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What is product management software?

Product management software makes it easier for organizations to plan, develop, and market new products. Most tools offer road-mapping features, allowing teams to lay out every step of the process in advance. They can also assign resources and responsibilities to ensure they’re sticking to the budget and giving employees the tasks they’re best suited for.

Along with planning, product management software includes bug tracking and user testing features to find issues before the product is fully launched. Product managers can also assign priorities to different tasks, so teams can tackle the most important items first and backlog others until they’re ready to address them. Some tools even provide agile workflows for more efficient sprint planning.

While product management software is mainly used by the production team, the information contained in the tool also provides necessary data for marketers and sales associates to better promote the product. If the manufacturers are not part of the organization, the production team can send them product specs from their product management software.

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Compare the best product management software

Product
Drag and Drop Road Mapping
Budget Tracking
Backlog Management Task Management

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ProductPlan

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ProdPad

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Pendo

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Atlassian Jira Product Management

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Craft.io

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Pivotal Tracker

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Harvestr

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Roadmunk

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Product management software FAQs

What is the difference between product management and project management?

Product management and project management software have quite a few similarities, but they mainly differ in scope and expectations. Think of projects as smaller building blocks that come together to create the product as a whole.

Product management encompasses the entirety of the product life cycle, from inception all the way through product marketing and launch. Within this lifecycle, project management helps break up the stages into more manageable pieces to optimize the process overall.

Both types of software track resource use and milestone progress. They also make it easier for employees working in separate locations to coordinate their efforts and discuss roadblocks. However, project management software is used to complete services like software implementation or construction, while product management software is geared towards product development. For example, product management software might be used to develop a new mobile app or invent and produce the next Mars rover.

What are common features of product management software?

Product management software improves efficiency and transparency during the development process. To that end, many product management tools contain these common features.

Resource management

Resource management tools can help you visualize where you’re spending the bulk of your time, budget, and manpower during product development. You can quickly identify roadblocks and take note of areas that are using more resources than they should be. This feature also helps you pre-plan your resource allocation to improve efficiency.

Milestone tracking and road mapping

Before product development starts, you’ll need to build out a road map that includes major milestones and stages in the process. Your product management tool should provide flexible milestone tracking and road mapping features, so when client demands inevitably change, you can adjust your plans accordingly.

Collaboration

Collaboration features make it easier for your team to work together on product development whether they’re in the same office or not. Team members can chat, send documents, or share resources with just a few clicks. Not all product management tools will include collaboration features, but they should at least integrate with collaboration software like Slack.

Feedback portal

Feedback is crucial to ensure you’ve delivered what the customer needs and to focus on any problem areas that arose during the process. Product management software typically includes a feedback portal so you can provide surveys and emails to both internal and external stakeholders regarding the overall success of the product. Some product management software even includes chatbots or forums where users can submit feedback or support questions.

What challenges can organizations solve with product management tools?

Product managers and owners face numerous challenges when it comes to getting their products to market, including time constraints, lack of control, and changing market dynamics. Product management software can help you address these challenges.

Tight timelines

One of the unfortunate truths of product management is that there’s almost always less time to complete the product than you need. Product management tools allow you to map out the development process ahead of time. You can ensure you have the necessary resources in place, allowing you to make the most of the time you do have. Some tools also show you the workloads of your employees, so you can assign tasks in a way that won’t cause overload.

Needing consensus from stakeholders

Within large teams, there are generally a lot of people, both internal and external, who need to approve pieces of the product before it’s complete. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get people to agree on what the most important features are. Product management software can help you build consensus with key stakeholders and get approval from different sources with fewer delays. By consolidating all of the information into a single console, stakeholders can see how the project is progressing and weigh in on key decisions with the data in front of them. The collaborative aspect of the software also allows you to tag stakeholders who need to weigh in for a better chance of getting approval quickly.

Changing market dynamics

As technology improves and markets change, what your customers require from their products is also likely to change. Road-mapping features included with product management software make it easier to adjust your plan and adapt to these changes when they come up. Most of these road maps include drag-and-drop elements, simplifying changes within the system. This flexibility improves both the quality and efficiency of your development process.

What industries benefit from product management software?

Not all industries produce products, so not all industries need product management software. However, the manufacturing, software development, and healthcare industries, among others, can all benefit from these tools. Many retail companies need custom point-of-sale (POS) software. The automotive industry is constantly innovating to provide new cars and features. The list goes on.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing companies often have the challenges of producing a high volume of products that have been customized by stakeholders. These crucial details sometimes lead to confusion over what exactly the manufacturing team needs to produce. Product management software puts all the product information into one centralized location. This makes it easy for your production team to get the exact specifications of the product before they start manufacturing. This prevents wasted resources and keeps production moving smoothly.

Best product management tools for manufacturing companies

Software development

Software development is never easy. You have to carefully allocate resources, hire the right specialists, take customer needs into account, and develop a prototype before moving to full production. Product management software helps you extensively plan out the product in the beginning of the process, allowing you to see exactly who and what you’ll need to complete it effectively. Road mapping features and integrations to third-party tools, like GitHub, can make software development much more efficient.

Best product management tools for software development teams

Healthcare

Product management is often overlooked in the healthcare industry, but it’s essential for providing the best experience and ensuring patients choose your facility. Many healthcare facilities don’t collect data on their competitors, or their staff is too swamped to innovate and improve their existing products. With product management software, it’s easier to optimize current products, improve your scheduling experience, and collect feedback from your patients. Additionally, product marketers can use the information stored in the system to advertise your facility and give you a leg up on your competitors.

Best product management tools for healthcare organizations

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