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The tools you use could increase your team’s productivity, or drown them in red-tape.

If you ever watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine on TV (or Netflix), what does the scraggly group of cops hate the most: paperwork!  Building a successful Product Management team involves achieving a balance between too many (or too few) tools.  Product Managers are typically bright and ambitious people, use the tools to maximise their productivity – not kill their enthusiasm.

With that warning, let’s look at the few tools you should try out to improve the PM team’s productivity:

1. Slack for Communication:

This one is a no-brainer, mainly so because there aren’t too many communication alternatives that do it as well as Slack does.  Slack is simply a incredibly advanced version of Google chat: it even allows you to build “channels” for specific topics or projects–you can make the channels private or public as you see fit.  Sharing documents and images are a cinch on Slack.  Slack also provides a variety of integrations, including those with Google Drive, Trello, Asana etc.

A fair warning though: Slack’s mobile apps are somewhat sluggish on mobile devices, but it is free to get started–so give it a shot! Check out who else uses Slack here.

2. Gliffy for Process Mapping:

A Product Manager’s day involves a lot of mapping of existing processes and future workflows.  Gliffy allows you to create workflows online very easily and collaborate in real time with the rest of the team.  If flowcharting is essential to your projects, then get your team on Gliffy right away.  Find out who else uses Gliffy here.

3. Invision or Marvel for UX Design:

A large part of the Product Manager’s success depends on how intuitive the user experience is.  A PM must always draw out interface in micro detail before handing over to the developer team.  If your PMs are supported by a designer, then Invision might be the better choice of the two.  Invision integrates with Photoshop and Sketch to help create high-quality mockups that the dev teams can take to completion.  If your PMs are reasonably comfortable with design, but don’t have professional design support, then Marvel might make more sense: Marvel allows users to create mockups from right within the browser and has a ton of templates for inspiration. Check out the wide range of companies using Invision and Marvel.

4.  Zeplin for Hand-offs to the Dev Team

Zeplin is a collaboration tool for designers and developers.  When designers use Zeplin to hand over designs to developers, devs are able to inspects specs easily and create prototypes faster. Oh, and there’s a Zeplin integration with Slack that allows Product Managers to track how work is progressing in real time! Check out who else uses Zeplin here.

5. VWO for A/B Testing

VWO (or Visual Web Optimiser) by Wingify is the clear leader for A/B and split testing if you are looking for the best features and don’t have a lot of $$ to throw at it.  After your product is launched, VWO can help your PMs streamline the UX to ensure maximum customer conversions.  VWO will also help track an incredible amount of data to help your PMs take informed decisions on the future of the product.  Check out who else uses VWO here.

6. Time Doctor for Time Tracking

If you run an agency or a distributed team, you need something to track your time effectively.  Time Doctor is a time tracking tool that boosts the productivity of fully or partially remote teams, by over 22%. It combines a wide range of features—including nudges for distraction management, dashboards for project-monitoring, and a payroll module for automatic generation of client billing—which makes it easier for you to manage distributed teams.

What tools does your team use?  What tools have you tried and discarded?  Let us know in the comments below!


Product and Marketing guy. Ex-founder of $10m re-commerce company, with extensive experience in B2B and B2C product design, revenue management, and sleepless nights.

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