The human desire for tools that improve workflow dates back millions of years. Tools have evolved far beyond the days of stone hammers and spear-heads, while our desire to find new and better ways to do our jobs remains unchanged.
Product managers tend to be on the forefront of new technology products. Product managers are notoriously early-adopters. We try things, we tinker, and we learn.
Early in my product management career, I scoured the web looking for tools to help me be a better product manager.
The product management role is so diverse that there are thousands of products to help product managers. Some products are marketed directly to product managers such as Aha, ProdPad, and ProductPlan.
Lists of product management tools focus on delivering more product, not a better product.
Process is an important part of your startup’s growth, but this isn’t the sole responsibility of your product manager. The tools you use for product management should help you build a better product.
Product managers need to build customer relationships
Direct connection with your customers on a daily basis is the fastest way for product managers to fail quickly and iterate. Building these relationships starts with knowing who your users are.
Intercom is the best-in-class tool to enable your product managers to talk directly with your customers. In fact, you’ve probably run into Intercom already without knowing it.
They’ve made it easy to get started with just a few lines of code to drop into your website and application. Within 24 hours you can begin talking with website visitors, users, and customers.
Every product manager should already be communicating with customers. Intercom eliminates the barrier to user research.
Measuring customer usage will help you make better decisions
Every product manager needs data to support their decisions. Unfortunately, accessing usage data is often a nightmare.
SQL queries, multiple platforms and not tracking a necessary data point can make it nearly impossible to use data to drive product decisions.
Pendo.io solves this nightmare for product managers. Pendo helps product managers build more engaging products by storing all user behaviors within your app.
I was an early customer of Pendo.io almost a year ago when they first launched. Their product does something that no other analytics tool do: they track what you aren’t tracking.
Pendo tracks user behavior in your app. When you decide you need to know how many times a specific button was clicked, they’ve got you covered. No additional instrumentation is needed.
Your startup needs usage data to support your decisions. Pendo removes the headache of instrumenting your app.
Validating product ideas help you to fail fast
Startup product managers must fail as quickly as possible. There’s no way around this.
Building products and features without user testing is like throwing away money. Development is expensive, so why build something you haven’t validated with users?
If you’re a product manager in a small tech startup, you’re likely responsible for at least part of the user experience design.
Balsamiq is hands down the fastest way to sketch and communicate your product ideas.
I often skip my notebook entirely and jump into Balsamiq. I attempt to get my ideas in front of users as quickly as I can.
Combine Balsamiq wireframes with InVision and UserTesting.com and it’s possible get real user feedback in less than 24 hours. Start to finish to validate your idea in 24 hours.
Tools are only as good as the person using them. Tools inherently require humans to get the best results. If you implement any of these three tools into your product management process, you’ll see results.