What is a Product Stack?
A product stack refers to the apps, technologies, and other resources product managers use to bring their products to market. The term is borrowed from the development community, which often describes its team’s toolkits as their development stack or tech stack.
What Types of Tools Comprise a Product Stack?
Product managers (PM) today can benefit from a wide range of resources to increase their products’ chances for marketplace success. We’ve outlined in the Product Manager’s Toolkit.
Tools in a Product Stack
- User-tracking and analysis applications: Pendo’s user journey and analytics tool, for example.
- Roadmap software: ProductPlan’s purpose-built roadmap app is one example.
- Customer survey tools: The best example is Survey Monkey.
- Recording apps for customer interviews: Examples include online meeting apps, such as GoToMeeting, which can record conference calls or video chats.
- Industry research reports: Product teams can gain important business intelligence from the market research of industry analysts at firms such as Forrester or Gartner.
- Team chat apps: There are many team messaging apps, but you’ll want to find a solution that offers file sharing and other collaboration tools. Examples include Slack and Microsoft Teams.
- Presentation software: We’re thinking here about PowerPoint and Keynote.
A note of caution: In certain situations, such as at industry events, a standard slideshow app can help PMs communicate the high-level product vision. But slide decks fall short for presenting roadmaps. Instead, you should build and present roadmaps using purpose-built roadmap software.
- Project management apps: Pivotal Tracker or Jira, for example.
- Idea-capture and collaboration tools: Examples here include Evernote and Google Docs. But for idea capture, the technology and vendor are less important than the process. There are several ways product teams capture ideas during a brainstorm session. For some product teams, the best way is to use a whiteboard with colored markers, or even sticky notes. They then transfer the ideas later into digital format.
- Flowchart and workflow tools: These apps, such as Visio, can help a product team create and visualize its product’s user journey, which can help the team better understand and improve the product’s workflows.
- Prototyping apps (for UI/IX designers): Examples here include Sketch and InVision.
A note of caution: In certain situations, such as at industry events, a standard slideshow app can help PMs communicate the high-level product vision or plans for their products. But slide decks fall short for presenting roadmaps, which should instead be built and presented using purpose-built roadmap software.
This is meant to get you started on your product stack but shouldn’t be viewed as a comprehensive list. There are many other types of tools and resources that a product team might want in its product stack.
A Product Stack Helps Product Teams Work Smarter
Product teams need the right set of resources to bring their products to market. Identifying and implementing the right resource—the product stack—can help these teams work smarter and build products that their target market wants.
Product community members are a great resource to understand what tools are the best for your own product stack. Join 2k+ product managers in our Product Stack community!