27.11.20236 min
Aleksandra Habrat
GE HealthCare

Aleksandra HabratSenior Technical Product ManagerGE HealthCare

Product Management toolkit

Explore, collaborate, and thrive in Product Management. Check tools and techniques for Product Managers.

Product Management toolkit

Product management is an essential function in any organization, requiring effective collaboration, organization, and planning to bring new products to market. In today's rapid evolution of technology, product managers have a wide selection of digital tools to enhance collaboration, optimize work, and ultimately improve user satisfaction. This article explores a range of essential tools that empower product managers to efficiently navigate their product journey, from crafting a strong strategy to effective task management and more.

Aha! - product management 

Aha! is like a digital assistant for product managers, helping them plan their product strategy, prioritize features, manage product roadmap, and requirements. The product roadmap, acting as a visual compass, not only provides a holistic overview. It also aligns stakeholders with the product strategy, ensuring the team collaborates efficiently towards their goals.

Aha! does more than just organize plans - it encourages creativity through its Ideas Portal, where customers and partners can easily submit thoughts and ideas that seamlessly integrate into the evolving product plan. Within Aha!'s toolkit, you'll discover various essential elements like Product Mission, Vision, Success Statements, and the Business Model Canvas. A standout feature is the Customer Journey Mapping tool. It gives product managers a complete picture of how customers interact with the product, covering every step from the first contact to product usage. This functionality is a game-changer, helping to refine the product plan by exploring all aspects of the product.

Aha! doesn't just offer traditional presentation capabilities. It transforms concepts into visuals, simplifying sharing within your company or with customers. It supports easy content export, enhancing flexibility. Additionally, Aha! integrates with widely-used project management tools like Rally, JIRA, or Trello, facilitating a seamless and collaborative work environment.

Rally - task management

Once the product roadmap is established, and the product team has reached a consensus on the product's strategy, it can be translated into specific tasks and assignments. An efficient platform like Rally can be used to track Agile development processes, fostering collaboration among software engineers, the design team, and all stakeholders. Rally offers real-time data on epics, stories, milestones, sprints, and the product roadmap. It provides insights available through sprint reports, burndown charts, and Gantt charts.

Utilizing project management and task tracking software like Rally is a practical approach, enabling task assignment, monitoring, and progress tracking. These applications often seamlessly integrate with other tools like Aha! to synchronize task progress with roadmap updates. This synchronization enhances the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the product management process.

Figma - designing and wireframing

Effectively conveying a vision using words alone can be challenging. It is often encountered by product managers when trying to verbalize the visual aspects they desire for a feature. The development team faces a similar obstacle when trying to explain the technical complexities of implementing a feature based on the product owner's requirements.

To address this, product managers and their teams turn to applications designed for visual product design, prototyping, and wireframing. These tools offer a straightforward solution, automating various aspects of design and simplifying even the most complex tasks. Moreover, they allow users to replicate user interactions within the product, delivering a realistic user experience.

Figma, in particular, stands out as a versatile design application that goes beyond interface design. Teams use Figma for brainstorming, diagramming, and collaborative design sprinting. It streamlines the design process, promotes team collaboration, enables discussions, and facilitates prototyping of product functionality. Figma consolidates the entire product design process into a single platform, covering everything from interactive prototyping to design discussions and handoffs. Effective prototyping plays a pivotal role in enhancing user experiences, and ensuring smooth user journeys.

By embracing visual design tools like Figma, product managers, and teams can efficiently navigate the design and development processes. This approach ensures products resonate with users. It fosters collaboration, making it an indispensable instrument for product managers in crafting compelling, user-centric products.

User research and analysis

User research is a fundamental element of effective product management, both before and after a product's launch. It keeps product managers well-informed about the product's relevance to its intended user base. This process involves a variety of methods, such as task analysis, observing product interactions, and implementing data-driven strategies. It encompasses a broad range of techniques, from quantitative methods like surveys and multivariate testing to qualitative approaches, including in-depth interviews. The primary goal of user research is to help organizations develop products that offer suitable solutions to their target audience. This fosters connections with users, encouraging their product use.

For obtaining quick answers from users, product teams often turn to customer survey tools, though it's essential not to overuse them. Online surveys are straightforward, convenient, and budget-friendly, but excessive use may lead to user dissatisfaction. That's why the wise use of surveys is crucial to maintaining user satisfaction.

User research extends beyond audience identification and needs analysis, aligning with user tracking to understand post-adoption interactions. Solutions tracking user behavior and engagement are pivotal, helping product managers identify areas for improvement.

In this context, a range of tools is available, including platform-specific and software-specific options, tailored to an organization's unique needs and preferences. At GE HealthCare, we use a mix of internal survey and workflow instruments, along with Aha!'s Ideas Portal, to gather user feedback and insights. Additionally, we employ specific tools to monitor user interactions with the product, enhancing the overall user experience and identifying growth opportunities.

Microsoft Office - communication and collaboration

In the complex process of planning, developing, and launching a product, effective communication is a key factor in promoting collaboration across diverse teams and departments. In today's digital era, several user-friendly cloud-based solutions serve as essential assets.

Microsoft Teams and Atlassian's Confluence are standouts among these apps. Confluence primarily serves as a knowledge repository, while Microsoft Teams acts as a unified communication platform. It brings together discussions, documents, and tools in one interface and offers real-time communication features, such as chat, audio and video calls, and screen sharing. This enhances coordination between product managers, development teams, stakeholders, and team members. MS Teams proves particularly valuable for remote team members, enabling instant messaging for one-on-one and group discussions. It simplifies the exchange of files, links, videos, and various content, all while preserving communication archives.

Outlook, another fundamental part of the MS Office suite, is widely used for email and calendar management, streamlining the organization of appointments, meetings, and other events. Microsoft Office applications, accessible on desktops, mobile devices, and web browsers, integrate seamlessly with various Microsoft 365 tools like OneNote, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These integrations offer a comprehensive suite of instruments, providing product managers with a versatile arsenal for efficient, successful product management.

Summary

Product management tools are essential for facilitating the development and launch of new products, empowering product managers and teams. These applications are pivotal for various aspects of product management, from crafting a robust strategy to efficient task management and more. While solutions discussed in this article are those utilized at GE HealthCare, organizations have alternative applications to achieve the same product management goals.

Product managers must thoughtfully consider their product type, organizational practices, budget, and team requirements when constructing their product stack. These digital tools serve to improve efficiency and data-driven decision-making. However, the ultimate success of product managers relies on their ability to create a compelling, evidence-based product strategy. It must be communicated effectively to all relevant stakeholders, promoting alignment and enthusiasm throughout the entire team.

Leveraging these apps correctly can bring you closer to success, but without influencing others through sharing an inspiring vision, you're going to fall short of your product management goals. With the right tools and an inspired team, the path to successful product management becomes clearer.

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