I want to get practical and share with you the different available Product Backlog tools we can use to manage and share our plans. In a previous post I made an introduction to the definition and benefits of Product Backlogs, which may be useful if you need a little more context before we get started.
If you have a very small backlog for a 1-2 people team working on a prototype or very early MVP, you are good to go with a spreadsheet or a document that includes a table with a status column, ideally shared in the cloud for collaborative editing. This is an example in Google Sheets, but you can use Microsoft Excel or any other spreadsheet software.
This also works well with non-technical organizations that are traditional, or with users that are not used to digital tools. A spreadsheet is a great way to start getting digital, and if we keep in mind that a the product backlog tools we use should fit the humans using it, and not otherwise, this is a perfectly valid option!
While I may find it ok for some situation, spreadsheets and the like tend to fall short when things get a little complicated. Some of the tools you can check are Asana or Trello.
If you are making process part of your core efforts, or if you are working on ambitious projects with teams of 10+ people I recommend you look into Jira.
If you looked at it in the past and you didn’t like it, I recommend you check it again. Believe me, you may say what you want, but Jira is the industry leader and has a growing number of integrations, automations and reports.
Besides, the company behind Jira and Trello, Atlassian, has complementary services for documentation, code repository, support help desk, and are incorporating business functions for finance or HR.
If open source is important for you, there are comparable alternatives like redmine where you can manage your Product Backlog.
If you manage a large project and you have a source of insights, then you may want to take a look at ProductBoard. This tool is focused on discovery and opportunity and roadmap prioritization, and comes with ready to use views for your prioritization matrices.
It offers features such as a product roadmap tool, user feedback management, and integrations with popular project management and development tools, like Jira. ProductBoard is not a work management tool, so I recommend you use it in combination with Jira or your favourite task manager.
Be sure to check this post I wrote where I explain in detail how to use matrices to find your most relevant and feasible or valuable opportunities.
I hope you find this useful! Keep this in mind: The Product Backlog is the important thing here, the product backlog tool is just a mean to an end.
If you didn’t already, read my post about the Product Backlog and my post “No ticket, no party” about the 7 most important arguments to use issue tracking in your project.
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