Launching a new product into the world is a major endeavor. First you need to confirm that there’s a market for the offering you envision. Then you need to take that vision from the conception stage through product development to completion. Depending on the nature of the product, this process could involve a wide-ranging team with members from multiple function areas. Coordinating the efforts of all these individuals to achieve your time-to-market goals is no mean feat.
If your team has been trying to manage all of the above with spreadsheets, Gantt charts, and email, you’ve probably been feeling the strain. Fortunately, there is a better way: product management software. Creating and launching great products is made — if not simple — at least far more manageable when you know where to start. Here are five indicators that your team would benefit from product management software.
1. The Majority of Your Team Works Remotely
Remote work is the new normal in many modern workplaces. Working remotely gives employees the freedom to contribute from most anywhere they’d like. However, not having all team members in the same place is challenging without proper management strategies. Virtual tools are vital for your team to communicate, innovate, and stay on schedule.
The right product manager tool enables you to clearly define responsibilities, establish deadlines, streamline task handoffs, and monitor project progress. Everyone on the team can easily see who is working on what and what the next steps are. Having this information accessible through one system gets everyone on the same page, even if they’re working in different places. The system does the heavy lifting for you and keeps your team on top of tasks.
2. Meeting Deadlines Is a Constant Struggle
If meeting deadlines is a recurring battle for your team, you need to rethink how you’re handling project milestones. The stages of product development do not consist of just the starting line and end goal. Deadlines for multiple tasks will be sprinkled throughout the development process. If your team doesn’t know what to prioritize, meeting deadlines becomes a bigger challenge.
A product management system allows you to break overarching goals into intermediate milestones, each of which encompasses more granular tasks. Anyone on the team can see at a glance how progress toward those milestones is proceeding. Team members will have easy access to assignments for each stage of development and be able to see what is ready for review. If a certain deliverable is late, you’ll be able to take prompt remedial steps so the larger milestone won’t be imperiled.
3. Communication Is Lacking Across the Board
Strong communication is crucial to effective collaboration and task management. When project communications are scattered among email, instant messaging platforms, and cloud-based documents, important information can easily get lost. When team members are left out of the loop, product development will suffer. Lack of connection could lead to frustration among staff members and hurt productivity. This can spill into interactions with clients and potential customers if you’re not careful.
Product management software gives your team a centralized platform to easily communicate and collaborate on project tasks and strategy. This is especially important for remote-first companies that can’t call everyone into the conference room for a quick meeting. Giving your team a platform to share their ideas and ask questions is essential to a good workflow. Providing this outlet helps strengthen team engagement and effectiveness.
4. Innovation and Creativity Are Lagging
If your team is struggling to figure out the next amazing idea, chances are they aren’t supported by the best systems. Some product management systems allow users to organize into “squads,” complete with squad colors and customized logos. These teams within a team can bounce ideas off one another and get innovative together.
Squads can also be assigned particular workflows, so they’ll know exactly what they’re responsible for. When employees know what to prioritize, they have the room to develop a better product. Unclear priorities, in contrast, could create chaos and subpar productivity. Product management systems cut down on the unnecessary noise, so teams can spend more time being creative and less time dealing with distractions.
5. Team Members Are Working in Different Systems
Remember the spreadsheets and Google docs mentioned above? When team members use different tools to keep track of their tasks and deliverables, the result is project chaos. Product management software gives your team a centralized place to track assignments and cultivate new ideas. Everyone can see what deliverable is next in the queue, who is working on it now, and who will get it next. Task handoffs and project progress are equally easy to track.
Consistency is key when developing a product. Getting everyone on the same platform cuts down on unnecessary overlaps and confusing version changes. Instead of working out inconsistencies, your team can put that energy toward developing the best possible product.
Supporting Your Team With the Right Software
If tracking every milestone of a product’s development life cycle is important to your business, consider investing in a product manager tool. Your team will seamlessly move from one task to the next with access to the right software.
Look out for the signs that your employees could benefit from a product management system. Any of the indicators outlined above could signal a need to make necessary changes. They’re your cue to invest in software that provides your team with the capabilities they need to succeed.