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monday.com

monday.com is an award-winning work and project management platform that helps teams of all sizes plan, prioritize, manage, and execute their work more effectively. The platform offers solutions for a wide range of use-cases such...Read more about monday.com

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51 recommendations

Wrike

FrontRunners 2024

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 about Wrike

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38 recommendations

Smartsheet

FrontRunners 2024

Smartsheet is a work execution platform and collaboration tool with a familiar spreadsheet-like interface that helps teams plan, track, and manage projects in real-time. Smartsheet features include a range of project management to...Read more about Smartsheet

4.5 (3159 reviews)

6 recommendations

Trello

FrontRunners 2024

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 about Trello

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Basecamp

Basecamp is an efficient collaboration tool used by thousands of teams across the globe. Teams use Basecamp to keep track of assignments, work together on documents, plan projects, chat, and more. Basecamp is opinionated. It's b...Read more about Basecamp

Jira

FrontRunners 2024

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 project r...Read more about Jira

ClickUp

FrontRunners 2024

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 about ClickUp

Confluence

FrontRunners 2024

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 about Confluence

Airtable

Airtable is a cloud-based project management solution targeting small to midsize businesses as well as departments within larger companies. This system focuses primarily on data organization and collaboration. The system uses...Read more about Airtable

MeisterTask

MeisterTask is a simple and secure project and task management software for organizations of all sizes. The Kanban-style project boards are customizable and can be set up to support any agile workflow. From classic project and t...Read more about MeisterTask

Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is an online workspace for small, medium, and large businesses. It features over 35 cross-integrated tools, including CRM, tasks, Kanban board, Gantt chart, messenger, video calls, file storage, workflow automation, and m...Read more about Bitrix24

LiquidPlanner

LiquidPlanner is a transformative project management solution for teams that want to plan, predict, and perform beyond expectations. It was designed to align your people, projects, and priorities to ensure the right people are wo...Read more about LiquidPlanner

Targetprocess

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 about Targetprocess

Aha!

FrontRunners 2024

Aha! helps companies build lovable software. We provide the world's #1 product development tools — Aha! Roadmaps, Aha! Ideas, Aha! Notebooks, and Aha! Develop — which are used by more than 700,000 builders. Product teams rely on o...Read more about Aha!

Nifty

FrontRunners 2024

Nifty is a new-wave project management tool that reduces project development cycles and improves team productivity by combining all of the important features of project management into one software. The end result is milestone-dri...Read more about Nifty

ActiveCollab

ActiveCollab is a project management solution for creative professionals. It offers cloud-based subscription plans or a self-hosting license. Projects are split into tasks and subtasks. Tasks can be filtered by the due date, ass...Read more about ActiveCollab

Shortcut

FrontRunners 2024

Shortcut is a cloud-based project management platform that helps small to large enterprises manage tasks and streamline communication between team members. It enables users to create stories that comprise of features, bugs or chor...Read more about Shortcut

ProjectManager.com

ProjectManager is an innovative project management software solution designed to help you navigate your project with ease. Say goodbye to roadblocks with features like: project planning, budgeting, time tracking, task and documen...Read more about ProjectManager.com

Alchemer

Alchemer offers the world’s most flexible feedback and data collection platform that allows organizations to close the loop with their customers and employees quickly and effectively. Our mission is to give every customer and empl...Read more about Alchemer

Birdview PSA

Birdview is a comprehensive, full-cycle platform aiding organizations to plan, manage, and forecast resources, finances, and projects in one place. It offers total project visibility, enabling teams and clients to oversee their pr...Read more about Birdview PSA

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

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.

  • Empower existing product managers to lead your transition.

  • 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.

  • Embrace business agility, agile development methods and the DevOps movement (if you haven't already).