How to Streamline Product Development With Project Management Tools

Bringing a new product to market is rewarding, but it’s also challenging. There’s a lot involved in moving from a concept all the way to a successful launch.

In the product development process, many internal teams have a hand in bringing a concept to market. For example, design teams, engineering teams, and marketing teams all play a part in this life cycle. Coordinating timelines, phases, and deliverables is also a key part of this process, especially when it comes to keeping these different teams on the same page. 

It takes a lot of skill to manage that many moving parts (which goes a long way in explaining why both a product owner and a product manager made it onto LinkedIn’s list of most promising jobs in 2019). 

A product development roadmap template (more on that a little later) can help you sketch out the high-level vision of your product. However, there’s another way to improve this process: using the right software tools. 

Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience when you have the right product management software on your side. 

1. Manage your resources more effectively

In terms of getting your product launched efficiently and effectively, it’s tempting to think that the formula is simple: The more resources you throw at the process, the better off you’ll be.

However, that’s a myth. As Stefan Thomke and Donald Reinertsen explain in Harvard Business Review, “we have seen that projects’ speed, efficiency, and output quality inevitably decrease when managers completely fill the plates of their product-development employees—no matter how skilled those managers may be. High utilization has serious negative side effects.” 

Yet, managing your resources (especially if they’re limited) isn’t always easy. A project management tool will help you keep a close eye on the resources you have available and allocate them accordingly.

2. Set a more realistic product development schedule

You’re excited about this new product and eager to roll it out. But, you don’t want to jump the gun because of that enthusiasm. Unfortunately, inadequate scheduling is one of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to work efficiency in product development.

Using a project management tool like Wrike makes it easy to implement the critical path method, which requires that you identify your longest chain of dependent tasks. You know that if you hit a snag with any of those, the whole product will be delayed. 

The result? An improved resource management process (since resources should be assigned to the critical path first) as well as a far more realistic product development schedule that your team can actually stick to—without tearing their hair out.

3. Find the charts that work for you

From tasks to statuses to team assignments, there’s a lot of information your product development team should have a handle on. And, not everybody will process that information in the same way. 

A project management tool will give you the option to display that data in a chart that works best for you—whether you’d prefer to use a gantt chart or a funnel chart (or something else!) to get a better sense of the whole development process.

4. Use real-time reports for deeper insights 

When you’re developing a new product, things are constantly evolving. Your project performance tracking and reporting changes with new information, and you need to get your hands on the most recent data to make informed decisions about how to move forward. 

Unfortunately, accurate data is more difficult to get your hands on than you might think. Gartner reports that organizations believe poor data quality leads to $15 million in losses per year. Some experts even say that outdated data is worse than no data at all. 

With Wrike, all of the charts you create are automatically updated once per day. That means you’re always looking at the most current information, without needing to manually create new charts and reports yourself. 

5. Centralize communication and your product vision

You’ve likely heard that new products have a high failure rate. There are often a number of issues at play, but the biggest problems can include frequent miscommunications and misaligned visions about the product. 

A project management tool helps with new product development process improvement because it provides a centralized place for all product-related conversations and status updates to occur. Team members aren’t left to dig through email threads, notes, and instant messages to get the up-to-date information they need.

Plus, this level of transparency keeps the whole development team in the loop on the vision for the product. That’s important because, as Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré explains for InVision, “with this larger vision top-of-mind, you’ll be able to sift through the feature requests, prioritize the projects that serve that ideal outcome, and sweep the rest off of the table.”

Ready to streamline your process? Introducing the Wrike Product Roadmap Template

A project management tool offers tons of benefits for your product development process. Beyond the above advantages, Wrike also has a Product Roadmap Template that you can use directly within the software. 

This handy template will make it even easier to prioritize tasks, track your progress, and coordinate activities between all of the different cooks you have in the kitchen. 

All of that means a little less stress, so you can get back to focusing on what matters most: supporting your team in creating a killer product. 

Download Wrike’s Product Roadmap Template today to streamline your product development process and keep everybody on the same page. 

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