHub combines task management, a team messenger, file sharing, direct messages, video calls and a calendar into one simple app. It will make your team move faster: The overview and clear structure make your team organised and provides clarity, faster progress, less stress, and more motivated team members.
- An all-in-one collaboration app for teams
- Single-page UI and great overview without switching between apps
- Almost non-existent learning curve and ease of getting started
- Cross-platform: Available on web, iPhone and Android.
- Comments on tasks not available yet (instead, they have a note section)
- Todos are not synced to your Google Calendar
Price: Basic (full access to 2 groups): free, Premium (full access to all features): $4.99 user/month
Active Collab handily organizes everything in one place. The platform allows task management, time tracking, discussions and even invoicing.
- Project templates
- API version available
- Great add-on integrations
- Mobile version needs updating
Price: Basic plan starts at $25 / month for 5 team members
When it comes to solving team collaboration problems, there is nothing quite like ProofHub. ProofHub is a powerful tool for managing tasks in an accurate way and to get team work together efficiently. Everything comes super easy with ProofHub, as it is one place for all your projects, teams, and communication.
- Keeps track of your progress on various projects
- Easy documentation of tasks
- Reasonable monthly cost
- Doesn’t integrate with Zapier
Pricing: 30-day free trial! Ultimate control at $89 per month billed annually.
Mockplus iDoc is a powerful product design collaboration tool for designers and developers by creating a connected online space for product teams. It’s possible to export design right from the Sketch, Photoshop or Adobe XD and see the specification prepared automatically. Create interactive and animated prototypes. Make design collaboration easier.
- Generate accurate specs automatically
- Use Magnifier to help view detailed specs
- Converts units based on project type and density with its unit switching panel
- Transform static design files into working prototypes easily
- Comments are available in real time
- The interactions and user interface of it should be improved
- Provide only two projects for free trial
Price: Free — Collaboration plan starts at $39 / year
RealTime Board platform enables brainstorming and idea development with different teams. It works as a simple whiteboard allowing simultaneous editing among colleagues. You can use stickers, schemes, comments and even mockups.
- Real-time connection and changes
- User-friendly interface
- Video chat function
- Few features
- Takes time to learn
- Price: Basic plan starts at $8 / user / month
IdeaScale is purpose-built for capturing, developing, prioritizing and selecting ideas that are occurring naturally in your ecosystem and packaging them into new projects and insights. The system helps to analyze and refine idea desirability, feasibility, and viability within a collaborative and transparent community that creates alignment and reduces redundancies.
- Ease of use for both administrators and end users
- Configurable processes that align to various organizational methodologies (like design thinking, SCRUM)
- Leader in idea management security
- Integrates with most software in the enterprise ecosystem
- Admins will have to set all switches to align with their existing processes instead of relying on default settings.
- Dashboards are pre-set and cannot be customized unless admins export data
- Additional fees for white labeling
Upwave is a cloud-based platform for collaborating on projects, innovation processes, and daily tasks. With its intuitive and user-friendly design, it’s easy to get everyone onboard – no extra training needed. It’s a great tool for teams who need a place to plan, track progress and get work done.
- Manage tasks and projects in a visual manner
- Track time, estimate and report progress
- Work with predefined templates, including Kanban, Scrum, SWOT, Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas
- Easily and securely involve outside collaborators
- Available on both web and mobile
- Missing some advanced features (but they are on the roadmap)
Pricing: 14-day free trial, paid plan starts at $4/month per user
2. Product management tools
Read more about product design management in our free e-book: Product Managers’ Guide to UX Design.
The most essential product management tools, product roadmaps help visualize the entire product development process from sketch to release.
View these “maps” as timelines showing different goals and milestones, thus providing deeper insights where you are and where you should be.
ProductPlan makes it easy for product teams of all sizes to build and share roadmaps. It is designed to help product managers build beautiful visual roadmaps and communicate product strategy with their team and stakeholders.
- Easy to get started
- Handy Slack integration
- Viewers/commenters are free on all plans
- Lots of features for sharing roadmaps
- Can’t sync custom fields in Jira
- Limited reporting tools
Price: Business Plan starts at $39/editor/month.
Craft.io focuses on the product manager as the hub for product strategy, idea prioritization, and feature planning.
- Clean, intuitive user interface
- Idea portal connects with Intercom and Salesforce
- Easy user stories with story mapping and text editor
- Free trial is only 14 days rather than 30
- No Slack integration (coming soon)
Price: The essential plan is $49 / user / month, Pro and Enterprise solutions are also available
Roadmunk just about tops the market for roadmap applications right now. The software makes it easier for product managers to follow through development processes and product launches.
- Intuitive interface
- Multiple views on data
- Too many settings in the presentations
Price: Basic plan starts at $19
Using ProdPad visualizes product development flow in another great way. Within the software, product teams can collaborate on ideas and priorities to manage releases with ease.
- Quick roadmap creation
- Clear interface
- Flexible system
- Few reporting tools
- Takes some time to learn the system
Price: Starter plan priced at $20 / year, but you can choose a Standard plan at $99 / month for additional features
Airfocus is an up-and-coming platform that offers one of the best prioritization features for product management in the market right now. It enables you to decide very precisely what items should make it to your roadmap to avoid wasting limited resources.
- Powerful yet easy-to-use prioritization system
- Easy-to-build and beautiful roadmaps (kanban & timeline)
- Priority poker allows benefiting from team wisdom
- 2-way sync for Jira and Trello and many more integrations
- Limited CSV Import (Does not allow custom fields)
Price: Starts at $19 per editor and month. Viewers are free.
ProductHQ is an “all-inclusive” product management tool that aims to help product teams coordinate everything from planning to designing and development. It lets your team create a very detailed roadmap that can be easily followed up on, modified, and tracked. ProductHQ was created with the aim to visualize the entire product development process and collaborate with one another effectively. The solution provides organizations with the ability to align product strategies with feature prioritization to display on your roadmap.
- Helps get, track and manage user feedback
- Easy product feature prioritization that is fed into Jira
- Easily create product roadmap for team or public use
- Data exporting and importing needs to improve for certain data
- Does not offer a two way sync with Jira
Price: Basic plan starts is free for 1 user; each additional user is $10/user/month
Aha! was born to save the lives of PMs working in agile environments. The platform helps them create transparent product strategies and visual roadmaps to improve product development sprints.
- Outstanding user experience
- Great drag-and-drop functions
- Auto-push to JIRA
- Takes time to learn the ropes
- Cannot link features to multiple initiatives
Price: Basic plan starts at $74 / month, but there’s a package for startups as well
Although ProductBoard is a relatively new platform, it could eventually compete well in the field. It doesn’t just create roadmaps, it also helps teams tremendously in prioritizing tasks, features and efforts.
- User-friendly interface
- Chrome extension adds value
- Great collab tools
- Integrations need improvement
- Lack of export/import functions for certain data
Price: Basic plan starts at $24 / editor / month
In order to have a 360-degree overview of the current state and performance of your product, data is key. This is why analytical tools are an absolute must for any product team.
But which way to go? If you Google the term “analytical product management tools”, it’s actually quite incredible how many tools exist to help teams with that! So, how do you decide which one to go with? Here are some of our favorites.
Appsee is the market leader in qualitative mobile app analytics. You can see exactly how users engage with your app, pinpoint specific areas for improvement, and make better, data-informed decisions for your product. It’s ideal when you aim to strengthen retention and increase conversion rates.
Appsee is pretty user-friendly: it auto-tags every screen, button, and user action so that you can obtain answers fast. Plus, they integrate with a wide variety of third-party SDK’s and also offer diverse alerts capabilities. Some of their clients include product leaders like 7-Eleven, busuu, and 1-800 Contacts.
- Powerful analysis tools including user session replay, touch heatmaps, and in-depth crash and bug reporting
- High-quality session replay with zero performance impact
- Auto-tagging of all screen elements and events
- Comprehensive touch heatmaps with unresponsive gesture tracking
- Session replay not available for user killed sessions
- Does not track push notifications
Pricing: freemium model, see plans.
BugHerd is a visual feedback tool. With the help of the BugHerd browser extension, you can collect website feedback and track bugs directly on a page. It’s like using sticky-notes on a website. With a point and click, you can send feedback to your dev teams to track tasks visually with at a glance info. BugHerd sends complete and contextual info from the feedback (including screenshots, browser, OS & CSS selector data) to be fully managed via a project and task management Kanban board.
- Give and receive feedback with a simple point and click
- It’s easy to use also for non-technical folks
- Organize and manage tasks directly via the sidebar
- Easy to share and collaborate on tasks with clients and remote team members
- Project reporting is currently not available
- Integration list is limited but being consistently improved upon
- No current access for team feedback
Pricing: 14 day trial period for new customers. Monthly subscription start from $29/month
cux.io gives you an opportunity to observe the broadest possible context of your user’s behavior online. Have you ever thought how important is to know in how many tabs your user opened your website, or how long your site is somewhere in a browser background so you have a chance to enchain the user? While most other tools work with session-based recordings, cux.io combines an advanced, event-based waterfall conversion funnel with the visits recordings.
- real-time results
- no configuration needed (no snapshots, heatmaps for all URL’s by default)
- magic button to find the quick wins (waterfall conversion)
- auto-captured events
- quick and full SPA support
- no freemium plan
- small help base – sometimes hard to uncover all possibilities to use
- not for complete beginners: basic analytical skills required
Price: 14 days of free trial, then prices start at 99€ for 10 000 visits recorded, no retention time
UXCam is an analytics solution that helps Product Managers deliver mobile app UX. It automatically captures every action that users take and converts the data into visual and actionable insights.
- Visual insights are easy to understand
- Doesn’t require event instrumentation
- Easy integration
- Automatically captures all interactions
- Limited to mobile applications
- Free plan only allows for 5,000 sessions
Price: Free, paid plans start at 199$/ month
STUDIO is a web design tool that lets users create websites from scratch within a matter of hours, without coding. Its main targets are designers frustrated by long sessions of prototyping and coding. Its intuitive interface allows users to focus on designing beautiful pages that are also fully responsive. For Product Managers, it can be particularly useful for designing mockup pages, or different versions of the same page for A/B testing, without ever having to waste expensive development capacity along the way.
- Very intuitive, easy to get started
- Fully responsive designs
- No coding knowledge needed
- Real time team collaboration
- No CMS solution integrated (coming in 2019 summer)
- No animations (coming in 2019 summer)
Price: You can design and publish unlimited websites for free with STUDIO subdomain, publishing a website with a custom domain, third-party apps and white-labelling is $9/month
3. Task management and issue tracking systems
A product manager certainly needs a platform to monitor project progress and the management of different issues. Task management tools can save quite some time providing up-to-date information on product development.
Probably one of the most famous product management tools, JIRA allows Agile and Kanban planning as well. Almost everybody who’s ever thought of using an issue tracking platform knows JIRA.
- Effective in daily issue and time tracking
- Easy to adapt to company’s needs
- Wide range of add-ons
- Crowded interface
- Needs time to master
- Hard to find documentation for some items
Price: Basic plan starts at $10 / month up to 10 users
Over 2 million people use GitHub’s open-source issue-monitoring platform on a daily basis. So it’s worth considering it.
- Simple interface
- Clear issue management system
- Interesting stats on project and user levels
- Navigation not very intuitive
- Use requires some technical know-how
Price: Plans ranged from $7 – $21 / month – based on the number of repositories
Also an open-source issue tracking system, Mantis BT sets up in no time. This very basic yet handy tool efficiently does the job.
- Super easy to configure
- Outstanding support services
- Slow user interface
- Integrates poorly
4. User feedback tools
User feedback solutions serve as one of the most important product management tools. Developing a product doesn’t end upon release, you also need to check whether customers like it or not. And if necessary, iterate accordingly.
Survicate is a customer feedback tool used by product managers, marketers, and customer success teams worldwide. It lets you collect responses from users across all digital touchpoints, such as websites, email, and mobile apps. You can use the insights to decrease churn, improve website usability, and address customers’ needs more precisely, among other use cases.
- One-click integration (no coding skills needed) with tools like Intercom, HubSpot, MailChimp, Marketo, and many others
- User-friendly interface that makes creating surveys easy for everyone
- Over +100 ready-to-use, proven survey templates
- Great customer service
- Occasional delays between launching/editing a survey and seeing it online
Pricing: 100 responses are for Free, premium plans with unlimited responses start at $79/mo
Uservoice is a well-known product feedback management platform. It gathers customer feedback, creates advanced reports and contributes to the support ticketing system.
- Smooth navigation
- Easy access for users
- Ticket tagging feature
- Limited range of support languages
- Not easy to edit in HTML
Price: Basically free, but for business purposes requires requesting a quote.
Mopinion software is an all-in-one user feedback solution for collecting online feedback from websites, mobile apps, and email.
- Fully customizable feedback surveys
- Advanced targeting features (mobile & web)
- Visualize data in custom-made dashboards & charts
- Not entirely suitable for traditional VoC surveys
- Takes time getting to know all chart building capabilities
Pricing: Free for basic features. Starter packages begin at 79 EUR /month.
Intercom provides realistic data from customers perfectly. The software allows communication with consumers based on their behavioral and other aspects.
- Real-time metrics
- Helps in onboarding processes
- Increasing list of integrations
- Low capacity of analytics
- Pricy for smaller teams
Price: Basic plan starts at $53 / month
Drift aces engagement, support and capturing leads. The platform makes it easy to contact website visitors so you can turn them into valuable leads.
- Clean user interface
- Wide range of features
- Easy installing
- Some features not customizable
- Notifications should be more up-to-date
Price: Access the basic stuff for free, but small business plans start at $50 / editor / month
Though we’ve created an extensive list, several other product management tools may also make life easier. Please let us know if something is on your mind or you know other apps we can add to the list!
If you want to learn more on product management processes, check out our Product Design book!