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How to streamline your product management tools

Last updated: February 2024

"Building and delivering new customer experiences." This is a (deceptively) concise way to describe the immense scope of your work as a product manager. You play a vital role in every step of the product development lifecycle — from strategizing and ideating all the way to launching and analyzing the value of what the team has created.

Doing it all successfully requires the right set of tools. Although some product teams still rely on generic spreadsheets and presentation decks, this approach is painfully outdated and unwieldy. Documents are often disconnected from one another as well as from the product goals and daily work. And you have to manually update and reshare documents every time there is a change.

Thankfully, purpose-built product management software offers a better way to work. Look for a platform that makes it easy to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders — both in real time and asynchronously. You will also want the ability to set strategy, visualize concepts on whiteboards, prioritize features, plan for launches, and build and share roadmaps.


Value Chain


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Skip ahead to learn how you can simplify your team's workflows and focus on delivering greater value:

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How many tools do product teams need?

The more product management tools in your toolkit, the better. Right? Not exactly. It is true that you need broad functionality to accomplish product goals and do your daily work. But it is better to select one (or a few) tools to do so — this leads to easier onboarding, smoother collaboration, and more cost savings.

Imagine that your product documentation is scattered across multiple places and formats. It becomes difficult and inefficient for folks to find what they need, when they need it. Consider also the higher cost to the organization and steeper learning curve — especially for new hires, but also for current teammates trying to keep up with a bunch of new features, product updates, and enhancements.

Your team will ideally use a single product management platform that is accessible to the entire product team. The platform you choose should include all (or almost all) of the functionality your team needs to succeed. This includes strategic planning work as well as day-to-day prioritization and task management. Depending on the maturity of the business and specific needs of the team, some companies (and especially large organizations) might opt to add a few specialized tools as well. This might include functionality for conducting customer research, coordinating with the engineering team, or analyzing product data.

In general, however, it is best to use the smallest number of tools your team needs to achieve goals and collaborate. This helps everyone increase efficiency and streamline product development.

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Identifying opportunities to consolidate tools

If your team currently relies on multiple (or even extraneous) product management tools, think about switching to a solution with comprehensive functionality. As an example, let's look at how high-performing product teams use a single suite like Aha! software to do it all:

Product strategy and roadmapping

Define product goals and initiatives and build a roadmap to visualize your plan for achieving them. Choose a roadmap template, customize the details for different audiences, and share a live view of your roadmap with stakeholders. By connecting each feature or work item back to the strategy, everyone understands how their efforts contribute to overarching objectives.

You can also use Aha! Roadmaps to:

  • Capture your business model

  • Define product positioning

  • Craft customer personas

  • Perform competitor analysis

  • Build roadmaps in real time and link to actual product data

  • Coordinate release plans across multiple products

Analytics

Leverage the powerful analytics engine in Aha! Roadmaps, Aha! Ideas, and Aha! Develop to gain insights into your product data and make more informed prioritization decisions. Create and customize a variety of reports — such as list reports, pivot tables, and charts — to measure the value the team delivers.

Use Aha! software to:

  • Define a product value scorecard

  • Build a dashboard to monitor KPIs

  • Create and share visual reports

  • Track and share progress in relation to the product strategy

Customer feedback and surveys

Gain a deeper understanding of your users. An ideas portal in Aha! allows you to collect feedback directly from customers as well as customer-facing teams such as sales or support. Segment feedback, conduct polls, and discuss what you learned with the team.

Use Aha! Ideas to:

  • Capture feedback via ideas portals

  • Launch polls

  • Host online focus groups (we call these empathy sessions)

  • Gather in-app feedback in real time

  • Document customer research and interview notes

Design and wireframing

Diagram concepts and create wireframes on whiteboards. (These whiteboards are included in all Aha! Roadmaps, Aha! Ideas, Aha! Notebooks, and Aha! Develop plans.) Make your own wireframe or choose a wireframe template such as the signup wireframe or product homepage wireframe.

Use Aha! software to:

  • Think through early-stage product concepts

  • Explore new user flows or features

  • Leave feedback on sketches and designs

User experience

Create notes and whiteboards to sketch out early-stage concepts and add designs directly to a feature or requirement. (Notes and whiteboards are included in all Aha! Roadmaps, Aha! Ideas, Aha! Notebooks, and Aha! Develop plans.) Gather feedback from teammates and customers, then use the insights you gain to design more lovable user experiences.

Use Aha! software to:

  • Conduct user research

  • Create customer personas

  • Map out user journeys

  • Collaborate with product management and engineering teammates

  • Manage design review cycles

Collaboration and productivity

Collaborate with the team in one place. Document product management best practices, establish standardized and repeatable processes, and align the team around delivering value to customers and the business. Built-in collaboration functionality keeps everyone updated on any changes as teammates receive automatic notifications, comments, and to-dos.

Use Aha! software to:

  • Establish a single source of truth

  • Conduct a visual brainstorm with whiteboards

  • Standardize workflows

  • Access a library of more than 100 guided templates

Software development

Build the perfect environment for agile development. Choose a scrum, kanban, or Scaled Agile Framework® approach, then customize the way the team works with extensions. If you use Aha! Develop in conjunction with Aha! Roadmaps, you can also create a unified backlog of roadmap-driven and technical work to align product management and engineering.

Use Aha! Develop to:

  • Streamline development workflows

  • Estimate effort in story points or time

  • Set sprint capacity

  • Integrate with other popular developer tools

  • Track teams' efficiency with agile reports

Project and task management

Coordinate cross-functional plans to make sure the team delivers projects on schedule and on budget. Define the objectives and scope, create interactive Gantt charts and project roadmaps, and share the plan with relevant stakeholders. This keeps everyone aligned and focused on what you will deliver.

Use Aha! Roadmaps to:

  • Standardize templates, workflows, and approval processes

  • Visualize dependencies and manage capacity to reduce project risk

  • Assign work items with due dates to teams or individuals

  • Track progress in real time

Powerful product teams need a powerful suite of tools to achieve their best. We hope the information we shared here is a good starting point to see how you can do most of your product management work in a single software suite.

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