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Life Of Product Managers With/Without Product Management Software

Product managers play a pivotal role in an organization, as they are responsible for a product's overall success. With new technological advancements every other day, the job of a product manager is becoming increasingly complex. This article explores the day-to-day workflows of product managers with and without product management software to help understand the value such tools bring.

A Day In The Life Of A Product Manager Without Software

Meet Aarav, a senior product manager at a leading SaaS startup. Here's a glimpse of a typical day in his work life without any dedicated product management software:

Gathering requirements: Aarav starts his day by sorting through emails, messages, and documents to find the detailed requirements for the latest product release. This is a tedious and time-consuming process.

Organizing tasks: With requirements scattered across different sources, Aarav needs to work more to maintain a centralized task list. He ends up storing tasks on sticky notes, whiteboards, and disparate documents.

Assigning tasks: Without a centralized task management system, Aarav has to manually assign tasks to each teammate over calls or by forwarding individual emails.

Tracking progress: To monitor progress, Aarav needs to follow up with the team via messages or by visiting their desks. This is far from an efficient process.

Managing bugs: Bug reports flood Aarav's inbox daily, making it strenuous for him to organize and prioritize fixes. Many bugs need to be fixed in this manual approach.

Reporting status: For weekly stand-ups, Aarav needs a centralized system to compile updates, blockers, and metrics.

Planning future releases: Without a proper tracking solution, Aarav finds it difficult to plan future product updates and conceptualize new features.

As you can see, life as a product manager is only possible with the right tools to streamline workflows. Let's explore how dedicated software makes a difference.

Day In the Life With Product Management Software

Meet Aarti, a product manager who uses the best product management platform:

Gathering requirements centrally: All requirements are documented, discussed, and prioritized within the software's dedicated tracker.

Organizing tasks: Tasks are automatically generated from requirements and synced to the Kanban-style board for easy visualization and prioritization.

Assigning tasks: Tasks self-assign to the relevant team using integrated intelligent assignment rules.

Tracking progress: Progress updates are automatically reflected on cards as teammates update statuses from within the tool or their IDE/code editors.

Managing bugs: The dedicated bug tracker allows for the classification, assigning, prioritizing, and setting reproducible steps for reported issues.

Reporting status: Weekly report templates auto-populate with updates from across boards, trackers, and dashboards to share progress.

Planning future releases: Roadmaps provide a bird's-eye view of upcoming milestones. Customizable workflows facilitate conceptualizing future features.

As seen, Aarti's tasks are streamlined, streamed, and more strategic thanks to embedded automation and insights from her product management tool. Let's break down the key differences in more detail:

Requirements Management

Without software, requirements tracking involves storing information across several places lacking a single source of truth. This leads to miscommunication, rework, and delays.

Modern tools centralize requirements within an integrated tracker, making collaboration easier. Features like discussion threads, commenting, and custom fields ensure that all details are documented for future reference.

Task Management

Manually managing tasks is frustrating and inefficient. Tasks assigned over calls/emails are easily missed.

Integrations automatically generate tasks from requirements for centralized tracking on digital boards. Team members are notified of assigned tasks via customizable notifications.

Project Planning

Without Roadmaps, future planning lacks visibility and direction. Features are conceptualized in isolation.

Platforms provide high-level Roadmaps, Customizable workflows, and release tracking to plan strategically and gain team buy-in for new initiatives.

Status Reporting

Manual reporting is tedious and error-prone. Insights are anecdotal instead of data-driven.

Automated, template-based reporting populates seamlessly from updates across tools for fact-based weekly/monthly stand-ups, saving significant time.

Bug Tracking

Unorganized bugs piled on PMs are hard to triage and reproduce and often fall through the cracks.

Dedicated trackers improve visibility. Features like custom fields, screenshots, and embeddable replications facilitate faster resolution of issues.

Resource Management

It isn't easy to manually juggle multiple moving parts like team availability, work, loads, etc.

Tools provide a 360-degree view of resource capacity and allocation with customizable permissions for efficient load-balancing.

Stakeholder Communication

Feedback is scattered across calls/messages, which needs more transparency from stakeholders.

Web and mobile dashboards facilitate sharing updates and gathering real-time feedback for increased visibility and trust with executives.

Product Decisions

Limited data and manual workflows often lead to inefficient or misguided product decisions.

Software equips PMs with reports, analytics, and customizable feedback surveys to make evidence-based strategic calls for long-term success.

In summary, while product managers can survive without dedicated tools, their workflows will remain fragmented, time-consuming, and prone to issues. This negatively impacts productivity, collaboration, product quality, and business outcomes in the long run.

With advances in product management technology, standalone PMs struggling today will soon seem outdated. Much like CRM revolutionized sales processes, product platforms are set to transform the way products are envisioned, engineered, and delivered to customers across all industries.

Critical Factors In Choosing The Right PM Software

Over 75+ product management tools are currently available to help organizations streamline workflows. With plenty of options, there needs to be more research to evaluate what works best. Some factors to consider include:

Ease of Use—Prioritize intuitive, easy-to-learn interfaces requiring little training. Steep learning curves hamper adoption.

Collaboration: Look for activity feeds, @mentions, commenting, and seamless integrations for free-flowing team synergy.

Customization: Flexible templates, workflows, and custom fields tailored to your unique processes deliver the best results.

Integrations: Check for integrations with tools already in use, like Jira, Slack, and GitHub, for a unified experience.

Pricing: Costs depend on your team size with one-time or monthly subscription-based models. Look for value for money.

Scalability: The platform's ability to scale as your organization grows is essential for future-proof investments.

Features: Consider needs like goal tracking, releases, surveys, dashboards, resource view, etc. Different bundles cater to varying needs.

Roles: Support tailored views for designers, engineers, stakeholders, executives, and project managers.

Learning Resources: Access to guides, demo videos, and communities eases the learning curve for self-set-up and ongoing training.

Support: Opt for platforms proven active with community forums, 24/7 tickets, training resources, and account managers for quicker resolutions.

Established platforms such as JIRA Software, VersionOne, and ProductPlan have set the bar high for product success by continuously adding value through the listed best practices over the years. Trial versions help find the right system suited to your unique product culture and KPIs.

Success Lies in Streamlining

Undoubtedly, life becomes much smoother and more strategic when product managers adopt the right software. Key differences at both tactical and strategic levels become immediately apparent as manual toils are replaced with value-adding activities.

By leveraging the right collaborative tools grounded in data and insights, PMs become equipped to unlock their true potential and create more impactful products, delivering optimal customer experiences and business results.

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