Technology

What tools do people use for product planning?

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Igor Dąbrowski

In the past, spreadsheets and presentation decks were used by all managers as free planning tools for launching products. However, when it comes to product planning, a PM’s position is much more challenging. A variety of product planning tools have been developed to make product planning easier. These usually include road-mapping software, product analysis software, and development tracking tools. In order to make sure you’re not missing out on the best one for you, we have prepared a list of product planning tools to help you excel as a product manager. From now on, this is your favorite toolkit! 

JIRA

Our main tool at BinarApps and probably one of the most strategic roadmap tools for product planning. Popular all over the world, it’s used to manage projects, products, and teams. It’s best for complex projects including technical solutions so it’s perfect for developers, managers, and all developer-centric teams, enabling them to manage projects and products, communicate with the team, and set and move tasks. JIRA helps identify challenges and visualize problems in detail. It’s perfect for sketching out the big picture and communicating plans.

Confluence

Often chosen by product managers who find JIRA too technical and complex. Confluence helps product teams collaborate effectively and share information with each other. All team members with access to the dashboard can develop, edit, comment on, and publish content. Confluence is a very powerful editor and product roadmap tool that provides you with ready-made solutions for your product-planning documentation.

At BinarApps, we use Confluence not only for product planning, but also as a way to build community. Through Confluence, we share some vital information for everyday work that helps us run the company without any misunderstandings. It’s also a place for more laid-back communication like the biweekly newsletter. It can be seen as a more professional extension of Slack. 

Roadmunk

A great product roadmap tool. It enables product managers to build ‘boardroom-worthy’ roadmaps. It makes visualizing product roadmaps easier. The tool options include a timeline and swimlane views. Roadmunk supports CSV files so updating a product roadmap is just a drag-and-drop task. Roadmunk is one of the most secure product-planning tools – it has advanced security features that comply with leading standards. The software is very intuitive, especially for collaborative use. It’s probably one of the most scalable tools in the industry. No matter the size, businesses can fully utilize it in a way that best fits their branding. Roadmunk is widely used by high-performing companies like Citibank, Slack, and Amazon. Just remember that a roadmap isn’t the same as the release plan.

Zeplin

Another BinarApps favorite, Zeplin makes collaborating with teams easy. It brings together designers and developers so they can work almost simultaneously on a project. The simple way of sharing layouts, designs, and components saves a lot of time. Everyone gets notified about changes and can leave a comment. Integrated tools for developers make the workflow extremely smooth. 

Product Plan

Quite similar to Roadmunk when it comes to product roadmap tools. It has been designed to plan, build, and communicate the product strategy. It let’s you build roadmaps easily and quickly, create estimates, and communicate plans for future work. Also, Product Plan enables us to build up a consistent and standardized work process and create visual product roadmap examples in several versions. If you need charts for product planning, Product Plan will work for you. 

Invision

A leader among wire-framing software tools. The platform is a designer-friendly solution that powers iterative interface wireframes. It’s great for preparing visual mock-ups of what exactly you want to create. Among the big fish using the tool, you will find Uber, Netflix, and Salesforce. Invision is extremely simple and intuitive. Its inspect mode is useful for developers.

Aha!

A fantastic product management roadmap tool for product managers who want to create a successful product roadmap. It covers all areas of product development. Aha! is fully compatible with JIRA. It has been created to help you set strategy, capture ideas, and prioritize features. If you want to define your vision to create a view of the future, Aha! is your tool to try out! It’s an end-to-end project planning and management solution. The tool combines core product management tools with road-mapping functionality. It allows handling the entire project lifecycle – from the first idea and conceptualization up to implementation.

Craft

This platform enables you to create a good roadmap, including all product features, epics, milestones, and user stories. Craft is also a handy tool for prioritizing tasks and turning product management into a collaborative effort. At Craft, you can set goals, define product features, create a roadmap, and plan all activities. Planning, decision making, road mapping, and more can be integrated with most commonly used platforms. 

Casual

A totally different roadmap-building platform. No timelines, no Kanban boards, no task lists. This platform is extremely simple – everything is just a flow chart-like UI. It’s a great tool for those who need to organize and prioritize tasks and ideas. Casual has been created for those who hate long task lists and Kanban boards. It’s easy and intuitive, with a simple interface, easy to integrate with multiple users. 

Spreadsheets

Yep, they are still useful because good spreadsheet software lets a roadmap creator track lists. If you need to compile the product’s features, stories, themes, and deadlines, spreadsheets will be perfect. Also, they can be updated easily, which makes them quite convenient to use. Their huge disadvantage though is that they are static. They are usually stored on someone’s laptop which means the files are often sent back and forth. However, you can use online spreadsheets, like those available on Google Drive. This is a popular tool at BinarApps because it doesn’t require any additional software and enables easy collaboration.

Which one is best for you?

You don’t have to use every tool mentioned above to have a successful product launch. Test every option and see if it’s something you really need. Too much software causes data management headaches and no one needs that. If you’d like to know more about how can we help you with product planning, reach out and ask about our workshops for innovation development.

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