To borrow from an old adage, a good product manager never blames their tools. A great product manager gets the right product management software in the first place.
Product managers have got their work cut out for them. Spread between product development, product planning, user research, road mapping, and product lifecycles, product managers often have a lot on their plate.
Cue the best product management tools and software to save the day and help with every step of your product development process. We’re about to share a few of our favorite PM tools to help you be the best product manager you can be and build better product lifecycles.
Has that kettle boiled? Got a mug of something hot in hand? Great, let’s get into it.
How, when, and why to use product management software #
There’s often debate about when a product team should be looking to implement certain product management tools.
A) Does a SaaS need to be turning over a certain amount to warrant committing to a solution contract?
B) Should they be planning ahead and investing in the future, so they’re ready for growth?
In other words: reactive or proactive product management?
The answer is (B).
If you want your product development process to evolve manageably, it’s a safe bet to start using those management tools sooner rather than later. Do it while you have the time, don’t wait for a quiet moment—with any luck, you won’t have one!
The best product management tools can help you to:
Be effective and efficient
Enable product discovery
Manage feature prioritization
Build products that reach and retain customers
Each piece of product management software comes with its own onboarding flow that will (hopefully) smoothly guide you through setting up exactly how to work with your new product.
What’s important on your end is communicating the new tool with the rest of your product team and beyond, so it's adopted by those who need it most and utilized to your business’s advantage.
Right! Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the (vegan) meat of this product management sandwich.
5 Different Types of Product Management Software #
A good product management platform isn't simply a glorified project management tool. It covers software development planning, resource management, and gathering customer feedback, and that's just a part of it. By all means, this is not supposed to be an exhaustive list, but it forms the core of must-have product manager tools.
Agile Product Management Tools
These are your classic tools to efficiently push your team through the product management lifecycle. With them, you can manage backlogs, prioritize tasks, and track progress using agile frameworks such as Scrum or Kanban. Examples of such tools include popular project management tools like Jira, Trello, and Asana.
Product Roadmapping Tools
If you don't have a map, you don't know where you're going. This is where product roadmap software comes in. They can be used to visualize product strategy, prioritize features and initiatives, and communicate product plans to stakeholders. Examples of such tools include Aha!, ProductPlan, and Roadmunk.
Feedback Management Tools
These tools are designed to help collect feedback and manage the process of digesting it for customer insights. Not only can they gather feedback, but you can also prioritize feature requests, and share insights with the team. Examples of such tools include UserVoice, ProdPad, and Productboard.
Product Analytics Tools
Measuring product performance is crucial to customer satisfaction and product success. Product analytics tools can track user behavior, measure product usage, and identify areas for improvement, giving you a complete view of how you're product is performing. Examples of such tools include Mixpanel, Amplitude, and Google Analytics.
Collaboration is the heart of efficient product management, and communication can often go amiss. That's why there are tools that can be used to facilitate communication, share files, and collaborate in real time. Examples of such tools include Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.
You may be able to find a complete product management solution that covers all of these categories. But the likelihood is that you'll need to create a stack of tools that synergize with each other.
Without further ado, let's get into the actual list!
5 of the best product management software solutions for SaaS businesses #
Some software solutions are best for planning, research, and development, while others are most useful in the post-launch phase. Mix and match to find your perfect fit.
Here, we dissect some of the best tools proven to work well for SaaS companies.
1. Asana: For a 360-view of product management #
Now there are a lot of great web-based project management tools out there: Jira, Monday.com, Trello, and Wrike, to name a few. However, as for our top product management tool, we’re putting Asana on the podium.
Why? Besides its raving G2 reviews, Asana effortlessly allows product managers to plan product roadmaps, simplify sprint planning, and create smoother product launchers from one platform. It helps product lifecycle organization and communication.
Besides this, Asana also enables product teams to track bugs and manage work requests. 65% of premium users say Asana has reduced the number of emails and status meetings with their team in the product development process.
What’s Asana best for?
Perhaps the biggest pro with Asana for product teams is that it doesn’t just cover product planning—it can also be useful for other teams. Sales, product operations, and marketing can integrate Asana into their workflows to help streamline projects and tasks, idea management, and nurture agile workforces.
This means these teams will have no worries when it comes to reading data or using the platform in collaboration with your product team.
When do product teams need Asana?
As soon as your product team is getting regular requests, runs much-needed updates, works on multiple features at the same time, or becomes more than one person, it’s probably a good time to introduce a product management platform like Asana.
Also, if you need to build cross-team communication flows or align product workflows and product planning, Asana should join your SaaS tech stack. It’s also a fantastic combination of product management and product marketing software.
What’s the learning curve?
Despite Asana being a relatively intuitive platform, there’s a lot to learn if you want to maximize your team’s potential with the SaaS tool. The learning curve is high but with a high reward. Make sure you give your team time to fully onboard the platform and educate themselves on its capabilities.
There’s a freemium version of Asana for new starters, with a surprising amount of capabilities. After that, Asana starts at $10.99 per user per month and can go up to $24.99 per user per month. It depends on your business needs.
2. ProdPad: For Streamlined Product Management and Collaboration #
Streamlining product management is key to product success. That's where ProdPad comes in. This suite of product management software provides a range of features to help product teams manage their product development processes efficiently. It allows teams to capture, organize, and prioritize product ideas, create and share product roadmaps that align with business goals and customer feedback, and collect and manage feedback from customers and team members.
The platform also offers collaboration features, analytics and reporting, and integrations with third-party tools such as Jira and Slack. Overall, ProdPad is a comprehensive solution for product managers and their teams to streamline workflows and improve productivity.
What is ProdPad best for?
Where ProdPad excels is when product teams that are looking to streamline their backlog, track and hit business objectives, and solve customer problems.
When do product teams need ProdPad?
Product teams can benefit from ProdPad at any stage of their product development process. Whether you are just starting out or have an established product, ProdPad can help you prioritize your ideas, create better product roadmaps, and manage your product backlog.
What's the learning curve?
ProdPad offers an intuitive platform that is easy to use and navigate. The learning curve is relatively low, and teams can quickly onboard the platform and start using its features to improve their product development processes.
ProdPad's pricing starts at $24 per editor per month with a higher tier at $44 per editor per month. You can get a free trial for at least 7 days, but according to ProdPad you can actually extend your trial, all the way to more than 30 days.
3. Maze: For product-led decision-making #
Maze is a rapid, remote testing SaaS tool enabling product teams to test everything from copy to prototypes within the product lifecycle. This product management tool enables product managers to make data-driven decisions on product releases and in the product development process—with real people.
What’s Maze best for?
Maze is best for agile product-led teams that want to minimize adoption risk and maximize product-market fit.
It’s a fantastic user research tool and resource for teams that need to conduct user research but don’t have the physical capacity to do so. This product marketing software can run tree tests, and 5-second tests, ask open or closed questions, and get the customer feedback you need to launch.
When do product teams need Maze?
Your team doesn’t need to be any size to warrant using Maze. The SaaS tool is great for product designers, product managers, product marketers, and user researchers alike.
As far as user research tools go, Maze is perfect for helping product teams define product positioning for different personas and release customer-centric products that people need, understand, and use.
What’s the learning curve?
The learning curve for Maze is medium. Despite the product being relatively technical in what it needs to do, it has a drag-and-drop format, so you’ll be able to launch product tests with relative ease.
Like Asana, Maze can do a lot. For that reason, the team has built a Maze 101 Guide to ensure you get the most out of the user research tool and can continue building products people love.
The Maze freemium model gives your team unlimited seats and allows you to host up to three active projects. After that, the professional plan starts at $25 per month per user and allows you to host ten active projects.
You can also get in touch with their sales team if you need ten seats or more and unlimited projects in your task management.
4. Navattic: The Interactive Demo Platform to Boost Your Conversion Rates #
You might think, what does a product demo have got to do with product management? You see, product management isn't just about product development. It's about connecting it to the go-to-market (GTM) process. And having a great product demo can give you a significant leg up in demand gen and GTM. That's where Navattic comes in. Navattic is an interactive demo platform designed to help forward-thinking teams increase their conversion rates. With this platform, you can use your greatest asset - your product - to unlock a new growth engine across your entire marketing funnel.
The platform offers a range of features that allow you to create interactive product demos that engage your audience and provide them with a more immersive experience. With Navattic, you can create product demos that showcase your product's best features, benefits, and value proposition.
What is Navattic best for?
Navattic is best for teams that are looking to increase their conversion rates and improve their marketing funnel. It is ideal for companies that want to leverage their product to create a more engaging and immersive experience for their customers.
When do teams need Navattic?
Teams can benefit from Navattic at any stage of their marketing funnel. Whether you're looking to increase your conversion rates, improve your lead generation, or enhance your customer experience, Navattic can help you achieve your goals.
What's the learning curve?
Navattic offers an intuitive platform that's easy to use and navigate. The learning curve is relatively low, and teams can quickly onboard the platform and start creating interactive product demos.
Navattic's pricing starts at $500 per month for the Base plan. If you need even more advanced features like SSO and multi-team functionality, you can grab the Growth plan at $1000 per month. There are also more customized plans available, which you have to inquire about by talking to their sales team.
5. Chameleon: For a smooth product onboarding #
We’re finishing with what we know best, Chameleon. It is a tool that helps you personalize in-product messaging to make onboarding for your product or new features smooth as butter.
With Chameleon, you can:
Create tooltips to unblock users with additional explanation
Build onboarding tours that’ll lengthen your product lifecycle and CLTV
Enable launchers to introduce new features and encourage the adoption
Launch microsurveys to drive product development with user insights
What’s Chameleon best for?
Chameleon’s best for product teams that are looking to increase their customer retention and fight churn rates by focusing on the user experience.
The Chameleon features allow product teams to optimize onboarding experiences and create onboarding "bowling lanes" that get users to their job-to-be-done and “Aha!” moment that much quicker.
When do product teams need Chameleon?
If you can, it’s best to implement Chameleon from the day you have your MVP in the market. From the first day, your product is in contact with users, you’re building a brand reputation. If you can build that positively—and maintain it—you’ll see organic growth of product sign-ups thanks to reviews and referrals.
What’s the learning curve?
Relatively low, as Chameleon is a no-code platform. It means you’re able to implement onboarding tactics with little to no help from your developers.
Chameleon offers a Startup plan for smaller companies starting at $279 per month, and a Growth plan for growing businesses starting at $599 per month.
Not sure where you’ll fit in? The Chameleon pricing page has a calculator to help you predict your spending based on the growth of your monthly users.
How will product management software evolve? #
Let's hear what product leaders at Heap, ActiveCampaign, and Braze have to say...
How to evaluate solutions and find the right fit for your team #
In an ideal world, a product team would be able to bring on every tool mentioned in this article for their product development processes and product data management. However, for as much as it pains us to say, sometimes we cannot have it all.
You need to consider a few things when assessing one of the above SaaS tools or any product management software for that matter.
Do you have the time to adopt the tool?
No matter how intuitive the SaaS is, it will take time to adopt—especially if you want to make the most out of your new tool. Does your team realistically have the time to onboard and learn a new tool?
Will this tool aid your current priorities, or can it wait until after those looming deadlines?
Is this the best fix for your problem?
We’ve shared our favorites, but that’s not to say they’re the best solution for your needs. Consider if this tool is exactly the right fix for your problem. Don’t be afraid to shop around.
The SaaS world is flooded with product management solutions. Make sure you spend time sourcing the perfect one for your needs, not just the best product management tools that the market tells you you need.
There are several agile project management guides you can go through to better understand what you need from a project or product management tool.
Do you have the budget?
A huge thing any new tool adoption strategy needs to consider is your budget. Can you really take this tool on for a long period of time? Once you start depending on a SaaS tool, your business operations change, so can your business afford it?
Also, consider this alongside any freemium plan. It can be very easy to adopt a new tool on a freemium plan, and find you can’t live without it, but do not have the budget to jump to the paid plan (just yet). Don’t start a freemium model if you can’t pay for the plan you’ll need in the future.
Do you have team buy-in?
Last but certainly not least, do you have team buy-in? This needs to be senior leadership if they’re the ones approving your spending. However, it also needs to be your fellow product teammates. Just because you’re whole-heartedly set on this fantastic new tool, if your team isn't on board, then you’ll have a hard time getting them to use it.
Convince internal stakeholders and users that this solution is best for your business and showcase what it can do before buying in.
Go get that product management software that suits you best #
We hope you’ve found this article helpful on your journey to discovering product management software that’s a fit for your business needs.
Remember, despite the benefits you may see to onboarding a new piece of product management software if your team is not on the same page as you are then your efforts are in vain.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to remove the ego from your decision and regularly reevaluate if the tool is right for you. Set KPIs for the tools and keep tracking regularly. If you don’t see an ROI-centered goal hit within a designated time, consider another option—there’s no shame in it!
Now go find those dream PM SaaS tools, and try some of the ones we’ve mentioned above. Happy hunting!
Want to find out more about the optimal product management stack? Watch our webinar👇