4 Great Features That No Product Management Software Has – TL;DR Version

by nils  - June 26, 2013

Earlier today I posted a pretty long article about how product management is a lot like writing a book, and that we should look to what tools writers use to help us figure out what capabilities tools should have to make a different for product managers. For those with too much on their plate, here’s a TL;DR version of the earlier post.

Writers use tools that help them capture ideas and rearrange them, elaborate them, and refine them until a story emerges. And they form groups, go to retreats, cultivate readers, in order to have a collaborative environment. Their “process” (there is no real process for complex activities like writing) involves writing crappy first drafts and then revising, reworking, reshuffling, reconceiving, and other re’s. Writing a novel is by turns about idea gathering, prototyping (crappy first drafts), collaboration (writing group), and iteration (multiple drafts) process. And the outcome is emergent, not predictable or plannable.

4 Features That Product Management Software Needs

Given all that, here are four capabilities or activities that really helpful product management tools would support – in addition to capturing our user stories:

  • Help us iterate, elaborate, and rearrange on our ideas and features in a more managed way
  • Help us collaborate
  • Help us get past the “blank page”
  • Help us remember to use our creativity unblockers

I have a lot more thinking on this topic, which I’ll get to in future posts. In the meantime, if you think I’m on the right track, or on the wrong track, or just smoking dope, I’d love to hear your thoughts about product management tools and complexity.


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Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

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