PM Tools Guidebook

The life of a Product Manager revolves around 2P – People and Platform (tools). On one hand, PM acts as a bridge between multiple teams, and on the other hand, PM also deals with multiple tools for multiple tasks. Finding the right tool for the right task can be a pain. Here is a list of curated tools, a Product Manager can use across various stages of Product Management.

The above steps might sound similar to UX Process or Design Thinking but altogether it’s one of the approaches for solving a problem.

 

DISCOVER

This is the first phase where we interact with the users, empathize with them to understand their problem. The whole approach of user-centricity in Product Management begins from here. Below are a few of the techniques you can include in the Discover phase.

The Entire Discovery Phase can be divided into 2 sections – Primary Research & Secondary Research.

Primary Research is about reaching out to the users directly and try to understand the problem.

  1. One on One Interview – Either you are talking to your client or your customer, a direct conversation will help you to understand the problem that you are seeking to solve.
  2. Surveys – One of the most widely used technique to reach out to mass and collect their responses.
  3. Ethnographic Research – Ethnographic research is one of the qualitative methods where you can observe or interact with the user in their real-time environment.
  4. AEIOU – It’s one of the observation frameworks which stands for (Activities, Environment, Interactions, Objects, Users) Secondary Research is a method that involves using already existing data.
  5. Available Data – Research Papers, Websites, White Paper, Forum.
TechniquesBest PracticesTools/Templates
One-on-One InterviewRead moreMiro
Ethnographic ResearchRead more 
AEIOURead moreTemplate
SurveysRead moreGoogle Form, Typeform, SurveyMonkey
The 5 WhysRead moreMiro
Secondary ResearchRead moreGoogle Trends, Gartner, G2 Crowd

 

 DEFINE

Once all the data is collected in the Discover Phase, it’s important to analyze the data and bring out insights from the observations. The objective of this stage is to define the problem statement based on your research. Here are a few of the techniques that can be used in the Define stage.

  1. Journey Map – A journey map is the visualization of the different phases a user goes through for completing a goal. This framework helps in identifying the key milestones in the process and the pain points in each of them.
  2. Empathy Map – Empathy map is one of the most important techniques for capturing user’s behavior and attitude. It deals with what users say, feels, does, and thinks.
  3. User Persona – Personas are fictional characters that are created to represent different user types. There are different kinds of users and they have different needs. A user persona is another tool that helps in segmenting the users and showing their pain points and goals.
  4. Affinity Diagram – It is a tool to organize ideas and data. It helps in consolidating information and group similar data.
  5. Point of View – It is the problem statement which has been generated from the Define phase after analyzing all the data. It helps in reframing the pain points into the actionable problem statement.
TechniquesHow toTools/Templates
Journey MapReadmoreXtensio
Empathy MapRead moreMiro
User PersonaRead moreXtensio
Point of viewRead moreTemplate
Affinity DiagramRead moreLucid ChartMiro

 

IDEATE

This is one of the most interesting phases of the product management lifecycle. Where we come up with all possible ideas to solve the problem. First, we try to come up with as much as a crazy idea and this is called Divergent Thinking. The next step is to prioritize your idea and narrow it down and we term it as Convergent Thinking. Here are a few of the techniques we can user in this phase.

DIVERGENT THINKING

  1. Brainstorm – It’s one of the primary methods of idea generation. The whole purpose of a brainstorm is collective thinking, listening to each other building on other ideas.
  2. Crowdstorm – Just like Brainstorm, crowdstorm is a technique of idea generation, where you also involve the users.
  3. MindMap = What comes to your mind when you hear the word ____? MindMap helps you think and visually represent information.  This you can associate the word with related words.
  4. Scamper – It stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify (Also Magnify and Minify) Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse. Each part of it is different ways of idea generation.

 

 

TechniquesHow toTools/Templates
BrainstormReadmoreMiro
CrowdstormRead moreUserVoiceSurveyMonkey
MindmapRead moreXmindMural
ScamperReam moreMiro

 

CONVERGENT THINKING

  1. Voting – Voting is one of the simple decision-making processes. You set the constraint of the voting process and the team can vote accordingly. It also helps in removing biases and the HIPPO effect (Highest paid member in the room) thus enabling all participants to contribute equally.
  2. Effort vs Impact matrix – It’s a 2×2 prioritization matrix where ideas are plotted based on effort/cost of implementation and impact.
  3. Kano Analysis – It’s another prioritization tool to define the product roadmap based on customer satisfaction. It classifies the features based on “Basic”, “Performance” and “Delighters”.

 

 

TechniquesHow toTools
VotingRead moreMentimeter
Effort Impact matrixRead moreMiro
Kano AnalysisRead moreMiro

 

DESIGN

Once all the key features are defined, the next phase is about designing the product and coming up with a prototype. Here are few of the tools and techniques we use in this phase

  1. UserFlow – Similar to the customer journey, userflow is in more detail about the specific path a user takes to complete a task.
  2. Wireframes – A wireframe is a blueprint that represents the skeleton framework of the product.
  3. Prototype – A prototype is a model (which can be a digital or paper) which is developed to test a concept or process.

 

TechniquesTools
User flowOverflow
WireframesInvision, Figma
High fidelity prototypeFigma, Adobe XD
Interactive PrototypeProtopie, Principle, After Effects

 

Here are a few more free resources that might be handy while dealing with the design phase.

 

TechniquesTools
AnimationSpirit
High-resolution photosUnsplash
Free AudioUnminusFree Sound
IconsFlat Icons
Free fontsGoogle Fonts
Free illustrationsUndraw.coDraw Kit
Platform mockupsMockup Phone
Color palettesAdobe Colour
Screen specificationsScreen Sizes

 

BUILD / DEVELOP

Here comes the actual phase, where you develop the product, based on all the inputs. There are numerous tools and techniques that are used during the development phase based on the approach and technology. Below are a few tools that can be helpful during the Build phase.

 

TechniquesTools
CollaborationSlack, Confluence, G-suite
CommunicationZoom, Slack, Calendly
RoadmapProduct Plan, AHA
Task ManagementJira, Trello, Asana
PrioritizeProductific, Hygger

 

TEST / VALIDATE

After a product is developed, it important to take the feedback from the users and check with them if the product that is built actually solves their problem. Here are a couple of tools that can be useful.

  1. A/B testing – It’s a process of comparing 2 versions of pages and measuring the difference in performance. If it’s more than 2 versions, it’s called multivariate testing.
  2. Analytics – It helps in tracking and measuring the performance and usage of the product. There are various different metrics to measure usage.
  3. Usability Testing – It’s a way of evaluating a product by testing it on users. You give some task to the users and they have to complete it (by using the product)
  4. Click Tracking – It’s another analytics that measures where users click on the web/mobile page.

 

 

TechniquesHow toTools/Templates
Click trackingRead moreHotjar, Inspectlet, Mouseflow
A/B TestingRead moreOptimizely, HubSpot’s A/B Testing Kit, VWO
Analytics Google Analytics, Mixpanel
Usability MetricsRead moreUserTesting

Based on the feedback of the users, the next steps is to circle back to the ideation phase to fill any missing gaps and complete the product.

 

MEASURE

After the product is built it equally essential to set a goal/KPI and keep tracking the progress.  Here are 2 of the most used frameworks that are used:

 

TechniquesTools
AARRRMiro
HEARTMiro

AARRR – Activation, Acquisition, Retention, Revenue, and Referral

HEART – Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, Task Success

REFERENCES

The source for “best practices/how to” shared are from a few famous websites listed below:

  1. https://www.nngroup.com/
  2. https://99designs.com/
  3. https://www.interaction-design.org/
  4. https://uxdesign.cc/
  5. https://medium.com/