As a product manager, you have two key roles in your company. Actually you likely have something more like 4,523 roles, but we’ll keep our focus tight. First, you’re the driver of your product’s strategic development. Second, you’re an information hub for the rest of your organization, the single source of truth for all questions, ideas, suggestions, and (sometimes unreasonable) requests relating to your products.
Two roles, two tools.
When it comes to the strategic, big-picture part of your job, you’ll want product roadmap software. That roadmap tool will help you develop, organize, and communicate the high-level strategy for your product, the ‘why’ behind the plan and the strategic objectives you’ve identified.
But after you’ve completed your roadmap, presented your strategy, and earned stakeholder approval to move forward, you’ll then have to start executing your plan. You’ll need to track the day-to-day details and tasks various teams will be working on to turn your strategic plan into a market-ready product. For that, you’ll need the ability to help shepherd these teams through the work. And this is where project management software should come in.
3 Ways Project Management Software Can Benefit Product Managers
1. It helps you translate strategy into discrete, trackable tasks.
When you develop your product roadmap, you’re focused on strategy—why you’re prioritizing one feature over another, for example. But when your executives give you the green light on your roadmap…well, then what?
If you have an intuitive and easy-to-use project management tool, you can translate each strategic element on your roadmap into several actionable tasks. This is part of the process you use to break product features into user stories.
For example, say the roadmap for the collaborative web software your company develops calls for a new notification feature, which will present updates to your users when a colleague updates a project. On the roadmap, you simply needed a one-sentence explanation of the new notification feature. But now that it’s time to start developing, you might need to translate this feature into 10 or more discrete, actionable tasks.
“Project management software should be used in conjunction with product roadmap software to help product managers translate their strategy into discrete, trackable tasks.”
With the right project management software, you can create as few or as many individual tasks as you need to assign and monitor independently, and then roll them up into groups to help you maintain an up-to-date sense of the overall progress of any area of development.
2. It will make you more effective as your company’s touchpoint for product updates.
As we pointed out earlier, in addition to being the strategic driver of your company’s products, your other key organizational role as a product manager is to act as your company’s go-to source for the latest information about the status of your product.
When you’ve deployed the right project management software across your company, you’ll always be just a few clicks away from the most up-to-date status information relating to your product’s development—either for your own knowledge and planning purposes, or in case an executive or other stakeholder asks you.
And the reason it’s so important to use only purpose-built project management software—ideally a streamlined, user-friendly web tool—is that this type of application will give you quick, at-a-glance answers to all of the project and task management questions you or your team might have.
When you log in to your project management tool, for example, you’ll be able to see in just a second or two—using color coding, icons, or other intuitive visual cues—the status of a given task or project. In other words, you’ll be able to immediately answer that stakeholder.
3. It helps you and your various teams communicate and collaborate more quickly and effectively.
Another valuable use of dedicated project management software is the ability to allow various teams, no matter where they’re located, to communicate and share information about tasks using the tool itself.
You wouldn’t want to open your product roadmap up to allow everyone working on any aspect of your product to add notes and comments to the roadmap document. That’s not what a product roadmap is for.
But in the execution phase, the development phase, you definitely want the various teams working on different aspects of your product to be able to share knowledge, ask questions, make suggestions, and learn from each other. That’s why deploying the right project management application is such an important step. Because it allows your team members to add comments, post questions, and even share assets like screenshots or other images, such a platform will help facilitate fast, easy, and convenient collaboration across teams—which will help them do better work, more efficiently, and it’ll help make your life easier as well.