How to Select the Best Product Management Software for Your Business
Product Management Software refers to computer tools that are used to manage and organize the development, marketing and sale of a product or a set of products all through their life cycle. These computer applications manage and cater for the broad set of activities which are important and required for a product to be conceived, developed, taken to market and supported thereafter.
Product Management Software usually function within an organization and helps with all the activities and events that occur during the lifecycle of a product. These software tools help with the planning and the initial phases of product development. Product Management Software also help with forecasting and market analysis in order to determine the path a product is supposed to take. These automated tools help to gather enough information and find out enough from customers to know what value in a product means to them.
The Product Management tools also help with forecasting the development of the product. Essentially, all the different stages in the lifecycle of a product are handled by Product Management Software.
Product Management Software makes sure to integrate data, business systems, people and processes in the quest to effectively manage the whole lifecycle of a product.
Every department and section in a company has to be properly involved in order for a Product Management Software to function effectively. For example, the product and business objectives set by marketing and sales teams have to be transformed to product features by designers and engineers. The costs associated with these features have to be addressed by the accountants and other relevant departments.
Hence, Product Management Software encompasses all the various departments of a company. These computer tools ensure that products are designed and manufactured within optimal price margins and at a high level of quality. They also ensure that products are developed on schedule and that the whole lifecycle of the product is well catered for. Product Management Software helps teams to plan, design and efficiently bring a product to the market.
What are the Features of Product Management Software
There are many features that makes Product Management Software important to organizations, and some of them are Support for Collaboration, Reporting, Stakeholder approval, Database Integration, Offline capabilities, Idea Management, Feedback Collection, Milestone Tracking, Release Management, Roadmapping of products, Requirements Management, Prioritization, Workflow Management, Dashboards, Resource Management, Analytics, Wireframing and Product Economics.
- Release Management: The release management feature helps with planning, designing, monitoring and taking care of the release phase of a product.
- Roadmapping of products: Roadmapping of products helps to plan and schedule the whole lifecycle of a product from conception to release, and even until support thereafter.
- Requirements Management: Requirements management in Product Management Software helps to determine, design and follow requirements required for a product to come to life.
- Prioritization: This feature in a Product Management Software helps to prioritize the features and characteristics of products that are absolutely necessary so as to know what to work on first.
- Workflow Management: This feature in Product Management Software helps to manage the workflow and activities involved in the product development and management lifecycle.
- Support for Collaboration: This feature helps ensure that the various departments and functional areas in an organization can share and access information relevant to the development of a product.
- Reporting: The reporting feature in a Product Management Software is essential to provide updates and reports about ongoing and completed activities in a product management lifecycle.
- Stakeholder approval: This feature is necessary to help ensure that stakeholders and management level executives can give approvals on changes and updates made to products.
- Database Integration: This integration helps to maintain access to data that might be needed in the management of a product all thorough its lifecycle.
- Offline capabilities: Often times, an idea about a product might come at odd moments when there is no internet access, and offline capabilities ensure that such ideas can be recorded and suggested to the product management team.
- Idea Management: Idea management is an essential feature in Product Management Software that caters for suggested ideas related to the product.
- Feedback Collection: In product management, feedback from customers and testers is essential, and the feedback collection feature helps ensure that feedback can be easily recorded.
- Milestone Tracking: Product management is often a race against time and it is crucial to setup time based tasks that can be monitored; milestone tracking feature does this well.
- Dashboards: Dashboards in Product Management Software help to present all the relevant details about a product to viewers at one glance and in one place.
- Resource Management: Resource management feature is necessary because resources are finite and they have to be utilized well in order to harness their full benefit.
- Analytics: Whenever feedback is collected from customers or testers, or whenever information is shared from other departments, it has to analyzed; and the analytics feature helps with this.
- Wireframing: Wireframing helps in the designing and planning of activities and events that are in the product management lifecycle.
- Product Economics: Money is a critical factor in the management and development of any product, and the product economics feature helps to monitor the costs associated with a product.
What are the Types of Product Management Software
- On Premise Product Management Software: This is a type of Product Management Software that is based on the computer systems of an organization. This software has its roots and database in on servers in the organization. This type of Product Management Software is designed such that it utilizes the computer resources and infrastructure of the organization. All that is needed to operate this type of Product Management Software is a license. There are several advantages of using this type of Product Management Software, such as increased access for customization, non-reliance on software operators, etc.
- Cloud Based Product Management Software: This type of Product Management Software is quite the opposite of the on premise Product Management Software as it is based on the cloud. The software is simply accessed over the internet by the organization’s staff, and there is no use of computer resources or infrastructure of the organization. Cloud based Product Management Software is located on a provider’s shared cloud computing resources which is made available at a cost to the organization. There are also advantages of using this type of Product Management Software, such as reduced maintenance cost, ease of scalability, etc.
What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) of Product Management Software
- Reduced Product Management and Development time: This is perhaps the most important indicator of the effectiveness of a Product Management Software, as a good Product Management tool will help reduce your product management and development time.
- Cost of operating software: Cost is important to any business, and you need to ensure that the cost of operating your Product Management Software is in-line with your organization’s economic goal.
- Security: A lot of information and data is always shared on Product Management Software, so it is important for a good software to keep such safe and out of possible threat.
- Ease of Onboarding: You definitely want a Product Management Software that is easy to use across all the functional areas and departments of your organization, so this is surely one key performance indicator.
What are the Benefits of Product Management Software
- More ideas shared and generated: With the use of a Product Management Software, you can be sure that more product ideas will be managed and shared, leading to better products.
- Improved Collaboration and communication within an organization: Product Management Software allows for improved collaboration and communication between various areas in an organization.
- Reduced Product Development time: The use of a good Product Management Software can greatly reduce the time taken to develop a product.
What are the Latest trends in Product Management Software
- Artificial Intelligence: The rise of artificial intelligence is affecting almost every area of our lives, and Product Management Software is no different, as updates are currently being made in Product Management Software to auto generate and suggest product features based on certain analysis.
- Social Support: Social media has permeated every facet of human life and the latest Product Management Software have social media support that helps product managers to glean potential product features and corrections via complaints on social media by customers.
How to choose the right Product Management Software
Whenever we are looking to purchase anything, there are always specific factors and elements to consider. This is no different in product management software, however many people do not know what these factors are. We have expertly curated some critical factors that must be considered when one is looking to choose and buy Product Management Software. These factors are:
- Cost: This is the number one factor to consider when one is looking to purchase a Product Management Software. You need to check your budget against the Product Management Software in the market and decide if they are right for you or if you need to step up your budget.
- Offline Capabilities: Offline capabilities are becoming increasingly important in Product Management Software as explained earlier in this article, and you need to factor this into your purchase.
- Collaborative features: The importance of collaboration in product management cannot be overstated, so you need a Product Management Software that supports this very well.
- Restrictive Access: Various levels of information and data are always being shared in product management, and restrictive access helps to limit the access of certain individuals to certain levels of information.
- Mobile Support: Mobile is important these days, and you definitely need a Product Management Software that supports this.