What are the best tools in product management software?
Well, for starters…there’s a lot to choose from.
It’s overwhelming at times to decide which of the endless options is the right one for your needs, right?
I know that I personally have spent way too much time putting together lists of pros and cons, narrowing them down, and still not being able to easily make a decision.
As a result, we’ve compiled a list of product management software tools that we know you can rely on.
Product Management Software
Product management software covers a range of categories across product development, product marketing, and product lifecycle management; many of which overlap…
So we’ve identified the following eight software needs for product managers:
- Wireframing / Prototyping
- User Experience
- Design & User Interface
- Product Roadmapping
- Product Research
- A/B Testing
- Project Management
Once you’ve acquired at least one tool from each of these eight categories, you’ll have The Ultimate Product Management Software Toolset 🙂
So let’s get straight to it…
Mixpanel describes itself as “Product analytics for product people.”
So you already know we’re off to a good start 😉
One of the most common questions surrounding Mixpanel is, “How is Mixpanel different from Google Analytics?”
And as it turns out, this also happens to be a great way to understand what Mixpanel does.
So here’s a sweet infographic I found, which explains just that…
Most noteworthy of the differences is the tracking method.
Mixpanel is more focused on event tracking, while Google Analytics core functionality is based on page views.
With Mixpanel, you have the ability to understand individual user journeys.
Consequently, you’ll be able to:
- Dynamically segment your audience and users.
- Identify your best customers and their commonalities.
- Better understand how people are using your product(s).
- Improve acquisition and activation flows.
- Make more informed decisions on what features to focus your attention.
- Drive up customer retention and revenue.
You should note that Mixpanel and Google Analytics are not a “one or the other” type solution.
Google Analytics should always be a part of your product management software toolset.
On the other hand, Mixpanel will give you an additional suite of features to drive valuable user insights and engagement, as well as data to drive product decision making.
Alternatives to Mixpanel: Kissmetrics, Google Analytics
App Annie could have been added to both the Analytics category, as well as the Product Research category.
And as far as being able to inform your product roadmap with sound, comprehensive market data goes, App Annie is at the top of the food chain.
The mobile app world evolves quickly and app publishers constantly launch new features to stay competitive.
As a product manager, you need lots of reliable data to see what works, what doesn’t, and then apply those insights to your product roadmap.
App Annie has five core services:
- Discover allows you to gain valuable and competitive market insights across app downloads, revenue, usage, engagement, and advertising metrics.
- Strategize drives your business forward by identifying the right partners, determining the best markets for expansion and more.
- Acquire helps to boost organic and paid mobile user acquisition results by enhancing your app store optimization results and maximizing ad spend.
- Engage drives user engagement, increases retention and effectively targets your audience by better understanding their interests and behavior.
- Monetize helps to understand how top apps monetize, then leverage those apps best practices to maximize your own revenue.
So let’s go through an example…
If you were a product manager for a retail app, you could use App Annie’s “Top Apps” report (seen in the screenshot below) to see that in the shopping category, Amazon ranks #1 and that Target moved up one spot to #9 from the previous day, and that consumer sentiment for the app improved from 4 to 5 Stars with the release of the latest version.
So wouldn’t you want to know more about the product’s latest release?
The App Details page (image below) provides the app description, outlines the product improvements an app publisher has made over time, and much more.
Focusing on version updates, on August 7th, you can see that Target integrated Cartwheel into its main app with version 9.0.
But how do you know if this strategy had an impact?
Well, they have another report that measures the impact of new features.
The Rank History report provides feature bubbles, which are indicators of version updates.
You can in the screenshot below that those three version updates in August all featured the Cartwheel integration.
Subsequently, there was a significant spike in ranks.
But ranking data can only inform so much.
It is also important to get feedback directly from consumers, which you can get using App Annie’s Reviews report.
Additionally, reviews can even provide new feature ideas.
As you can see below, one user suggested creating a shareable product link…
In summary, App Annie’s product management software can help you to build a successful mobile application by surfacing category leaders, identifying key competitive features, and understading consumer sentiment.
Also, do keep in mind that in this article we’ve only scratched the surface of the tools and features which App Annie has to offer product management software users.
Alternatives to App Annie: Localytics
Want to see video of how visitiors are interacting with your site?
That’s what Hotjar does.
It’s actually a bit creepy when you first learn of heatmapping and visitor recording software…
That is, if you’re the one unknowingly being heatmapped or recorded 🙂
For product managers however, this can be extremely useful.
So watch this 60 second clip for a brief overview of what Hotjar is all about, and then I’ll show you some screenshots with more detail:
Sounds cool, right?
With heatmaps, you can understand what users want, care about and interact with on your site.
Heatmaps do this by visually representing visitor clicks, taps and scrolling behavior.
Here’s an example of what a Hotjar heatmap looks like:
In addition to heatmaps, visitor recordings identify usability issues by watching video of real visitors on your site as they click, tap, move their cursor and navigate across pages.
Here’s an example of what a Hotjar visitor recording looks like:
Hotjar has a suite of tools, but it’s mostly known and used for its heatmaps and visitor recording tools.
As for the tools which I didn’t mention, they consist of:
- Conversion funnels
- Form analysis
- Feedback polls
- Incoming feedback
- And the ability to recruit user testers
Alternatives to HotJar: Crazy Egg
Somewhat similar to HotJar, FullStory is another tool that allows you to monitor user behavior.
The main difference is that while FullStory doesn’t have heatmaps as a feature, it does provide deeper insights.
In fact, heatmaps have a number of issues that FullStory makes up for, as you’ll learn by watching the following video:
So although I wouldn’t criticize heatmaps quite as much as that video did, I think you get the point 🙂
FullStory offers more functionality and more insight into every aspect of your site, even beyond session recording.
You’ll have access to graphs, pie charts, and the ability to create a comprehensive database of just about any event taken on your site.
Furthermore, that comprehensive database is as easy to use as the Google search bar.
Every event you want recorded is indexed, and then you can find users based on whatever action they’ve taken on your site.
Here’s a video that gives a better overview of what FullStory is all about:
In a sentence, Segment allows you to capture data from every customer touchpoint and send it to the tools where it can be used most effectively.
So what does that really mean? Here’s a visual…
The visual is representing how Segment simplifies data collection with one API.
Okay, but what does that mean for product managers?
Segment allows you to send analytics events from mobile apps, web apps, backend APIs, and websites. That’s what we learned from this visual, right?
So what this means is, tracking key events across your business infrastructure and identifying users at both the known and anonymous level is possible.
However, that’s been possible for a long time. Well, a long time in Internet years, but…
As a result, you don’t have to expend engineering resources for every new integration you’d like to try.
And in many cases, it’s as simple as flicking a toggle.
If this still is somewhat hard to wrap your head around, as it was for me the first time I learned about Segment, this video should help:
What’s become great about Segment is that there’s now hundreds of tools on their platform.
And it really is as simple as flicking a toggle if the tools you’re using are on Segment.
Once your data is flowing to Segment, you can easily turn on new tools for advertising, email, push notifications, analytics, webhooks, and more.
Alternatives to Segment: Fivetran
Wireframing / Prototyping
Balsamiq however, is plenty powerful and I’ve enjoyed using it myself.
And I’m definitely not a designer…but I do know good design when I see it 🙂
So if you’re looking for a wireframing tool without all the power of an InVision or Axure, Balsamiq is a very safe bet.
Balsamiq is a quick, user friendly, low fidelity wireframing tool.
Take a look…
In addition to creating an awesome UI wireframing tool, Balsamiq has some features you might expect to pay more for.
For example, Balsamiq has built in collaboration, which of course is key when communicating with developers and other stakeholders.
As a result, it’s simple to review, iterate, and get everyone on the same page.
I think Balsamiq says it best on their site with the description, “Elegantly powerful. Just enough prototyping when you need it.”
So GoodUI isn’t actually software. Sorry to deceive you 🙂
Instead, GoodUI is an archive of good ideas for UI/UX, where you can learn about reaching higher conversion rates from what they have tried and tested.
Check out a couple freebie examples here…
In addition to free knowledge bombs, GoodUI also offers:
- And data stories
We highly recommend subscribing to GoodUI’s newsletter, where they share test results and insights to the ideas they share on their website.
So just in case you want to add a little more knowledge to your inbox, you can do that here: GoodUI Email Updates
Alternatives to GoodUI: UX Archive
Pttrns is a service where all the top app screenshots are collected.
collection of mobile design patterns, resources, and inspiration for iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Apple Watches, and more.
What’s more, is they’re divided into categories in a convenient way, as you can see here…
So if you’re looking for inspiration when building a walkthrough or a chat box, Pttrns is the perfect place to get started.
It’s an irreplaceable service when it comes to UI building product management software.
Design and User Interface
One of our favorite tools to recommend clients at TARA, is InVision.
InVision is another one of those tools which could easily fit under multiple product management software categories.
Most notably, InVision is a prototyping and design / user interface tool.
Additionally, we also recommend it for wireframing.
Take a look at their product in action…
As you can see in the video, InVision has powerful design protyping tools.
They claim you can get high-fidelity in under 5 minutes, which is impressive.
With those design prototyping tools, you can upload your design files and add animations, gestures and transitions to transform your static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes.
InVision also uses what they call Boards, which are flexible spaces to store, share and talk about design ideas with your internal and external teams.
As a result, this makes it super easy to gather feedback from any stakeholder, as they can comment directly on your designs.
Lastly, if you’re interested in adding InVision to your product management software tools, here’s how to create an interactive prototype…
Flaticon is the largest database of free icons available in PNG, SVG, EPS, PSD and BASE 64 formats.
In addition to thousands upon thousands of free icons, Flaticon (of course) also has a premium package.
Furthermore, if you’re looking to create patterns, Flaticon has a new app for that, which is pretty cool.
Test it out for yourself – Flaticon Patterns App
Alternatives to Flaticon: The Noun Project
If you’re in need of simple mockups, Dunnnk is an easy choice.
While there’s nothing extremely exciting about stock images with your design proposals on them, it certainly is nice not needing to pay for, or ask a designer to create them 🙂
Furthermore, it’s quick and easy.
And although I didn’t use an app mockup in this example, I turned this…
…into this, in about 10 seconds.
Dunnnk has a variety of images available to place your mockups on them for all of the following devices:
- And Apple Watch
Alternatives to Dunnnk: SmartMockups
Product roadmapping sounds like a tedious task, doesn’t it?
Hence why many companies never bother to build a truly professional roadmap.
However, with Roadmunk, you can create professional product roadmaps quickly.
And if you’re using another one of our nominated product management software tools (Jira), the process apparently moves even faster.
Product roadmaps, in case you’ve never taken the time to build one out, help to create alignment around initiatives, objectives and milestones by visualizing your strategy on a timeline.
For example, here’s what a Roadmunk roadmap looks like…
Keep in mind that they have multiple views if this particular roadmap view doesn’t quite meet your preferences.
But let’s say you’re part of a much larger organization, and you’re the product manager for multiple products.
Roadmunk has a “Master Roadmapping” feature, where you can get a bird’s eye view of your entire product portfolio.
Roadmunk naturally has collaboration features where you can work in tandem on roadmaps and share plans across your entire company.
And let’s be real…
If you’re going to build a product roadmap, it should make you look good.
So add Roadmunk (or our suggested alternative) to your product management software toolset, and present it to your company with clarity and confidence.
Alternatives to Roadmunk: Aha!
User research shouldn’t be this hard.
How much time are you spending on actual research? As opposed to…
Spending time recruiting test participants, using tools that weren’t built for research, and preparing elaborate reports.
How much time are you spending on actually talking to users?
And this is where Validately comes into play…
Validately takes the pain out of user research.
It’s a comprehensive solution for user research that includes a dedicated testing platform, recruiting services, and automated reporting.
Simply put, Validately helps you spend more time actually focused on research.
So how do they do this?
Validately manages all the logistics of recruiting test participants.
What do you have to do?
Provide them with your test participant criteria, and then Validately does the following:
- Set up the technology
- Perform day of confirmations
- Backfill extra testers
- And pay incentive payments
And if you take our suggestion to adopt InVision for prototyping and design…
Here’s a video of how to then use Validately to test out your prototype:
Appsee’s app analytics platform provides an in-depth analysis of your users’ behavior, allowing you to deliver a better app experience.
Same as HotJar and FullStory, Appsee allows you record and view user sessions with click and heatmaps.
However, Appsee is app specific, and provides some powerful additional features.
With Appsee, you also get a crash reporting dashboard, as well as realtime analytics and alerts.
For product managers, Appsee allows you to proactively monitor your app and detect UX issues before they damage your retention.
So pick up Appsee in your product management software toolset, and avoid wasting valuable time dissecting heaps of numeric data.
For this particular segment of the Product Research category, we’re not going to get into too much detail.
You more than likely have heard of or used SurveyMonkey at one point in time.
Typeform provides a much more interactive and visually apealing experience.
Qualtrics overlaps with more of the analytics and monitoring tools on the product management software list.
While SurveyMonkey has a wide variety of survey related products, and strong analytics on the backend.
GlimpzIt is an emerging customer intelligence software that’s utilizing some very powerful machine learning.
The software analyzes unstructured data (video, pictures, text), which enables you to build offerings that resonate with your audience.
Companies understand their customers better than they ever have before.
Most of this is from quantitative data, such as link clicks, feature usage, product sales and positioning etc.
However, real human insights, or the qualitative data that can be captured through unstructured data like images, video and text until now have not been scalable.
Using machine learning, GlimpzIt is making it possible to gain qualitative insights at quantitative scale.
GlimpzIt partners with the top research panels around the U.S.
As a result, GlimpzIt has access to a very large and diverse audience for you to choose from.
And for directly solicited customer feedback. GlimpzIt automatically validates whether a “Glimpz” resonates with a wider audience.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you send them a prompt via mobile app, such as…
“What challenges do people face when shopping for our products in [so and so] retail store?”
Then, your selected audience will send back videos, pictures and text to answer that prompt.
This is the point where GlimpzIt’s machine learning goes to work.
In literally seconds, hundreds of images, videos and text are analyzed, organized, tagged, and mapped out in an interactive interface.
The above is just one view of the data collected, but there are many more.
Once all the data has been analyzed and organized, recommendations and insights are provided by GlimpzIt.
Based on the statistical strength of the data, insights are analyzed into action groups such as Ignore, Sustain, and Opportunity, so you can focus on what really matters.
GlimpzIt works great for the following product related use cases:
- New product development
- Ideation and concept generation
- Concept and ad testing
- Customer path to purchase
- And unstructured data management for researchers
Many of you have likely heard of Optimizely, and I’m sure all of you know about A/B testing.
Optimizely allows you to tak the guesswork out of testing your digital products.
Every great invention was born from experimentation.
Optimizely’s newest product, Optmizely X, unlocks the creativity within your organization.
You can experiment and personalize with pricing, recommendations, and product features across every channel to improve customer experiences.
And therefore…grow revenue!
Here’s Optimizely X in action…
A/B testing is simply a must in the product manager software toolset.
So don’t be lazy and just go with your gut instinct.
Start testing your ideas and know the answers with the statistical data to back them up!
Alternatives to Optimizely: VWO (Visual Website Optimizer), Google Optimize
Jira Software is built for every member of your software team to plan, track, and release great software.
With Jira, you can:
- Create user stories and issues.
- Plan sprints.
- Distribute tasks across your software team.
- Prioritize and discuss your team’s work in full context with complete visibility.
- And improve team performance based on real-time, visual data that your team can put to use.
You can get to know Jira with this product demo video…
Alternatives to Jira: Plutora
And last, but certainly not least, we have TARA.
TARA uses artificial intelligence to scope your project, assign developers, and monitor ongoing performance to build software faster.
With TARA, scoping a product has never been easier.
TARA saves you weeks of work by analyzing millions of software projects from across the web to instantly create development tasks and timelines for your project builds.
TARA operates a secure contractor network of 50,000 pre-screened developers.
With a deep understanding of your development tasks, TARA can instantaneously assign external contractors or internal developers in one comprehensive system.
So don’t take it from us, take it from one of TARA’s delighted clients…
As you may have heard in the video, TARA developers are:
- Extremely capable
- On time
- On budget
- With a fixed price quote within 24 hours
Additionally, TARA will assign you a project success manager to make sure that your project is on track to being delivered.
Product Managment Software Checklist
When qualifying product management software for this list, we use a checklist.
Essentially, we use this list to make sure that we’ve covered all of the needs of a product manager.
Here’s the list of needs which helped us rank the tools we’ve chosen for this article:
- Build and manage a vision for the product.
- Product roadmap tool with ability to manage ideas and gather feedback.
- Prioritize and manage goals, objectives, features, and requirements.
- Monitor and engage with stakeholders via reporting and analytics.
- Team environment to visualize project milestones and collaborate with different teams.
- Integrations with project management software, feature tracking tools and other supporting software.
- Interactive UI/UX design.
- Value for dollars spent.
Product Management Software: Ultimate Toolset
And there you have it folks, the ultimate toolset for product managers.
If you’d like us to add to our list or you’d like to suggest different tools, please do comment!
We’ll be updating this list at least once a year, so we want to make sure we only have the very best product management software products included 🙂