The Best Product Management Tools for Developers

Developers carry the responsibility for creating workable products which provide both user-friendly and functional features. Without these aspects, products will fail to earn market share or fail as a critical component of a company’s infrastructure. It’s not as simple as designing the code which will meet functionality demands; many other variables contribute to the success of the final product.

That’s where product management tools come in. These tools enable developers to analyze the performances of various iterations throughout the development process, and increasingly, to obtain valuable user feedback.

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Product Management Tools for Developers are in Demand

The Forrester Wave Application Lifecycle Management report from Q4 2012 analyzes nine of the most common software platforms for product development and application lifecycle management against 116 criteria. Solutions analyzed include:

  • Atlassian
  • CollabNet
  • HP
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • PTC
  • Rally Software
  • Rocket
  • Aldon
  • Serena Software

In June 2012, Gartner released what is known as the “Magic Quadrant” for application lifecycle management, using a complex set of evaluation criteria to rank product management and application lifecycle management tools in terms of where they fall in relation to essential features. Each tool then lands in the niche players, challengers, visionaries or leaders category based on where they fall in terms of completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Today’s trend towards innovation contributes significantly to the need for effective product management tools. The development process is no longer a stand-alone function; products must be tested, analyzed and evaluated for usability, productivity and customer experience throughout the development cycle. The time from concept to release is also increasingly shorter as demand for better products continues to grow.

Further complicating today’s development needs is the demand to incorporate feedback and direction from other teams, such as marketing and finance. Product development tools allow for efficient product tracking, reporting and help to streamline communication between departments.

Features to Look for in Product Management Tools

Some of the same driving forces behind the need for product management tools are also the very features to look for when selecting a software partner to help track and coordinate development projects. Usability, for instance, is a key component, especially considering non-development professionals will be involved in the process and providing input. Likewise, ease of reporting is critical for proper planning, resource investment allocation and overall task coordination.

Testing components, and the ability to analyze separate iterations throughout the development cycle, are useful in improving overall productivity. Developers can split test at different check points, reducing the need to backtrack after product delivery to improve a component found to have poor usability.

Here’s a look at some of the prominent product management tools available to developers today.

Rally Software

rally

Rally Software is one product management tool recognized by both Forrester and Gartner for its features and functionality. Rally Software offers an Agile Product Management tool, designed to enable ease of collaboration among product managers and developers. Rally’s Agile Product Management Tool consists of Rally Idea Manager and Rally Portfolio Manager, which encompass most of its features.

Key Features:

  • Rally Idea Manager for user feedback
  • Rally Portfolio Manager offers product overviews and reporting
  • Features overview allows feature prioritization; stall low-priority features to improve delivery times
  • Detailed timeline tracking with non-developer terminology for interdepartmental communication
  • Eliminates manual timeline updates

Cost:

  • Unlimited Edition: $49 per user, per month with a minimum annual commitment required.
  • Enterprise Edition: $35 per user, per month
  • eXpress Edition: $19 per user, per month
  • Community Edition: FREE for up to 10 users

 

Atlassian

greenhopper

Atlassian offers a few different tools useful for developers. Product management components include Jira, designed for seamless project tracking across multiple teams, and GreenHopper, an Agile Project Management tool for Scrum and Kanban teams. The Bonfire component is an exploratory testing tool for web-application testing. Atlassian’s client list includes major corporations such as Facebook, Twitter, Adobe and Zynga.

Key Features:

  • Easily create product backlogs with important stories
  • Import backlogs from other tools to GreenHopper
  • Add estimates and bugs to projects
  • Drag-and-drop functionality for easy updating and visualizing timelines
  • Visualize multiple processes from Jira within the GreenHopper dashboard

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available. A free trial is available for all products.

 IBM Rational

ibm

IBM has long been a leader in the software industry.The Forrester report notes that major players like IBM are maintaining a strong foothold in application lifecycle management products. IBM also lands among the “leaders” category in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, thanks to its strong ability to execute and completeness of vision. IBM Rational encompasses a number of tools falling within subtypes of product management software, including Rational Developer for System z. But it’s IBM’s Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) suite which gets the most attention among industry reviews, primarily due to its cohesive tools based on a common platform, which eases both integration and collaboration.

Key Features:

  • Host of tools which can be bundled for specific workflow needs
  • Graphical representations of program flow with links to underlying sources
  • Ideal for traditional, agile or hybrid teams
  • In-context collaboration
  • Real-time planning for faster delivery times
  • Lifecycle traceability provides deeper analysis of relationships between products and tasks for better resource allocation

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

 CollabNet

collab

CollabNet is best known for its emphasis on agile, cloud-based development and deployment, which it terms “Enterprise Cloud Development.” The idea is that a central, cloud-based platform enables collaboration, including real-time status reporting and analytics to stakeholders, regardless of location constraints. CollabNet’s core product line includes Subversion, TeamForge, CloudForge, Enterprise Git and ScrumWorks Pro. TeamForge and ScrumWorks Pro are the primary offerings designed to track and monitor products from concept to delivery. There’s some overlap between the capabilities of each and they do integrate well together.

Key Features:

  • Monitor progress at the team level
  • Drag-and-drop functionality to transfer tasks and products from product backlog to sprint backlog
  • Kanban management capability
  • Control access to features and functions by role; limit certain teams to access only the data they need
  • Deploy on-premise or in the cloud
  • Easily collaborate between development and operations throughout the product development and delivery cycle

Cost:

  • TeamForge Project for individual projects for workgroups: $99 per month. Price plans begin at 5 users. Price plans as follows (prices listed are starting prices):
    • Personal: $3.50 per user per month
    • Business: $16.50 per user per month
    • Agile Enterprise: $16.50 per user per month
    • TeamForge dedicated instance for the enterprise:
      • $4,995 per year (onsite)
      • $14,995 per year (hosted)

Microsoft

microsoft

The primary benefit to utilizing any Microsoft tool is easy integration with other products within the overall Microsoft software line. Microsoft Visual Studio, its primary product management tool for developers, is no exception: It supports Office, SharePoint and Project. Gartner differentiates Microsoft from all of the other tools listed in its Magic Quadrant, noting it’s “the only one that tightly binds its versioning system to the rest of the ALM planning tool.”

Key Features:

  • Collaboration ensures products meet pre-defined criteria set forth by stakeholders
  • Integrated team approach enables speed and agility
  • Integrates with third-party products and solutions
  • Continuous testing and feedback
  • Enhance the flow of value throughout development cycle

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

Serena Software

serena

Serena Software also provides a host of tools to aid developers in improving workflow and processes while boosting quality and collaboration with cross-functional teams. Serena Development Manager provides the ability to reduce rework while improving efficiency. The product consists of Serena Dimensions CM and Serena Business Manager (SBM), which optimizes the entire development cycle through change requests, issue and defect tracking, incident management and release management. Teams can deliver products on time and within budget via collaboration and process tracking.

Key Features:

  • Integration with third-party tools and platforms
  • Real-time dashboards and updates across projects, teams and tools
  • View development data from various tools, such as Subversion or HP Quality Center
  • Easily determine bottlenecks across multiple projects

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

HP

hp

HP Quality Center is a long-standing player in the product management field. Recently, HP introduced ALM 11, incorporating requirements management and overall development planning functionality. HP ALM supports both traditional and agile practices. ALM 11 is designed to provide a common platform for diversified teams typically relying on a varied set of management tools, streamlining project tracking and communication.

Key Features:

  • Define task-based milestones, key performance indicators (KPIs) and exit criteria
  • Automatic alerts to key stakeholders for possible delays in projected task completion timeframes
  • Real-time view into project and task status
  • Visual representation of process flows for communication with external teams and stakeholders
  • Rich text editor appeals to business analysts

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

 Rocket Software

rocket

Rocket Software’s product management solution was formerly known as Aldon, which Rocket acquired in March 2012 in order to create a new division. Now known as Rocket Aldon, this product is one of Rocket Software’s many solutions serving IT professionals, developers and enterprises, with a focus on entrepreneurial IT organizations. Rocket Aldon encompasses a suite of products enabling IT workflow automation, software change management, release management, deployment management and IT compliance. Rocket Aldon Lifecycle Manager is the component geared towards streamlining and monitoring the product development process.

Key Features:

  • Manages the entire workflow from change request approvals to testing and final deployment
  • Automation and process tracking provides adequate reporting for audits
  • Repeatable, traceable processes provides streamlines the workflow and improves efficiency across projects
  • Manage projects across geographically distributed teams with ease

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

Sprintly

sprintly

A full-team project collaboration platform, Sprintly allows salespeople to enter customer requests, any team member can submit bug reports and feature requests, and more. Prioritize, tag, manage, estimate and measure developers’ progress in real time, with an easy-to-use interface that illustrates the status of any project across collaborators. Real-time notifications also keep you on track, and timeline view lets you quickly see who’s overloaded.

Key Features:

  • Total team collaboration within a single interface
  • Real-time project tracking and notifications
  • Powerful search function
  • Seamless tagging system for better project monitoring

Cost:

  • 30-day free trial
  • $14 per teammate per month
  • Observer seats are free

VersionOne

versionone

VersionOne is a veteran in the agile product management vertical, with a global reach and several major customer installations.  VersionOne’s Agile Product Planning Tool is a product road-mapping platform as well as an ideas management tool, offering direct customer collaboration via an idea submission and voting platform. As user feedback becomes an increasingly integral component of successful product development, this is a feature which will serve many enterprises well.

Key Features:

  • View and prioritize both internally and externally obtained feedback and change requests
  • Drag-and-drop and multi-screen functions to rank stories, consolidate tasks and prioritize stories and defects
  • Ideas Management tool incorporates valuable user feedback
  • Feature request submission for internal parties and external customers
  • Measure progress against overall company objectives
  • Use epics to break large projects into manageable tasks

Cost:

  • Team – 10 user pack: FREE
  • Catalyst – 20 user pack: $175 per month
  • Enterprise: $29 per user per month
  • Ultimate: $39 per user per month

Polarion Software

polarion

Polarion Software supports both traditional and agile development environments. Polarion’s ALM product unifies the entire product development process, including requirements management tools, bug trackers, change management, version configuration management tools, audits and metrics, and more. This platform enables developers to keep every artifact of a project in one location, instead of relying on different platforms throughout the process – reducing the need to import and export artifacts and information for a seamless product management experience.

Key Features:

  • 100% web-based management across the product lifecycle
  • Supports multiple processes and methodologies, including agile, traditional, waterfall and more
  • Real-time visibility; project status and audit transparency
  • Online authoring with Live Docs streamlines collaboration
  • Audits and qualitative metrics helps identify problems early on; built-in testing tools
  • Build your own apps with the included API

Cost:

Polarion ALM

  • Perpetual license
    • Named user: $2,988 first year, $498 each additional year
    • Concurrent user: $8,988 first year, $1,498 each additional year
    • Term license
      • Named user: $1,380 first year, $1,380 each additional year
      • Concurrent user: $4,140 first year, $4,140 each additional year

Polarion Pro

  • Perpetual license
    • Named user: $779 first year, $130 each additional year
    • Concurrent user: $2,388 first year, $388 each additional year
    • Term license
      • Named user: $360 first year, $360 each additional year
      • Con
      • Concurrent user: $1,080 first year, $1,080 each additional year

Parasoft

parasoft

Parasoft offers a suite of products including visualization tools, development testing, and cloud, SOA and API testing. Parasoft has been creating tools for software application development for 25 years. Parasoft Concerto, the company’s ALM offering, is compatible with agile, scrum, hybrid and other development methodologies, with a comprehensive platform encompassing task management, planning and budgeting capabilities, the ability to manage multiple iterations and more.

Key Features:

  • Plan for releases, products and iterations
  • Task transparency allows for continuous process improvement
  • Pre-configured systems and processes for agile development, FDA/medical device industry, safety critical systems, geographically distributed development teams and traditional development
  • Task management and distribution
  • Project planning and task definition breaks larger stories into manageable tasks for improved productivity

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

ThoughtWorks Studios

thoughtworks

ThoughtWorks Studios offers a three-pronged approach to product management, including Mingle for agile project management, Go for continuous delivery and Twist for agile automated testing. Mingle is available in both a standard edition and Mingle Plus, which offers additional functionality such as a backlog for prioritization of objectives and the ability to forecast multi-team objectives based on current project progress.

Key Features:

  • Flexible and customizable for the ideal product management experience
  • Customizable multi-dimensional card walls, taskboards and dashboards
  • Distributed teams and external stakeholders can collaborate easily using a shared workspace
  • Feeds and email alerts notify other team members of project status and task completion
  • Provides collaboration and transparency across multiple projects
  • Program-level organizational capacity to organize multiple projects within a program

Cost:

  • Mingle: $240 per user per year (5 free users)
  • Mingle Plus: $400 per user per year (5 free users)

PTC

ptc

The Forrester Wave report points out that PTC is a niche product management tool with a strong emphasis on compliance — and one of few which provide built-in workflows and reports capable of satisfying regulatory bodies. This makes PTC Integrity ideal for the highly regulated field of embedded software as it’s capable of managing all artifacts associated with a project against a “single, unified data model and repository,” says Gartner.

Key Features:

  • Single, globally accessible repository
  • Best practices and tools for collaboration
  • Single source of information for all product-related artifacts
  • Comprehensive lifecycle traceability
  • Complete product visibility to improve quality and delivery times

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

 

Which product management tool is right for you?

There are dozens of product management tools for developers, and each developer has his own set of standards and preferences. If you ask ten experienced developers what their favorite product management tool is, you could easily get ten different answers.

That’s because while most product management tools are built with the same underlying premise, organizations have different organizational demands. Some may require more seamless collaboration across distributed geographic areas, while others require easy reporting functionality to communicate with external stakeholders in a language that makes sense to them.

Fortunately, most product management tools offer a free trial period. It’s always advisable to take advantage of a free trial to test a tool’s real-world compatibility with your workflow, processes and environment.

 

Product management tools aren’t the only useful tools for developers. Here’s a look at dozens of wireframes, process flows, web analytics, collaboration tools, website feedback and testing, surveys, blogs and more that you’ll find valuable assets in your toolbox.

Wireframes Tools

Balsamiq

Balsamiq Studios enables developers to create the most user-friendly software possible. Balsamiq Studios flagship product for developers, Balsamiq Mockups, allows developers to create digital sketches in less time, collaborate among teams, obtain feedback and move into the review and iteration stage quickly and easily.

Key Features:

  • Real-time collaboration with stakeholders
  • Digital sketches look real, with fewer distracting details for easy understanding by external team members
  • Available on the web, as a download, or as a plugin for Google Drive or various other collaboration tools for easy integration

Cost:

  • Single User License: $79
  • Volume Pack: discounts start at 5 users and increase with volume
  • 5 users: $379

Cacoo
Cacoo allows users the opportunity to create diagrams with its simple online drawing tools. Users can create a variety of diagrams with a simple click, drag and drop. Features and functions include a variety of stencils, background sheet, freehand options and more. Team members are able to view, share and edit diagrams in real time.

Key Features:

  • Real time collaboration
  • Create sophisticated diagrams using multiple drag-and-drop tools
  • Create wireframes, mind maps, network charts, site maps and more

Cost:

  • Free Plan: with limited options
  • Plus Plan: $4.95 per month/$49 per year. More options available to make Cacoo more useful for you.
  • Team Plan
    • Basic – Up to 10 users, $24.50 per month
    • Premium – Up to 30 users, $49 per month
    • Max – Up to 100 users, $99 per month

 Visio

With just a few clicks, complex information is simplified by creating professional diagrams using Visio. Users are able to use the tools and formatting options to create diagrams, collaborate with teammates on the same diagram at the same time and link shapes and images to real-time data.

Key Features:

  • Simultaneous user collaboration
  • Link to real-time data
  • Touch integration for Windows 8 and Visio Services in Microsoft SharePoint
  • Share diagrams with non-Visio users via a browser through Microsoft 365 or SharePoint

Cost:

  • Visio Standard 2010: $250
  • Visio Professional 2010: $560
  • Visio Premium 2010: $1,000

Axure RP

Axure RP includes wireframing, prototyping and specification tools needed to make informed design choices, obtain necessary feedback and deliver projects in less time.  With Axure RP, users have the power to deliver more than typical mockup tools. Users are able to generate an interactive HTML website wireframe or UI mockup without coding and then send the link to receive feedback and make necessary changes. With the tools, users are also able to design an app interface for Android or iPhone and view it right on your mobile device.

Key Features:

  • View mobile mockups directly on a device
  • Generate mockups without coding
  • History of changes and feedback for easy collaboration
  • Assign custom domains and customize login and password pages for a fully branded experience for clients

Cost:

  • Standard: $289 per license
  • Pro: $589 per license

Flairbuilder

Flairbuilder is a prototyping tool allowing users to create interactive wireframes for websites and mobile apps. With so many options, Flairbuilder is user friendly and so easy to learn and use. With these tools, wireframes are easy to build, change or throw away and start new.

Key Features:

  • 60-plus built-in widgets and components
  • Design wireframes for popular social sites, mobile apps and full websites
  • Export to a fully functional HTML prototype with a single click

Cost:

  • One-User License: $99
  • Volume License: Discounts range from 10 to 30 percent based on the number of users

Mockingbird

A web-based wireframe tool for making and sharing wireframes, Mockingbird provides tools to create, link together, preview and share mockups with both internal and external team members with ease. With Mockingbird, users are able to go from a brainstorm to mockup in minutes, link multiple mockups together, preview them and share with clients or teammates to allow real-time changes.

Key Features:

  • Link multiple mockups together for interactive previewing
  • Collaborate by simply sharing a link
  • Drag-and-drop UI elements
  • Fully web-based

Cost:

  • Personal: $9 per month – 2 active projects
  • Team: $20 per month – 10 active projects
  • Pro: $40 per month – 25 active projects
  • Unlimited: $85 per month – unlimited active projects

OmniGraffle

OmniGraffle, designed for Mac users, makes diagramming easy. OmniGraffle helps users create various projects quickly and efficiently– lines stay connected to shapes even when they are moved, powerful styling tools are provided, importing and exporting Microsoft Visio files and organizing with one click are just a few of the advanced options offered in this latest release.

Key Features:

  • Bézier lines and shapes, stencil search, mini inspectors and style tray
  • Easy switch to outline view to document notes or ideas
  • Presentation Mode for collaboration and sharing

Cost: 

  • Standard: $99.99
  • Professional: $199.99

iRise

From a concept to a launch, iRise is used to support almost every aspect of your application development process. iRise is used to test applications before they are actually built–allowing companies to save time, money, increase customer satisfaction and to be able to deliver a better product in the end. The platform includes iRise Studio to create and edit visualizations, Definition Center for collaboration, iRise Reader for reviewing, commenting and approvals, as well as other tools and add-ons.

Key Features:

  • Integrates with IBM Rational and HP Quality Center
  • Code Gen generates a working code base to kickstart development
  • Pre-defined widgets and assets as well as customization options

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.
  • 30-day free trial is available.

iPlotz

iPlotz software enables users to wireframe their ideas by creating a project, adding wireframe pages with design components and finally, collaborating with others through a project and task management interface.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with Linux, Mac, or Windows with Flash-enabled browsers
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • Share as .png, .jpg or .pdf
  • Share editing rights and invite others to comment
  • Project and task management

Cost:

  • Demo: Free online use for one project, limited to five wireframe pages
  • Single User: $15 per month/$99 per year
  • Multi User:
    • $295 per year, 5 users
    • $495 per year, 10 users
    • iPlotz Desktop: $75 (perpetual), does not include iPlotz online membersip

MockUp Tiger

MockUp Tiger allows the user to create wireframes, mockups and prototypes through “the most low intertia wireframe and sketching after paper and pen.” A web-based rapid prototyping application, install MockUP Tiger directly onto your desktop or host it yourself.

Key Features:

  • Dashboards and charts builder
  • One-click url sharing
  • Simple flowdiagrams and flowcharts
  • Collaborate among client accounts, multi-teams and groups

Cost: $97

Process Flows Tools

LucidChart

LucidChart is a process flow application that integrates seamlessly with Google Drive and Google Apps, JIRA, Jive and Confluence—it even offers importing and exporting through Microsoft Visio. A cloud-based application, LucidChart works in any browser and maintains a robust revision history for streamlined collaboration. Create wireframes, flowcharts, UML diagrams, mind maps, site maps, iPhone and iPad mockups and more.

Key Features:

  • Integration with popular wireframe and product management tools
  • Secure data encryption
  • Robust revision history
  • Drag-and-drop functionality

Cost:

  • Personal: Free to $9.95 per month
  • Team: $2.00 to $5.00 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Contact the company for enterprise quotes

Web Analysis Tools

Mouseflow

Mouseflow enables live mouse tracking, instant heatmaps, in-page analytics, link analytics, and recording dynamic page elements. Users may also download user recordings for playback and analysis of real-time visitor tracking.

Key Features:

  • Instant heat maps
  • In-page analytics
  • Link analytics
  • Track keystrokes, form fills and scrolls
  • Download and review recorded visitor sessions

Cost:

  • Small – $13.54 per month for 1,000 recorded sessions, 1 website and 1 month storage
  • Medium – $66.33 per month for 10,000 recorded sessions, 3 websites and 2 months storage
  • Large – $134.02 per month for 25,000 recorded sessions, 5 websites and 2 months storage
  • Extra Large – $269.38 per month for 100,000 recorded sessions, 10 websites and 3 months storage

ClickTale

ClickTale provides businesses with insight into visitor behavior. Every mouse move, click, scroll and keystroke is recorded, a playable video of the browsing session and visual heat maps are provided and behavioral reports are provided to optimize website performance and improve usability.

Key Features:

  • Mouse move and click heat maps
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Record sessions for later playback and analysis
  • Conversion funnels and form analytics

Cost:

  • Free plan – unlimited time
    • Record 400 pageviews per month
    • Heatmaps suite on most popular pages
    • Watch playback of visitor sessions
    • Premium plans – Contact for price
      • includes all free plan features plus
      • Record up to millions of pageviews per month
      • Unlimited heatmaps, form analytics, conversion  funnels, consulting services and phone support

Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows users to measure sales and conversions and gives insight into how visitors are using your site, how they got there and how to keep them coming back. Real-time reporting, custom variables, content analysis and more make this free platform stand out as one of the most comprehensive and free analytics tools available.

Key Features:

  • Multi-channel funnels to view full-path to conversion
  • Mobile monitoring features to track mobile sites, apps and more
  • Social analytics
  • Content analytics

Cost:

  • Free if your site generates 10 million or less hits per month
  • Premium – $150,000 flat annual fee – contact sales for more information

UserTesting.com

UserTesting.com provides feedback on your website and mobile apps from their large panel of qualified users. UserTesting.com is fast, affordable and provides invaluable feedback via a live recorded session in which you hear the user’s comments and feedback as they navigate through your website or application.

Key Features:

  • Real usability testing
  • Written summary of user-encountered problems
  • Records the full user experience including the user’s thoughts and feedback

Cost:

  • $39 per test

Tableau

Tableau comes in a Desktop, Server or Public version. Based on innovative technology from Standford University, Tableau provides the ability to drag and drop data for an instant visualization. Mapping tools, data discovery, data visualization are all part of the Tableau package.

Key Features:

  • Mobile business intelligence
  • Analyze surveys
  • Discover and visualize data
  • Easy to use for users comfortable with Excel
  • Mapping tools for greater insights into your data

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available. A full-feature free trial is offered.

uTest

uTest offers companies a range of testing types for the web, desktop and mobile apps. uTest provides companies with five options to choose from: functional testing, security testing, load testing, localization testing and usability testing.

Key Features:

  • Detailed bug reports and real-world feedback from a hand-selected test team
  • Functional, security, load, L10N and usability test cycles

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

Loop 11

Loop11 provides customers with a remote usability testing tool to look at the user-experience of any website and identify navigational and usability issues.

Key Features:

  • Simple process: Create a test, invite participants and analyze data
  • Works in 40-plus languages
  • No downloads required
  • Ability to test on mobile devices

Cost:

  • Micro – $158 per month
  • SME – $410 per month
  • Enterprise – $825 per month
  • Pay per use at $350 per project

 

Collaboration Tools

SmartSheet

Share your work with others or collaborate on a specific project with SmartSheet. Invite both internal and external collaborators to view the whole project or a section of it. Share and collaborate on notes or files, create Gantt charts to visualize project and process flows, create and embed web forms and more.

Key Features:

  • Google Apps integration
  • File sharing
  • Create and embed web forms
  • Calendar, Gantt forms and more
  • Easily generate, share and/or print project reports using custom variables

Cost:

  • Basic – $15.95 per month
  • Advanced – $29.95 per month
  • Team – $49.95 per month
  • Enterprise – call for pricing

Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect allows users to improve productivity with a web conferencing platform for web meetings, eLearning and webinars. With a click of a button, Adobe Connect allows users to connect with anyone, anywhere and on any type of device. Adobe ConnectNow was formerly a component of Adobe Workspaces, as of January 2013 the platform is now Adobe Connect and separate from the Workspaces program.

Key Features:

  • Interactive conferencing
  • Up to 1,500 participants
  • Web seminars, sales presentations and online training
  • Rich multimedia and video capabilities

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

Salesforce.com

A cloud-computing and CRM platform, Salesforce.com allows you to monitor the performance of your sales team, social media and marketing efforts, customer service and even build and run applications.

Key Features:

  • Sales force automation and CRM
  • Customer service, support and help desk
  • Social media monitoring and marketing
  • Cloud application development

Cost:

  • Pricing varies based on specific applications and usage

GoTo Meeting

GoTo Meeting allows its users the ability to easily hold unlimited online meetings with up to 25 attendees with just a click of a button. The company also offers GoTo Webinar and GoTo Training for larger groups.

Key Features:

  • GoTo Training – available for interactive virtual training, includes GoTo Meeting as part of the package
  • GoTo Webinar  – for larger groups, includes GoTo Meeting as part of the package
  • Unlimited trainings, webinars or meetings

Cost:

  • Monthly: $49 per month
  • Annually: $468 per year

Basecamp (formerly Backpack)

Monitor project discussions, files and events from start to finish with Basecamp, formerly known as Backpack. Track recurring events, use Basecamp as a mobile app, organize files by labels, track project notes and messaging and more.

Key Features:

  • Available as a mobile app or cloud-based application
  • Numerous integrations, apps and add-ons
  • Calendar and task monitoring features

Cost:

  • Unlimited: $5 per day, up to 100GB for file storage
  • Up to 80 Projects: $3 per day, includes 30 GB for file storage
  • Up to 15 Projects: $1 per day, includes 4 GB for file storage

Skype

Skype allows the user to call, see, message and share with other users regardless of location. Skype is available by using your computer, cell phone, tablet, TV and even your home phone.

Key Features:

  • Video chat and group video calls
  • File sharing
  • Messaging
  • Skype To Go for international calls at low rates from any phone

Cost:

  • Free – video and voice calls to anyone on Skype, free instant messaging and file sharing
  • Rates vary for calls to cell phones and landlines worldwide, text messages and group video calling

Yammer

Yammer is a private social network for your business, allowing teams to collaborate, share files and exchange ideas privately.

Key Features:

  • Easy file and content collaboration
  • Connect and collaborate with external partners and clients
  • Integration with SAP, SharePoint and other systems
  • Applications for all major mobile platforms

Cost:

  • Basic network: Free
  • Enterprise network: $3 per user per month
  • Sharepoint online + Yammer: Starts at $4 per user per month (Plan 1)
  • Office 365 + Yammer: Starts at $8 per user per month (Plan E1)

Janrain

Janrain allows businesses to offer its web users to register or sign-in with an existing account from one of 25+ social networks and email providers. The Janrain User Management Platform (JUMP) enables enterprises to acquire users from across a variety of digital and marketing channels, manage user identity and profile data and deliver valuable customer insights.

Key Features:

  • Enable visitor registration using an existing social or email identity
  • Simplifies social sharing to boost visitor engagement
  • Integrates with your existing database

Cost:

  • Pricing information is not publicly available.

 

Website Feedback/Testing Tools

UserVoice

UserVoice enables companies to obtain valuable user feedback and insights with an embedded, branded platform allowing users to post, discuss and search for ideas and feedback from any mobile device or browser.

Key Features:

  • Reduce support requests with Instant Answers
  • Get real-time suggestions and feedback from actual users

Cost:

  • Free: Limited to a single agent
  • Standard: $20 per month per agent ($15 if paid annually)
  • Enhanced: $55 per month per agent ($45 if paid annually)
  • Pro: $95 per month per agent ($85 if paid annually)

GetSatisfaction

Drive customer engagement, improve acquisition and service delivery and drive product innovation with GetSatisfaction, a cross-platform solution working across your website, social profiles, mobile apps and more.

Key Features:

  • Cultivate conversations and feedback
  • Designate brand advocates as “Champions”
  • Integrate with Facebook and Twitter to moderate and control conversations
  • “Community Health Index” offers analytics on the performance of your online community

Cost:

  • Limited: Free
  • Small Business: $49 per month per seat
  • Small Business Pro: Pricing information is not publicly available.

IdeaScope

Turn product feedback into actionable, decision-driving data with IdeaScope, which allows customers to submit feedback at any time—giving you real-time insights into the major decision-making factors facing your customers as they navigate through the purchasing cycle.

Key Features:

  • Allow customers to submit feedback at any time
  • Deliver product features customers want to see
  • Integrate with other systems such as Help Desk, CRM, Portfolio Management and more

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

IntuitionHQ

IntuitionHQ is a usability testing tool for web designers. Simply upload designs, create tasks and publish your test to obtain valuable user feedback and deliver a high-quality product to clients.

Key Features:

  • Provide an added layer of service to clients
  • Involve clients in the usability testing process
  • Send the test as a link via email or social media

Cost:

  • Small: $49 per month, 50 participants
  • Most Popular: $99 per month, 250 participants
  • Large: $149 per month, 350 participants

Morae

Morae is a usability testing tool with enhanced features and capabilities, such as eye-tracking, capturing audio, on-screen activity and keyboard and mouse input. The platform consists of Morae Recorder, Morae Observer and Morae Manager for visualizing, analyzing and sharing results.

Key Features:

  • Live chat for real-time communication during testing
  • Eye-tracking capabilities
  • Efficient testing
  • Reporting and analysis

Cost: $1,495

Google Analytics Content Experiments

Formerly Google Website Optimizer, Google Analytics Content Experiments allows users to test different versions of a page to determine the designs which drive conversions. Unlike A/B and Multivariate testing, Google Analytics Content Experiments allows you to test up to five different versions of a full page delivered via a separate url.

Key Features:

  • Compare performance of up to 5 different pages with random visitor sampling
  • Choose test objectives
  • Test headlines and headers, images and icons, text, calls to action or page layout

Cost: Free within the Google Analytics platform

Kampyle

Kampyle is available for websites, apps and mobile, providing a platform for obtaining feedback and analytics on broken page links, missing add-ons, competitor pricing. Customize forms for real-time feedback and integrate with newsletter opt-ins.

Key Features:

  • For websites, apps and mobile
  • Drive engagement and obtain real-time feedback
  • Custom forms
  • Prompt visitors for contact information to drive newsletter opt-ins
  • Integrate with Google Analytics

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg provides eye-tracking technology for obtaining valuable, real-time visitor feedback. Heat maps, scroll maps, overlays and confetti tools are all possibilities for determining how users are interacting with your website.

Key Features:

  • Various heat maps and tools to analyze visitor behavior
  • Track multiple domains with a single account
  • Flash clips and iFrame objects, such as AdSense, are tracked

Cost:

  • $9 per month, 10,000 visitors, 10 active pages
  • $19 per month, 10,001 to 25,000 visitors, 20 active pages
  • $49 per month, 25,001 to 100,000 visitors, 50 active pages
  • $99 per month, 100,001 to 250,000 visitors, 100 active pages

IdeaScale

With IdeaScale, you can provide your customers and stakeholders a platform to share, vote and discuss feedback. Incorporate various widgets, integrate Google Analytics and distribute points and badges to reward customers for active participation.

Key Features:

  • Custom CSS to integrate your brand look and feel
  • Integration into your Facebook page
  • Custom fields

Cost:

  • Lite: $15 per month
  • Monthly: $99 per month
  • Annual: $208 per month, $2,500 annually
  • Enterprise: Call for pricing

Survey Tools

WuFoo

WuFoo allows users to create sophisticated online forms with custom branding, advanced analytics, integrated payments and real-time notifications.

Key Features:

  • Drag-and-drop form builder
  • Theme designer for a custom, branded look
  • Instant notifications
  • Easily embeddable forms

Cost:

  • Gratis: Free, 1 user, 3 reports, 10 fields, 100 entries per month
  • Ad Hoc: $14.95 per month, 1 user, 10 forms, 20 reports, 500 entries per month
  • Bona Fide: $29.95 per month,  users, unlimited forms and reports, 3,000 entries per month
  • Carpe Diem: $69.95 per month, 20 users, unlimited forms and reports, 15,000 entries per month
  • Ad Infinitum: $199.95 per month, 60 users, unlimited forms and reports, 100,000 entries per month

SurveyMonkey

Build your own surveys or choose from templates with SurveyMonkey and get actionable insights with powerful analytics tools.

Key Features:

  • Free surveys, polls, questionnaires, customer feedback and market research forms
  • Usable survey questions
  • Professional templates
  • Custom branding
  • Robust reporting

Cost:

  • Basic: Free, 10 questions, 100 responses per survey
  • Select: $17 per month, $204 annually
  • Gold: $25 per month, $300 annually
  • Platinum: $65 per month, $780 annually

QuestionPro

QuestionPro makes online research easy with professionally designed themes and standard survey questions, a question library, tracking and statistics, real-time reporting and more.

Key Features:

  • Mobile-compatible surveys
  • Real-time reporting
  • SSL secured
  • Distribute via email, blog, website or QR code

Cost:

  • Free: Limited to 100 responses per survey
  • Professional: $12.50 per month
  • Corporate: $84 per month

Formstack

Formstack helps you build, customize and publish forms with ease, including order forms, signup forms, event registrations and more.

Key Features:

  • Data integrations
  • Payment processing
  • Simple form builder
  • Data encryption
  • Email validation

Cost:

  • Starter: $14 per month, 500 entries per form, 5 forms
  • Professional: $29 per month, 2,000 entries per form, 20 forms
  • Business: $59 per month, 10,000 entries per form, 100 forms
  • Max: $159 per month, 100,000 entries per form, 1,000 forms

SurveyGizmo

Develop custom-branded surveys with SurveyGizmo to obtain valuable user feedback, analyze data and generate detailed reports.

Key Features:

  • Simple and advanced question types
  • Integration with third-party tools and applications
  • Data collection and analysis

Cost: $810 per year

Product Management Blogs

The Cranky PM – The fictional alter-ego of a typically well-mannered software product management professional, The Cranky PM covers “the ugly side of product software development.”

Good Product Manager – Jeff Lash provides resources and tips on solid product management practices.

Tyner Blain – Scott Sehlhorst is a strategy and product management consultant who started Tyner Blain in 2005. Sehlhorst shares his insights and strategies on consulting, data management, software development, product management, strategy and process flow, and more.

On Product Management – A team of 10 expert contributors spanning the areas of software development, product management, sales and marketing provide their real-world knowledge and expertise through On Product Management.

ProductMarketing.com by Pragmatic Marketing – With a core focus on market-driven product strategies, Pragmatic Marketing delivers industry news, insights on product marketing strategies and more through Product Marketing.com.

Forrester Blog – Forrester’s blog is “a roll-up of all the posts from analysts who serve technology marketing professionals.” Get insights from a variety of industry leaders in one place.

AllTop Product Management – AllTop aggregates the best content from the leading blogs on product management in one place. Instead of a feed of blogs, browse through titles to read posts from around the web.

Silicon Valley Product Group – Marty Cagan covers vision pivots, discovery pivots, agile team management, product discovery, product management and so much more at Silicon Valley Product Group.

Software Product Manager by Gopal Shenoy – Gopal Shenoy brings his 13-plus years of software product management experience to the blogosphere with product management tips, business and marketing insights, voice of customer, customer experience and more.

PM Tribe – Jim Holland covers product marketing, product management, social media and product leadership.

Competitor Information

Scribd.comSearch for Product Management or similar terms to obtain documents uploaded from competitors, valuable tools and other resources.

SlideShare – See product descriptions, presentations, wireframes and other information uploaded by users.

Abstract Ideas, Process Flows and Mind Mapping

Wikispaces

A Wikispaces Private Label Site is a personal space which can be updated anytime, anywhere and from any device. Add videos and widgets to create visually appealing pages and support discussion and feedback.

Cost: $1,000 per year per 100 users

Changepoint

Changepoint Business Portfolio Management provides Professional Services Automation (PSA) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions covering the full investment cycle, improving processes and enhancing visbility.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

Microsoft SharePoint

Store, sync and share content and project files with Microsoft SharePoint. You can even build apps in the cloud, publish apps to the SharePoint cloud and develop websites, all while monitoring time, tracking budgets and maintaining efficiency.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

Socialtext

Users create, share, manage and collaborate within Socialtext, with capabilities for editing blogs, wikis, activities and more with automated process and task tracking.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

FreeMind

FreeMind is a free and simple-to-use mind-mapping tool. This Java-based, cross-platform solution utilizes intuitive processes, including child and sibling links to turn ideas and projects into meaningful, organized graphical visualizations.

Cost: Free

XMind

XMind is a mind-mapping tool offering mind maps, Gantt views, matrices, fishbone charts and import/export tools for easy sharing and collaboration. Use different types of maps within a single chart, get ready-to-use images and widgets from the Mind Toolbox and more.

Cost:

  • Free
  • Plus: $79 – includes exporting features, Creative Toolbox
  • Pro: $99 – includes brainstorming, presentation mode, Gantt view and Business Toolbox
  • Pro Subscription: $79 per year – includes Pro features

MindJet

MindJet helps users move from the idea to implementation phase with brainstorming, organization, planning and execution tracking tools. Create maps, tasks and timelines, visual frameworks, content and context and more with MindJet’s robust set of easy-to-use tools.

Cost:

  • MindJet for Individuals: $15 per user per month
  • MindJet for Business: $30 per user per month
  • MindJet for Web: $15 per user per month

PersonalBrain

With PersonalBrain, users can “organize and find everything the way you think.” It’s a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux. Visualize your open loops, tasks and ideas in your Brain. For team projects, utilize TeamBrain to synchronize data and ideas, and collaborate within a single Brain.

Cost:

  • Free for individual users
  • TeamBrain is currently in Beta. Contact Sales for more information.

FeaturePlan

FeaturePlan stores all your product information, customer ideas, feedback and support requests, market and technical requirements in a central product management tool. Analytics and reporting capabilities help to keep projects on track and within budget, and the platform enables seamless collaboration across all departments. FeaturePlan is created by OneDesk, also the creator of the user feedback tool IdeaScope.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

VersionOne

VersionOne provides an agile management platform, allowing users to centralize planning and tracking and simplify team collaboration. Improve project visibility and accelerate agile adoption with idea management, product roadmapping, release planning and more than 50 pre-packaged agile metrics for reporting and analytics.

Cost:

  • Team: Free, 10 user pack, 1 project
  • Catalyst: $175 per month, 20 user pack, multiple projects
  • Enterprise: $29 per user per month, multiple teams and projects
  • Ultimate: $39 per user per month, adds custom reporting and analytics and other features

Agile Bench

Manage changing priorities, provide full-project clarity across teams, visualize complete projects via story walls and more with Agile Bench. Agile Bench is a valuable collaboration tool with robust history and tracking features allowing you to monitor project flow and plan out the context of a possible project before investing resources.

Cost:

  • Starter: $10 per month, 2 team members, 1 project
  • Small Team: $50 per month, 8 team members, 3 projects
  • Large Team: $150 per month, 15 team members, 6 projects
  • Multi Team: $350 per month, 30 team members, 10 projects
  • Agencies: $800 per month, 50 team members, 50 projects

Accept360

Accept 360, created by Accept Software, is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a comprehensive product planning platform. Track the process from concept to execution, gather feedback and ideas from customers, partners, clients and employees, rank and priorities ideas, tasks and milestones, map requirements in one place and more.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

OneDesk

OneDesk, formerly known as FeatureSet, helps gather and organize customer feedback, manage ideas, track issues, manage requirements and track projects from within a single interface. Use the product roadmapping tool to collaborate and keep teams on track, bringing your products to market faster with less waste of resources.

Cost:

  • Free Trial: 3 projects, 3 team members, unlimited non-organization members, 3 users
  • Pro: $30 per user per month, unlimited projects, members and users

Mindcad

Mindcad offers intuitive outlining and brainstorming with the ability to drag and drop text and images from Safari, Word, the Desktop and other applications. Import and export to various file formats, link to internal and external files and resources, include multiple worksheets in a single document and more.

Cost: $28.99, available from the Mac App Store

Comapping

Take notes, plan, organize and collaborate with Comapping, keeping all your projects, ideas and plans organized within a single file. Comapping works both online and offline for the ability to sync and collaborate anytime, anywhere.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

OneNote

Microsoft OneNote syncs with SkyDrive and SharePoint, and your data is always up-to-date and immediately accessible across all your devices with both desktop and mobile applications.

Cost: Available with Microsoft Office 365

Evernote

Evernote is a perpetual note-taking system. You can save anything from notes, ideas, photos links and more. Access your notes and information with a keyword search, tag or even by handwritten text included in your images.

Cost:

  • Free
  • Premium plan: $5 per month or $45 per year – allow other users to collaborate and edit your documents, lock your notes with a PIN and more

Newsletters/Contact Management

MailChimp

MailChimp is an easy-to-use email newsletter platform, with custom form-building capabilities, Facebook integration, remote report viewing with an iPad app, and a full-featured API.

Cost:

  • Free for less than 2,000 subscribers
  • $10 to $240 per month above 2,000 subscribers – monthly cost increases with total subscribers

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor allows users to choose from a range of layouts, add your personal logo and other branding, and add your content for a totally customized newsletter automatically optimized for mobile devices.

Cost:

  • Basic plans range from $9 to $299 based on subscribers and  total messages sent
  • Unlimited plans range from $29 to $699 based on subscribers – unlimited total messages

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is more than just an email marketing platform. It allows you to create social campaigns, events, online surveys and more. Templates and one-click editing, integrated Facebook and Twitter links for easy social sharing, and social stat reporting include some of the features offered.

Cost:

  • Free trial
  • Monthly plan pricing is not publicly available.

AWeber

AWeber provides HTML templates, autoresponder capabilities, subscriber management and other features to users who want to begin or grow a client or customer contact list.

Cost:

  • $19 per month for unlimited emails, up to 500 subscribers
  • $10 to $130 based on number of subscribers up to 25,000
  • Custom pricing for businesses with more than 25,000 subscribers

Emarsys

Emarsys offers email, social and mobile marketing solutions. Combine customer insights with marketing automation, data insights, lifecycle analysis and multi-channel marketing from a single platform.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

Gamification Tools

Bunchball

Bunchball is self-described as “Gamification” software, which transforms the way businesses engage with customers and motivate employees. With Bunchball, you can develop custom applications to engage users across websites and social platforms.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

BigDoor

Build game mechanics and loyalty programs directly into your websites and applications with BigDoor. Users earn points, badges, leaderboards and other rewards through increased engagement, which drives exposure and boosts sales.

Cost: Free

IActionable

IActionable enables companies to drive employee engagement and improve motivation. Engage customers and users to drive brand loyalty, create goals, set achievement milestones and develop points programs and levels of accomplishment. IActionable integrates with Salesforce for optimal employee performance.

Cost: Pricing information is not publicly available.

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Additional Sources:

http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1AT65NZ&ct=120607

http://www.rallydev.com/sites/default/files/the-forrester-wave-application-life-cycle-management-2012.pdf

http://www.quora.com/Product-Management/What-is-the-best-web-based-tool-for-managing-agile-development-and-design-products

https://jazz.net/library/article/637/

http://www-142.ibm.com/software/products/us/en/category/SW860

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/product-management-for-the-web/

http://www.toolsforproductmanagement.com/

http://mindtheproduct.com/2011/08/product-management-on-a-dime-a-few-lean-product-management-tools/