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Product Management Stack

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Linear — project management

Project management software is probably one of the most crowded ones. There are a dozen of solid products to try. Linear is pretty new to the game. It's founded by former Airbnb, Uber, and Coinbase employees; baked by Figma, Coinbase, Quora, Y Combinator, and other amazing companies.

It has an exceptional light and fast interface, intuitive and pleasant to use. We recently migrated to it and it's fantastic. Using Linear educates you about how a good product should feel. There's a lot of tiny but wise features, like fixed task statuses you can work with (To Do, In Progress, Done, etc.), quarterly planning, performance analytics with zero-configuration.

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I saw some clients trying to use Airtable for project management. I don't think that's the right tool. Yes, you can show the database as a board, but it's not flexible.
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Shahed Khan, co-founder of Loom, recommends managing tasks in Notion. Not my choice, but you can try. I recommend you dig into this thread about productivity from him.

Alternatives

  • Trello — I still love its simplicity
  • Monday — leader with flexibility and automations, but a bit overpowered
  • Asana — leader
  • Everhour — decent extension to PM tools with convenient UX and time-tracking features

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Miro — product management

Miro is a clear leader in the space of product management. I won't dig into it because it's so popular that the reviews will tell you more. As for functionality, their main page is pretty straightforward and clear.

If you confused with product management VS project management software, for me project management is more about tasks and efficiency (think Trello), when product management tools are more about whiteboarding and unleashed creativity (pictures, diagrams, stickers).

I love their recent video calls feature. There's a trend for async culture nowadays, but I lean more towards direct communication. But I see the point, it doesn't scale well.

Alternatives

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Notion — knowledge base & fun

This website is built in Notion. We manage our careers in Notion so recruiters never blocked and test their creativity. Notion help me attract qualified product managers. People run subscription businesses with Notion. Notion builds Notion in Notion.

They hit $2B evaluation with a small team.

I believe their success is in the simplicity and responsiveness of the interface. It's a complicated technical product (collaboration, automation, integrations, blocks), but yet all the ugliness is hidden under simple actions so you can start and launch quickly. They integrate only with beautiful tools and promote them to the community. I've never heard that someone doesn't like Notion or finds it over-complicated.

Use Notion with Super to host your sites on your domain, add analytics and promote with SEO.

✨ When I was publishing this website I faced some issues with Super and support was very fast, I've received help within few minutes.

Alternatives

  • Coda — tone of integrations, templates; but more complicated
  • Nuclino — small product, beautiful and lightweight
  • Confluence — I don't like it personally, but it deserves its popularity

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Loom — async communication

I love Loom. It's a special tool, very in the spirit of COVID remote times.

I don't see Loom adopted often, but everyone seems to know what the tool is. I think people treat it just as a record screen QuickTime alternative (which indeed it is) and don't pay much attention to it.

Here's how we use it in Paralect:

  • Recorded demos of new features. It's much more valuable than 10 person call. Because it recorded by a single person with no distraction by questions, the recorded demo turns into a sales video. Link later can be shared with engaged clients, investors, stakeholders, posted to blog. Managers learn how to present and sell their work.
  • Sales: send a link to leads along with some presentations. We see conversion increased with targeted niche proposals with links. "Here's Vlad, he'll show you a demo of AI applied on the real product so you won't need to skim through the text". It's great that it builds relations prior to the call. Clients can speed up to 2X to save their time and share the link further.
  • Design reviews. It's difficult to have written feedback on the design due to the subjective nature and references used. You can just open few tabs with references and walk through the video to get straight to the point.
  • Education/Workshops. I'm planning to record a Loom to educate our recruitment team on how they use analytics and improve SEO on the vacancies posted. This link could be stored later to onboard new people.
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People who not afraid to show their face in front of their work and speak publicly about what they achieved get more credibility.

Alternatives

  • Mmhmm — new but pretty creative and adds some features Loom is missing. Allow to show presentations, change backgrounds etc. Check demo for more.

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Slack — teams communication

The team management stack wouldn't be complete without a communication tool, and Slack proved to be the best one.

For me personally and our team in Paralect it works great: shared channels, threads, tone of integrations, simplest APIs — boost team's productivity.

Some teams don't realize — due to the simplest webhook API integration possible you can turn your Slack space into a complete monitoring system for your system: track incoming prospects, support chats with high-value clients, engineering events and alerts, and more. It's very convenient to track and react in a single application without vendor locking (you can move events easily to any other webhook).

The product moves in the right direction and becomes better with every update. Some time ago shared channels and switching spaces were messy, but now it's great.

Note: Slack was acquired by Salesforce, which means that there's a chance to see a significant product shift. 🤞🏻

Alternatives:

  • Twist — less distracting architecture but I personally didn't find it useful
  • Telegram — likely a convenient chat/integration for very small teams (<5)