Thinking About Trying Out Product Management Software? Read This First

Project management and development management software can do 80% of what you need as a product manager. But as you may know, there are also a ton of “product management” software tools out there.

For some PMs they’re a must have. Other PMs find them to be overkill.

Figuring out if you really need specific software can be confusing. So, let’s chat about when you may want to consider adopting a product management specific tool.

No more half-baked JIRA tickets, please!

You probably already use a combo of project management and development management tools. These are things like JIRA, Asana, Trello, Clubhouse, Pivotal Tracker, Monday, etc.

However, working in some of these tools can be a challenge as a product manager. You don’t want to be going into JIRA and starting up tickets with half fleshed out ideas. This can really confuse your engineering team. You want to make sure that you don’t put anything in the tools your developers use until they are fully fleshed out.

On the other hand, since you don’t want to put these in the same tool engineering uses, an alternative solution is to use project management software. Project management software can help with timelines, responsibilities, and organization. But…they don’t quite get into the same nitty gritty details and strategy that a product management tool can help with.

When to consider a product management tool

First off, if you’re a large team with lots of products, product management software can be beneficial because it’ll help you with strategy and organization. It’ll help you figure out what customer insights go with which product and how everything fits together.

They can help you figure out product strategy for just one product or for all your products (before throwing things into JIRA).

It also helps with things like product road maps and prioritization.

The first time I logged into a product management tool, I was like, “wow, this is total overkill for what I need”. With only a handful of feature requests a week and one product to work on, the tool made more work for me than it saved. So…I stuck to my spreadsheets, my project management software, and other existing tools.

If that’s like you, then that’s totally fine! There’s a good chance that you may not need product management software! But there are a few situations in which product management software may be an excellent choice for you.

What’s your current level of chaos?

How manageable are things for you right now? If you’re managing a super high level of chaos, product management software may be a good idea for you. It’s worth a try to see if you like it and to see if it helps. If not, you can always go back to the way you were doing things before.

Is your strategy working for you?

Is your existing strategy working? If it is then great! But if it isn’t, then new software may help you rethink your approach to a problem or process and software you’re struggling with right now.

How much customer feedback do you get?

Another thing is, do you have a lot of customer feedback coming in? If you have a lot of customer feedback coming in, it can be really hard to manage all of the different sources of it. PM software helps to get all that information from all those disparate sources and help you pull it into one place and find insights from it.

But if you’re able to do this right now on your own without software then cool, no need to spend an extra 200 or 300 dollars a month for new product management software!

Are you managing multiple products?

Do you have multiple products that you’re managing? If you do have multiple products, product management software is an excellent way to manage them.

If you have a single product, then maybe product management tool is a little bit overkill.

In review

You may want to try PM software if…

  • things feel out of control
  • you need a better grip on your strategy
  • you have a ton of customer feedback to manage
  • you are managing multiple products at once

If you do feel like you have things under control and everything is organized well, then no need to jump into PM software just yet! If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.