Your Product Manager Toolkit


Your Product Manager Toolkit

Enabling the Team

There are so many products out there that claims to help Product Managers in our work. Which one do I really need and how do I choose them? Co-host of the Product for Product Podcast, I will share the must-have and nice-to-have tools that you want to look for, and a method to choose them.

hi everyone how is everyone doing

perfect nice day today although we're in

the basement but still it's all product

people ux people so what not to love


okay so starting with that uh my name is

mosheim kanovsky oh sorry I didn't

introduce myself and I'm going to talk

about your product manager toolkit

um I've been developing and Building

Products first in engineering and in

product management for the last 30 years

a bit more than 30 years right now I'm

working with the Ben public it's um

education and consultancy group in

Montreal in Canada

that we're basically teaching other

companies how to be to do product so

product culture so it's all about the

product Center just about the product

and I also have a podcast called product

for product that in the last more than

two years uh thank you for kovid

um we did uh me and a co-host Matt Green

from Atlanta we basically have this

podcast that we're talking about

products for product people so we

learned a lot about the products that

are available out there and also what

the difference between them and how

different products fits different

organizations we talked about with a lot

of people and uh this presentation came

up from that

so do you ever feel like this

uh that there are so many products out

there how do I choose my product right

uh by uh show of hands maybe how many of

you have used some of these products

so all of you

um by show of hands how many of you have

to choose a product to use

so a little less but still quite a bit

of people and then my last show of hands

uh how many of you said it was easy

no one right yeah we know that we when

when we are a product managers or ux

this is geared to product managers but

uh my talk specifically but this is for

anyone that has to choose products and I

know there is a lot of few extras over

here and you also have to use products

and you see some of the products that

you're using uh but I've been in

situations that I didn't have a uxr or

uir so I had to choose my own products

and do my own ux Etc so product managers

really touch everything

um so how do I

choose which product to use right so

what I put for you and don't worry at

the end the last slide and I hope it

will stay for a few seconds so you can

grab it there is a ux QR code that you

can scan and you will be able to access

this uh mirror board and this is like um

I know people yesterday mentioned uh

processes we don't like processes but

they are important we need to use them

so I put the process here

uh of how I um uh choose a product quite

um detailed as you can see but don't

worry we'll go through all the steps

over here

so it's quite similar to building a

product first you have to identify which

problems you want to solve or which one

you have to solve

uh then you want to do some type of


here we're talking about third-party

products so it's not the products that

we're building in-house these are

products that we will buy externally for

our stack as product people

Etc so we usually will say okay there

are this product out there in the market

let's shortlist those products and see

what is going to work for us and whatnot

We compare them we test them and then we

Implement what we chose okay


how many of you start really in the

identification of the problem

versus in the compare

so maybe by show of hands who started

with the identification of the problem

good a few of you and Who start with the


I think more but you just don't want to

admit it because that's what we usually

tend to do we say no we have this

problem let's just see what's out there

we start comparing them and whatever

so let's go through this process so

let's start with identifying the problem

this is us where little product managers

in the center of our world I'm using

here The Lean Startup or lean product

manager whatever you call the lean

process for learn building and measure

and when we go through this process

there is a lot of things we have to do

as product managers and many of you uxrs

you probably have to do also a lot of

these things or analysts when we learn

we have to learn our domain we have to

learn who is the competition out there

with to do Discovery we've talked a lot

about this yesterday when we build there

is a lot of things we have to do with

Engineers with other Engineers with the

stakeholders Etc there is a lot of

activities we have to do and when we

measure we have to look into all the

data and what our kpis and is there an

Roi to what we're doing Etc so a lot of

stuff we have to do

and then for each one of those things

there is a lot of activities that we

have to do there

so um I try to list everything but I'm

sure I missed something

and each one of those things it's really

one of the problems we have to solve

so if we want if we need to do

experiments how do we do experiments do

we have any type of prototyping system

do we create wireframes how do we uh

create a b testing do we approach our

users for testing Etc

when we um work on our backlog or when

we work with an engineer uh okay so we

need to now to write our stories and we

have to get feedback and we have to

write and communicate it with our uh

Team etc etc so there is a lot of those

uh small things in this process that we

have to


solved so this is really identifying the

problem so here you say okay these are

all the things I have to do wow that's a

lot but we know being a product manager

is not easy right

so next

to prioritize how how we are which one

of those we're going to what is most

important for us now I'm not going to go

into your prioritization method because

uh there is millions of them maybe

uh there was a session yesterday about

you know prioritization

um at the main public we are using a

method we call the blueprint the service

blueprint where we have this process of

the user Journey on the top which is the

full picture of what needs to happen and

then all the components on the bottom uh

the technical ecosystem so we were using

that one and here I'm seeing like oh I

prioritize this parking lot product

analytics strategy etc etc but again

to talk about this I will need not uh 25

minutes I will need maybe a day so if

you want we can talk about it later

but in general you prioritize for

yourself what are the things that you

have to work on now throughout all of

this thing don't forget to work with

your stakeholders because if you

prioritize a neuron and you do the stuff

in your own you know what will happen at

the end right so it's not going to be

any buy-in people will not want to use

it so always always do it with your

stakeholders now what impacts our

decision making here because there is a

lot of things and every one of you is in

a different organization different size

of organization and for the organization

there are things that will impact what

is it that you can actually need what

are the needs for the organization so

for example the size of the organization

so which stage are you are you at a

startup or a growth or an Enterprise and

different type of Enterprises will have

very different needs for the product

they're choosing so this will impact

your decision who are your users what is

the complexity of your users so how many

type of users you have Etc

um other things like the maturity of

your organization who is going to own

these products that you're bringing in

do you have product Ops and usually

productops will help you with that


all the knowledge I have is because I

never had product up so I had to do it


so is it going to be you is it going to

be a team of people that are going to do

it so who's going to own it and what

type of skills or they have to actually

do that there is a lot of skills that

you need in that uh you know looking for

the products trying them out testing

them out project management

etc etc etc

um and then what are your current tools

so how a new tool that you bring in will

work in the ecosystem that you already


is it going to work or what are you

going to look for

uh the next thing is the culture of your

organization culture to me is uh I

should have put it as number one to me

is the most important thing culture but

um what do you value how flexible are

you and and what type of communication

you have all of those things will impact

again uh the type of product that you're

choosing and last but not least is your

budget so what is your current budget

but also think about the growth because

many of the tactics we are trying to do

with our product lock in

uh you know how hard is it going to be

for our clients to get off our product

will also happen with the products that

you use

if they lock you in can you still pay

for it in the future when you grow

so think about things like that I know

it's hard

no one said it's easy

uh okay so now we prioritized based on

every all of those components that we

have now we want to shortlist it and

remember the all of those tasks that we

had before so I I put here some of the

products that will cover some of those


but uh this is not all of them and just

a small disclaimer most of these are

from those that we talked about in the

podcast but not all of them



and by the way I'm looking for guests so

reach out to me uh I put together on on

um airtable I put together a list of

products and also categorize them

um there I have actually more than 130

right now so you will be able to show at

least the specific things that you need

and you will see that some products are

covering one type of functionality other

products are covering other type of

functionalities or or multiple

functionalities so it's all in there

with the links to the to the company

um you will see that link also in the

mirror board

okay so we shortlisted our


products now we need to compare them and

I put together for you nine factors to

compare but maybe you can tell me what

will be the first factor or the most

important factor for you

price what else


how well it solves a problem okay so

price is always like oh price that's the

first thing I have to look at you will

see it is in there but it's not

high on my list anyway yes

usability and flexibility is very good

one so let's see what they are okay so

the first one I put here

um and and again all of these are going

to be in your mirror board so you can

always and there is a kind of like uh

questions in there to help you fill it

up and you can it's basically like an

Excel spreadsheet but in Miro and so you

can copy it over to your mural and start

filling it up and compare the different

products so let's start with a product


uh what is part of the philosophy so to

me there it's three things

there are different type of products and

the way that they solve uh problems are

different and also that the way that the

company these companies grow these

products is different

so the first thing I'm looking at is

deep versus white what does that mean

deep means they solve one problem but

they go very deep but if you need to

solve any adjacent problem you need

other products and then you have to

start integrating them

wide means they solve several problems

so it's not only solving that one

problem you need right now but it will

solve also others

but usually they may not go as deep as

one of the deep ones some of them do I'm

not saying they don't but many times

they will not the nice thing about it is

that it's all integrated working very

well with each other you don't have to

you know start implementing other

products but it's usually more expensive


the other the other philosophy is entry

level versus Advanced many of us when we

start we opt to go with the entry level

products I don't want to mention any

names because I'm not advocate in any

product but I'm sure you might think

about some products that everyone are

using right


from Google


um no not passion Google at all they

have great products I'm using Google

here so

uh but but to in many cases this could

be entry level

uh where they don't go uh very deep or

they don't go very


deep in in functionality or they don't

make it as simple to use as some other

products because you know the simplest

it is to use probably means there is a

lot of work in the back end to make it

simple so the company invested a lot to

make it simple therefore it to me it's

more advanced because it saves me a lot

of time when I use it okay many products

their free tier could be that entry

level and then you graduate you mature

into the advanced one

and then open-ended versus deterministic

so some products are open-ended meaning

meaning that you can Define whatever you

want in them they're very flexible you

can create your workflows you're going

to create your rules but every company

will Implement in the different way

so if you worked with jira in one

company and then you move to another

company it's completely different

where some products are very

deterministic they will tell you this is

how you have to do things

now why do I call these philosophies

because it's really up to you as well

what is your philosophy do you like uh

going deep but uh picking the best

product in each one of those problems

and then integrating them or do you like

oh just give me everything at once and I

will just you know solve all of my

problems right but I'm willing to

basically pay for not being very deep on

that uh on deterministic for example

um if you don't have the capacity

insight to say this is how we should

work because we don't really know all of

us are young and early in our uh you

know career uh we want this uh best

practices then maybe those deterministic

product will give you those best

practices so it will be much faster for

you to start but then if you grow and

you have to be more flexible it will be

a bit harder


um answer these questions to see what is

your organization is all about

uh next is no versus ongoing engineering

required so some products and and mostly

these are products that are integrated

with your products like you have to get

data in or things like that uh you will

have products in in the same category

that you integrated once very simple

integration and then everything else is

done by someone that is not an engineer

where other products you will need an

engineer on an ongoing basis creating

tickets for them they have to do

something so there are pros and cons for

that it's not obvious that one is better

than the other you have to look at what

is better for you

some of it is what is the efforts for

you for your team to implement it and

another thing is what type of controls

that you give on that because sometimes

when you don't have this engineer in

place you have less control actually

so you have to to look at both things

uh third criteria integration with other


um this is quite obvious you know how

does it work with the ecosystem what

ecosystem do they already have

um what type of effort you have to do in

order to make that happen what does it

integrate with the systems you have


so but one of the other things that I'm

sometimes I'm looking at is how is that

company Philosophy about integration

does the product looks like oh they just

integrated with one or two products that

maybe 10 years ago and that's it or do

they on ongoing basis looking at new

technologies new things to integrate

with and therefore uh they're really on

top of things okay so looking at the

product is not looking at the company

behind the product is as important as

looking at the product

uh next thing is user experience someone

mentioned that before so how easy it is

to use a consistent modern intuitive

modern to me is one of those things that

I'm like I'm seeing products that looks

like they were last designed in 20 well

1999 or something like that and I'm like

yeah I don't think I'm going to use that

so so there is definitely that refresh

and modernity that you want to look in

there and then of course accessibility

we're talking a lot about that and then

which platforms you needed to support

because you don't always need to support

everything it doesn't need to be mobile

always but if you need it then it should

be right

uh next is security quite obvious

although no one mentioned it here before

but how secure is this product do they

comply with compliance with the any

regulations that you need to comply with

and also what do they do with your data

on it there are lots of talks recently

about don't use chat gbt because now

they're using that data of your company

to do

whatever they do


um this is really like how do they use

my data it's personal data but it's also

your company data Etc so it's really

important to look into that

um next is AI support okay so here this

is like the elephant in the room we have

to talk about AI like it's almost like

if we don't talk about it we don't exist

I guess

um many products these things will say

they have ai components they will put

some components in there they will kind

of you know ride the wave

um you

from what I've seen recently people are

saying in our industry we're probably

not going to be replaced by AI anytime


but if we use tools that have ai in them

we probably will are going to be more

efficient than other people that don't

use them

so it's more about the efficiency but

still ask yourself is it really required

for what you're trying to do

okay so is that really that important so

Case by case of course but always you

know have this in mind

you see I'm trying to be very critical

about every one of those points

uh then the company culture so this is

the company behind the product what is

their culture like I said this is as

important as the product itself so I'm

looking at two things the customer

support and success

so over here you know are they


um are they helpful

um is there any self-served or do I

always have to contact them

um what are other people are saying

about them I guess no one here buys

today anything uh before they look for

reviews online so why not buy this

without reviews from other people right



for that you will need to contact

support and and see how they interact

with you before you make a decision so

you will see it later on part of my

recommendations when you implement uh

and then the second thing is sales and

marketing not less important some

products are you know there is not a lot

of sales and marketing involving that

because it's very self-served uh product

LED etc etc but others there is a very

lengthy you know an Enterprise B2B

products so you will interact with them

look at their how they interact with you

is it the do they look for their short

game of like they need to sell sell sell

and get their quota or is it about a

long value that they're creating to you

okay and and with that when I'm saying

product LED I don't mean specifically

for the growth I mean do they have

the same Focus within their internal

company about how they grow about

product Market fit do they focus on the

product or do they just focus on getting

the next client


um price

of course it should be there but you see

I don't think it's the most important

it's just the most like first thing we

we go into and uh here you want to

consider the cost the free the easier

free tier that you can test it Etc

um the return on investment

and I think I mentioned also before uh

not just a price now but in the future

how can you grow into it and I've been

into situations that

um the same product because the company

grew so much the company that of the

product that I bought grew so much and

they added features and modules Etc it

becomes very very expensive as time was

going by so when you are getting a


in a company and oh I have to rush okay


um so um so look into that it's

extremely important okay feature

comparison that's one of those things



um you know that's what we usually start

with if you remember in the first flow

We compare things but when we compare it

we should really look at the limitations

and how much it's going to cost me more

if I use uh you know this one or this

one because sometimes it's tie with the

price and level that you're doing okay


the next two steps are actually quite

simple testing and implementing but I

also included a couple of flows for that

because why not


so very simply Define your test cases

what the success means like for the for

you test at least two products so you

can compare something I usually test

three uh if I can

um maybe sometime more contact the

support so you know who they are even if

you don't have any questions for them

still do that

so ask them questions and see how they

interact with you what do their SLA are

they quick are they responsive do they

try to help you or not is it a machine

is it a person Etc uh compare the

performance and not just uh you know

speed or stuff like that but between the

different uh features

and then make a decision


I created a couple of tables for you for

that so it's in the mirror board

so for the test cases and for the


and Implement again a flow why not right

simple it's very it's very similar to

what we do anyway in product management

we just apply to those products that

we're choosing so Define your scenarios

prioritize which scenarios you want to

implement first because you shouldn't

really Implement everything at the same

time because probably it will not work

so be agile about this

uh implement it always always include

your uh stakeholders in this because

otherwise uh communicating and training

users will be a huge hassle and they

will probably not really adopt it

and why choosing a product implementing

it if no one is going to use it right

and that's where I see most

implementation fail with people don't

use it

and then monitor it and reiterate on

that so see does it work what we're

doing do we have to change things so

keep it keep it a kind of a a live thing

so you will get better uh with a product

and and of course there is a table in

the mirror

so what can happen if we if we choose

wrong right I think that maybe I should

have started this in the beginning but

because he saw such a cumbersome big

flow with lots of process maybe we

should also answer this so you can have

wasted time and efforts obviously you

chose something wrong

uh week by interviews again people don't

want to use what you chose

uh log into a bad solution so imagine

you will spend all of this time you

started using something and you got kind

of locked in what do I do now it's not

the best one for for us

and expensive maintenance there is

always that it's on it's not only about

the first initial cost or the license

you get but it's also the ongoing

maintenance of that

okay now I want to turn this around and

ask you this question as product people

can we use the same methodology to

reverse engineer our product with our

competitors and see how our clients are

going to use the product they will use

they can apply the same processes


so if they can apply the same process

then we can apply two for our product to

see where are we better than others

where are we not what can we do to make

it better

make sense

I'm not going to answer that because

this is a question for you

so thank you very much and here is a QR

code that I promised I hope this will

stay for a few seconds so you can here

let me move so you can scan that it will

have a link to the mirror board to my

website to me the podcast and we just

released today a new episode uh and to

my LinkedIn so please feel free to

connect with me I will connect with


and uh

um and that's it thank you very much


thank you so much yes sir thank you so

much Moshe

um my pleasure wonderful talk

um and hope you have a wonderful evening

tonight with the the family so yes thank

you I think there's a lot of takeaways

whether design hinge or product just a

lot of things you can think about in

your your toolkit

um there any questions

throw our little friend around if there

are any questions

okay there's an easy one I don't know

what I'd do if I was like up at the top

uh hi thanks for sharing uh I have a

question for

how do you think about like designers

and developers involving in those you

know requirements product management


specifically for choosing a product for

something they will use

uh yeah especially like identify

problems you know and prioritization

those things do you think like designers

developers should also be absolutely yes

um both in both in when we develop our

own product but in this process

especially if there will be some of the

users of that so if we're choosing our

next uh project management system or a

board you know or Road mapping or

whatever it is

um usually developers definitely will

use it designers will use it also for

some of their stores depends how you

build up your stories Etc

um but they are stakeholders in this so

um absolutely stakeholders are

like I can't emphasize it enough even

though I don't think I mentioned

stakeholders here so

that's why I want to make sure I'm

saying that

sounds good thank you thank you

any other questions

one over there I can yeah

hey thank you for your talk my name is

Brian oh I really appreciate all the

information you provided

um my questions regarding implementation

and adoption process no matter how good

of a product you choose there will be

someone that's not happy about it

whether it's one or a hundred people

right what is your advice on

um you know some folks that might have

some pushback with the product that you

chose yeah

um I will try to identify them as early

as possible and get them involved in the

process as early as possible so like any

you know um stakeholder that you might

have the same problem with uh similar to

that those type of users

um it's hard sometimes uh depends on the

size of the organization

and the culture in the organization and

and all the different things that work

there the politics and whatever it is uh

but that's why the skills to choose a

product and Implement a product

um sometimes are kind of acquired as you

go and do it it's not just a project

management process it's also really

understanding the users and so it's like

many other things that we do as

designers or as product managers so if

we build empathy to our users let's

build empathy to the users of this



thank you

I have a question over here from the

internet yep

um Mita voice says how do you help

influence key stakeholders that may be

hesitant to switch over to a more

efficient tool or product

uh yeah stakeholders are always hard

right uh yeah it's um

you know part of it is really

um creating the business case for that

so is there uh data about why is it that

a new product will be better than what

we already have and

um also understanding and and really

talking with them one-on-one that will

be always a better better case there to

understand why they are against it is it

because of past investment that they've

done and therefore uh oh they were

fearful of wasting all of these things

that they've done in the past or or

there are other things they were afraid

of and and then see okay so how can I

make how can I switch it around and

create a story that will be able to sell

also to those hard hard sells

good time for one quick question if it's

right over there

you raise your hand so we know where to

throw it oh behind yeah

did it fast

there we go hello hi hi

um I'm curious what do you see as the

future of products like you did mention

platforms and currently there are a few

platforms but then there's a lot of

single products and silos

um how do you see the industry evolving

in the future a decade very very good

very good question at the end of the day

it will be depending on us what is it

that we like or most of us like that's

that's how I think it will happen

um I actually like those platforms they

do it all because I prefer everything is

integrated I don't need to think about

too many things but that's me

um when I interview people for

um the the podcasts I've seen that it's

kind of split uh some people like the

one-off that does it best and some

people like the one product that does it

all so it's hard to say there is

definitely a lot of products coming up I

actually added to the list two products

yesterday in the back there that I

didn't have on that list so now they're

there because I didn't know about them

so there are new products that are

coming up all the time which means there

is still a need there

uh some of it I think will consolidate

but even the companies that have pal in

the past have done one thing for example

amplitude they've done just product

analytics they already expanded into

other areas in the last couple of years

so I think that what companies are

seeing is that they want to expand the

reach and the the users and give them

more power and charge more so they add


adjacent uh products some of them by

development some of them by acquisition

so it seems like this is where the world

is going to and probably a lot of the

small ones that are being startups now

will be acquired by some of those in the


thank you all right Moshe thank you so

much thank you give them a round of

applause thank you very much