Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice helps small businesses choose the right product management software so they can build roadmaps and align their portfolio and business strategy.

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Easy Projects

Easy Projects is a cloud-based project management platform suitable for midsize organizations and enterprises. Easy Projects provides every contributing team member, project manager, executive, stakeholder or customer with ac... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

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monday.comFrontRunners 2020

monday.com, an award-winning collaboration and project management platform, helps teams plan together efficiently and execute complex projects to deliver results on time. monday.com team management and task management tool allows ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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WrikeFrontRunners 2020

Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform for teams of 20+ that is suitable for both large enterprises and SMBs. It supports remote work for various teams. This solution comes with Gantt charts, calendars, workload view f... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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TrelloFrontRunners 2020

Trello is a visual collaboration tool for planning tasks and projects. While commonly used by agile software development teams, the solution is also used in other departments such as marketing, sales, support and HR. The web-based... Read more

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JiraFrontRunners 2020

Jira Software is a business process management tool used by agile teams to plan, track and release software. Jira Software supports Scrum, Kanban, a hybrid model or another unique workflow. Jira enables users to create projec... Read more

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AsanaFrontRunners 2020

Asana is a cloud-based project and task management solution that enables teams to collaborate, communicate, and manage several tasks and projects. It can help teams meet project deadlines while tracking the completion of all tasks... Read more

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ClickUp

ClickUp is a cloud-based collaboration and project management tool suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. Features include communication and collaboration tools, task assignments and statuses, alerts and a task toolb... Read more

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Confluence

Confluence is a project management solution that enables organizations to create, collaborate, organize and review project documents. The system offers both cloud-based and on-premise deployment. Confluence’s editor feature a... Read more

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MeisterTask

MeisterTask is a cloud-based project and task management solution that caters to businesses of all sizes. Key features include file management, time tracking and reporting. MeisterTask offers a dashboard that helps users view... Read more

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TargetprocessFrontRunners 2020

Targetprocess is a cloud-based enterprise visual platform which connects Portfolio, Products and Teams. The tool perfectly reflects the agile methodology and can help any company to adopt and scale agile across the enterprise... Read more

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Aha!FrontRunners 2020

Aha! is a cloud-based project management solution for small, midsize and large enterprises. It caters to industries including education, energy, finance, government, legal, IT services, marketing, medical, non-profit and others. P... Read more

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ProjectManager.com

Projectmanager.com is a project management software solution that offers applications including budgeting, time tracking, task management, document management and reporting. Projectmanager.com also offers Gantt chart function... Read more

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MiroFrontRunners 2020

Miro is a cloud-based collaboration tool for small to midsize businesses. The solution features a digital whiteboard that can be used for research, ideation, building customer journeys and user story maps, wireframing and a range ... Read more

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ProWorkflow

Founded in 2002 and acquired by ProActive Software Ltd in 2003, ProWorkflow is a cloud-based project management and time tracking software that caters to companies of all sizes. ProWorkflow includes all the features of a trad... Read more

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PendoFrontRunners 2020

Pendo is a product management solution that helps businesses in educational technology, healthcare and financial services streamline operations related to customer retention, user onboarding, product planning and more. It enables ... Read more

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Priority Matrix

Priority Matrix is a cloud-based project management platform that helps project managers prioritize projects and tasks and enables them to achieve visibility and accountability across different projects. The solution enables ... Read more

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Quip

Quip is a cloud-based project management and task collaboration solution that help users work together and communicate without emails. Users can create and edit spreadsheets, documents and checklists in the system, and team member... Read more

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CaseCamp

CaseCamp by DevelopScripts is a cloud-based project management solution designed for businesses of all sizes. The product caters to both in-house as well as outsourced IT development teams. It offers resource management, budgeting... Read more

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ProductboardFrontRunners 2020

Productboard is a cloud-based product management and roadmap solution that helps users understand customer needs, market prioritization, progress and improvements. Designed for startups to large enterprises, it enables agile produ... Read more

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airfocusFrontRunners 2020

Airfocus is a prioritization and roadmapping software solution that aims to help decision-makers determine their priorities and build more effective roadmaps. Airfocus provides a SaaS platform for teams and managers to make strate... Read more

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Buyers guide

Digitalization is causing a major disruption in the project management industry, prompting organizations to shift from a project model to a product model in order to more effectively manage technology investments.

Gartner predicts businesses that embrace this change now will outperform their competition in both customer satisfaction and business results. (Source: "Mastering the Role of Products in the Digital Era." Full report available to Gartner clients.)

We've created this guide to help you better understand all that product management encompasses and how it relates to the current project management marketplace.

Whether you're just starting to shift from a project to a product model, or you're a seasoned product manager looking to upgrade your current system, this guide can help you make a more informed purchase decision.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Product Management Software?
Product Management vs. Project Management
Common Capabilities of Product Management Software
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Product Management Software?

Product management encompasses the planning, production, marketing and managing of products over their life cycle, i.e., introduction, growth, maturity and decline. It brings together business strategy, customer needs/wants and technology investments.

Products can be tangible, i.e., physical goods, or they can be more intangible, such as software applications or a service you offer.

Gartner's Definition of a Product in the Digital Era

Gartner's Definition of a Product in the Digital Era

(Source: "Mastering the Role of Products in the Digital Era." Full report available to Gartner clients.)

Within the realm of IT and project management, product portfolio management refers to an organizational approach to managing technology investments (i.e., software and applications), both internally developed or purchased.

It involves grouping applications into product suites that align with, and deliver the capabilities required by, each business area. The goal is to deliver continuous value from software and applications over their life cycle, rather than a single delivery of value all at once at the close of the project.

Product management software provides support for these ventures, allowing businesses to more effectively:

Product Management vs. Project Management

These disciplines are closely related, but there are some key differences:

Product management involves developing and communicating a product strategy (that aligns with business goals). Product managers put together a product vision, outline high-level requirements, prioritize initiatives in the portfolio and drive the development of products in the product line.

Strategic planning in product management software platform Aha!

Strategic planning in Aha!

Project management involves executing the strategy through individual initiatives. Each project initiative is designed to deliver specific requirements. Project managers govern those initiatives, coordinate resources, oversee schedules and manage all the details of the project from kickoff to closeout.

Project dashboard in LiquidPlanner

Project dashboard in LiquidPlanner

Common Features of Product Management Software

Product management software can range quite significantly in size and function, with some specializing in a single phase of the product life cycle and others offering an integrated suite of tools to govern multiple phases.

Expect to see some or all of the following capabilities as you evaluate the various product management systems on the market:

Collaboration Increase transparency into your product strategy and vision. Enable users to communicate and collaborate in a centralized workspace, share ideas and work together to accomplish goals.
Idea management Create a forum where users can submit and discuss product ideas and build out a business case. Figure out what to work on next by grooming your product backlog based on impact versus effort.
Content management Upload and store files such as product requirements, market research and competitor analyses. Set permissions and share files with approved users. This may be called a "research repository."
Product portfolio management Build a product portfolio based on business strategy and current, near term and future goals. Design product lines and manage opportunities across the business. Communicate your product vision, value proposition, go-to-market plans and more.
Product research Conduct research on users, build personas, test various designs for the best user experience.
Product roadmapping Prioritize initiatives based on customer analysis and feedback. Break product requirements into features and put them on the roadmap according to priority. Roadmap options will vary across tools, i.e., team roadmaps, product roadmaps, portfolio roadmaps, release roadmaps. Discuss needs with vendors to ensure the product capabilities match your business requirements.
Application management Support software and application products over their life cycles: Plan/gather requirements, put into design specification plan, develop/build it, test it, deploy application and maintain/support it.
Reporting and analytics Organize data, analyze it, spot trends and identify patterns. Collate data from various sources on dashboards and build out custom reports or use an out-of-the box template.
Feedback management Gather customer feedback and incorporate it into product decisions. Link feedback to product ideas and requirements on your roadmap.

Market Trends To Understand

The shift from project to product portfolio management is happening faster than you might think. We surveyed managers and application leaders to find out how their organizations currently manage technology investments.

While 36 percent still manage all investments as IT projects, it's telling that 64 percent have a product component in their portfolio in some capacity.

This reflects a major change in how organizations are seeking to deliver value through capabilities, from strictly project-based to product-oriented portfolios.

Organizational Approach to Managing Technology Investments

 

Organizational Approach to Managing Technology Investments [chart]

Gartner estimates that by 2020, three-quarters of digital business leaders will have pivoted from project to product portfolio management. (Full report available to Gartner clients.)

If you're part of the 36 percent who have yet to make the transition, here's how to get started:

  • Direct your project management office (PMO) to include both a product and a project component in your portfolio moving forward.
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  • Empower existing product managers to lead your transition.
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  • Set up cross-functional teams (e.g., executives, product managers and their counterparts in IT and operations) to align your product portfolio and resources with your business strategy.
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  • Embrace business agility, agile development methods and the DevOps movement (if you haven't already).

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Product Management Software, October 2020

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Product Management Software products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

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Software Advice
“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: The reviews analysis period spans two years and ends on the 15th of the month prior to publication.