New Product Management and Product Planning Tools – Can They Pass the Test?

I complain a lot about product management tools in this blog. I’m happy to say that some people are taking up the gauntlet – and some are even talking to me about what they are doing.

In the last few months I’ve heard about three new tools for product managers and product planners. I have not used any of these products extensively, and some I’ve only seen demos of, but what excites me is that people are still tilting at the windmill that is product management automation.

  • ProdThink (@validately) is focused on managing feedback from customers and prospects on new features and concepts. This is part of the “Build-Learn-Respond” cycle of the Lean Startup. One thing we know from the complexity of product management is that you need to get real-world feedback on your ideas, because your first ideas are usually crap, and ProdThink’s goal is to help you do that better.
  • Aha! (@aha_io) just came out in beta. At first glance the product is extremely ambitious, covering roadmaps, product positioning, and requirements, as well as a strategic analysis capability that reminds me a bit of one of the best parts of my old product, Accept360.
  • The-Skore (@skoresoftware), not yet out in beta, has the tagline “Requirements discovery software for tomorrow’s product teams.” It has a very nice graphical interface (which I’ve only seen a demo of) for capturing requirements and their relationships. 

I have the challenge at the moment of working in a Jira + Confluence environment. I am working on setting up pilots for one or more of these new tools, which with my workflow will be challenging. But I plan to try all of them, and I will give my thoughts back to the community, as well as to the vendors, as I go.

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10 comments

  1. good post. we (ProdThink) are attacking a slightly different part of the process then Aha and The-Skore. we want to stop short of Jira. you capture our use case well though. we are intended to support the Lean approach of fast learning/iteration.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write this up. Aha! might be ambitious, but after building six software companies ourselves, we think it's necessary to cover both the "why" (strategic planning) and "what" (releases, features, and requirements). We were humbled by the fact that over 600 companies signed up for the beta. While beta is a great time for any company with momentum, we "launched" on Monday and now any PM looking to get his mojo back can sign up for a 30 day trial at http://www.aha.io You may also be interested in our fairly popular blog for PMs and Engineers at blog.aha.io

    We look forward to you using Aha! (especially considering your background) and telling us what you think. And kudos to the other folks on your list as well for tackling aspects of the challenges associated with building great software.

    Brian
    Aha! CEO

  3. Steve – thanks for the the comment. Product management has a lot of facets and tacks and the feedback loop is a very important one!

  4. Interesting post – seems there is a renewed wave of interest in Product Management tooling. Indeed, our company has developed a new Product Innovation & Sales Enablement tool — primarily based on our experience in Financial Services and the retail industries. We are close to Private Beta of Uberito (www.uberito.com). Our aims are to to be strong in Product Master Data (with a strong API for connectivity), but cover Roadmaps, Innovation (problem statements, solutions, ideas), product management methodologies and social collaboration. We have an amazing new way to visualise all data, using Graph technologies.
    Would be great to be included in your "to evaluate" list when we emerge into Private Beta.
    Thanks
    David
    upraxis CEO

    • David – I'd love to learn more about Uberito. I'm curious to see what you've done with graphs. Seems like a lot of opportunities there. Contact me anytime for a demo.

  5. Speaking of JIRA, we've just launched an even tighter integration between ProdPad and JIRA – complete with 2-way syncing of the status of the idea/ticket, as well as customizable mapping of your fields in each.

    Essentially, it makes it possible to use ProdPad to gather ideas from your entire team, pick the best ones and flesh them out into product specs, and then put them on your roadmap, all synced with the development workflow over in JIRA (or other tools).

    If you're on JIRA but want a way to improve your product management process, definitely get a free trial of http://www.prodpad.com/

  6. Another product you might consider is ours http://www.sensorsix.com . We're a fairly new company and admire our competitors. I think it is interesting that each has something unique to offer. Our thing is engaging customers and stakeholders in giving input on potential features of a product.

    We don't yet have Jira integration but we are working on it since it is a request from many of our customers, but you can export it in excel and manually upload it though.

    Anyway right now we just want people to try it and let us know how we can improve it. So, please sign up for the 30 day trial and drop us a line on how to improve and good karma will head your way ; )

    Best,

    Anders Lisdorf CEO

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