As a mobile entrepreneur, one of the most important things is making sure that your product is properly managed. Knowing if the product is staying on track and within the budget can make or break a new company. We tackle these problems every day and recommend you check out these products to easily manage your workflow and to recommend to your other entrepreneurs.
First, differentiate between product and project
Before beginning the development of an idea, it is important to differentiate the product from the project. When an entrepreneur comes to a developer or agency, they have a product idea. This is what will eventually be a tangible item that has the best ability to make revenue and solve a problem for a group of people.
When that product begins the development phase, it turns into a project. A project has a start and an end, a time frame, and a budget. When a project is done, the product remains.
A product could have many different projects throughout its digital life and they all need to be expertly managed.
A lot of times the entrepreneur will act as the product manager. They will decide which features to add, who is the target audience, and what they want the design of the product to be. They can decide to hire someone to serve as the product manager, but because they are investing time and money into the product they will want to make sure the manager has their best interests in mind. A bad product manager can quickly derail development and leave the client with a product that doesn’t match what they want.
For the project side of things, it is important to hire a project manager to oversee the technical aspects of development. With an offshore development team communication and cultural differences can cause issues. It can be very helpful to leave the communication and management up to someone else and the product will benefit from this. This is a practice we recommend as new entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates and managing how a product is developed can be overwhelming.
If the product and the project are split into two worlds, different tools must be presented to manage both. In the next section, we will introduce you to tools that we have used to manage our workflow and that help make the development experience easier on you.
3 Tools to Make Product and Project Management More Efficient and Effective
- Easily managing version releases with Jira: The first tool that we recommend using to manage the project is Jira. Jira is a software that allows team members to plan, track, and release elements of the development. Users can easily manage version releases and track what still needs to be done. Users can also assign certain aspects of the project to team members and keep track of how they are progressing on tasks.
We typically plan our workflow in two-week sprints. This is essentially what we will accomplish in the next two weeks and is an easier way to manage a long-term development project because you are working toward multiple small goals. After each sprint, the product manager can review the progress that has been made.
- Why do we suggest letting a project manager handle Jira? Jira can be complex and overwhelming to a product owner who might not be as technically savvy. It has a big learning curve and having an expert manage it can save the owner valuable time and money. A product owner has solid ideas, but the implementation of those ideas can go much farther with a strong project manager leading the development.
- Receive real-time feedback and manage features with Productboard: When it comes to managing the overall product, we use Productboard. It is a friendly environment where a product owner can manage their product features and subfeatures. With Productboard the product owner can easily see and understand what users need, prioritize what to work on next, and receive feedback in real-time.
Productboard allows users to gather much-needed user feedback early on. Future customers can rank features and designs by must-have, nice to have, and critical. Knowing this from the beginning can save the product owner time and money in the long run because they are only putting effort into what the customers actually want and need.
Not only can the product owner manage their product, but each of the needs and changes maps over to the project side. Jira and Productboard integrate with one another to make the management of the product easier. A feature (a segment of a product) on Productboard matches an epic (large body of work that can be broken down into a number of smaller tasks)on the Jira side and developers are able to see exactly what the product owner and future customers want and need.
- Why do we recommend using Productboard? It is important for the product owner to have a safe place where they can manage things without stepping on the developer. Productboard presents what needs to be done and how to do it in an easy and efficient way, perfect for product owners. While small teams can see the benefit in the tool, larger teams may find it more helpful for managing product requirements and user feedback. A small team and product can do product management in Jira without having to have two separate platforms.
- Early-stage idea tracking excels in Confluence: Early on in the development process we use Confluence to document details. Once an entrepreneur first meets with us to discuss the product idea we immediately start tracking details, features, and ideas. Once the initial product idea is defined we move it into Productboard for larger products or straight to Jira for solo entrepreneurs.
Why do we use these tools?
We have been using Jira for years and Productboard for several months. Our clients needed a solid platform to be able to take their products with them when they no longer need our services. We are committed to our clients being able to take everything they have with them and these tools allow that to be done.
While Jira is a more expensive option, it does have a high value for its cost. Confluence and Productboard are cheaper options that don’t necessarily have all of the features as Jira but could serve your needs.
Find tools that work for you and your products!
How Project & Product Management tools Can Help Make Your Development Process Seamless It is important to research different management tools that are available for different products and projects. While we see the value in the tools we have mentioned, each product is unique and could benefit from different tools. Do you have other tools that your team has found value in using? Reach out and let us know!