15 Apps that Every Product Manager Needs To Be Using

This curated list offers recommendations for familiar apps along with some apps you may not have heard of before. Some of the apps are directly applicable to product management activities, while others make life easier. Hopefully this list points you to an app or two that you may want to try out.

1Password

With all the other apps listed in this post, you’re going to need some way to remember all of those passwords. 1Password is definitely the way to make that happen. 1Password helps you create strong passwords, and then because strong passwords are inherently impossible for you to remember, it saves your username and password. In addition you can access your passwords from all your devices so you can put away those sticky notes.

Axios

Depending on what industry you work in, keeping up with the news is essential to identifying new opportunities, trends you should exploit, or risks you need to avoid. At the same time, you don’t want to get sucked into doom scrolling. The Axios app is a great way to get smarter, faster with the news & information that matters without a lot of the hype that you get with other news sources. The app lets you choose the topics you want to follow so that you can see key updates in your personal feed and stay up to date with notifications when important news happens.

Calendly

Trying to schedule a discovery interview or usability testing session with someone outside your organization can be a royal pain. You can’t see their calendar, they can’t see yours so you’re subjected to a seemingly endless back and forth of emails trying to find the right time. Calendly helps you avoid that by providing a view of your calendar that shows your available time slots. Send your customers a link and let them pick a time from open spots on your calender. The best thing is that Calendly synchs with several different types of calendars, so as long as you keep your calendar up to date, your customer will only be able to pick truly open times.

Drive

There are a lot of cloud storage apps out there, but Google Drive is a good option if you find yourself using Google Docs, Sheets and Slides to produce documents and do your work. It’s an even better idea if you work synchronously with others on that documentation. You can also use it to store non GSuite files and Drive makes it easy to share all those files with people you’re working with. The Drive app itself gives you the ability to see all those files from your phone or tablet so you can look things up when you’re not at your computer.

Evernote

If you take a lot of notes in your product management endeavors you more than likely have put some thought into where you keep those notes. There are certainly a lot of options out there, including good old pen and paper. The Evernote app is handy because it allows you to take notes and look at notes from all different devices. You can also grab web pages to use as reference points and use the reminder feature to act as your to do list. Plus, if you spend a bit of time properly categorizing and tagging your notes, the search functionality is extremely powerful.

ExpressVPN

As remote work becomes more of the norm rather than the exception one of the things you’ll need to think about more is security and encryption when you’re using public wifi. ExpressVPN helps you out with this by hiding your IP address and encrypting your network data so no one can see what you’re doing. It’s easy to get setup, easy to turn on “one click, and you’re protected”) and the app is available for every device you have. What’s better, a single subscription covers all of those apps.

Figma

Your product team may already use Figma to collaborate on your design, but you may find that you have trouble envisioning what the design will look like on mobile devices. That’s where Figma Mirror comes in handy. Figma Mirror allows you to view your designs from the Figma desktop app live across all of your devices. Log in to your Figma account and any frame you select in Figma will show up on the device on which you have Figma Mirror installed. As you make changes in the Figma desktop app, the screen on your Android device updates in real-time.

Linked In

Social media networks have acquired quite a mixed reputation of late, but there’s at least one that is useful for product managers and does not drag you into an endless swirl of doom scrolling. Linked In is the world’s largest professional network with and is intended to be used for business purposes. You can use Linked in to connect with customers for discovery interviews and you also build your network to help find your perfect gig. The Linked In app gives you the ability to quickly engage with your network in small bursts even if you’re not at your computer.

Pandora

If you like having background music as you work, or you look to music to act as a distraction from your work Pandora may fit the bill. You can create stations from your favorite songs, artists or genres, search or browse to find recommended stations for your mood or activity. The experience is particularly nice if you’re more interested in hearing songs from a particular genre or artist than establishing a playlist of all the same songs. This experience even lets you discover new songs and artists you weren’t aware of before.

Pocket

If you’ve ever found yourself doing a bit of internet research and wished there was some way to note pages you wanted to refer back to later, without relying on bookmarks or leaving 60 tabs open in your browser, the Pocket app is for you. The premise behind Pocket is fairly straightforward. Save a webpage that you’re reading so you can go back to it later, but a couple of key features make it a truly essential tool. First, you can tag the pages you’re saving so that you can see a group of resources relevant to a particular topic. Second, you can look at those saved resources on any device that has the app or a browser.

Podcast Addict

All of the apps in this list are available on both iOS and Android, except for this one. It is specifically an Android app. The app made it on this list because it gives people with an Android device access to Apple Podcast as well as several other podcast services, live radio, and rss feeds. Podcast Addict also gives you the ability to stream podcasts or automatically download podcasts and add them to your playlist.

Rocketbook

If you prefer to take notes by hand rather than typing, you may want to check out the Rocketbook app. Rocketbook provides specially designed notebooks that you can scan with the app and get your handwritten notes transcribed to a wide variety of cloud locations such as Google Drive, Evernote, Slack, Trello or email. Perhaps even more helpful than scanning rocketbook pages, you can use the Rocketbook Beacons (an orange triangle in each corner) to capture your whiteboard sketches and send the picture to the same cloud locations.

Slack

As more product teams become dispersed, they’re constantly on a search for ways to communicate effectively in a synchronous manner. Slack has long been viewed as a good way to exchange quick chat messages without clogging up everyone’s email box. The voice call feature in channels can go a long way to recreating the feeling of teams working in the same room. Some teams find it handy to leave a voice channel up through the day so that those spontaneous conversations can still happen. The Slack app lets you stay up to date with those conversations when you’re away from your desk.

Trello

If your team wants to track your to do, in progress, and finished work but don’t want to invest in overwhelming work tracking software, Trello may work great for you. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards help your team organize and prioritize work in an intuitive and flexible way. You may primarily use Trello on your laptop, but when you use the app to stay in sync across all of your devices. Collaborate with your team anywhere, from sitting on the bus to sitting on the beach.

Zoom

As product teams move to remote work and limit their travel for client meetings they have dramatically increased their use of video meeting software such as Zoom. Zoom has gained a great deal of traction over the past year because it’s easy to start or join a meeting regardless of what device you’re using. And while you may prefer some other virtual meeting software, Zoom’s ease of use may make it a preferred option for interacting with some of your customers and your team.

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Kent J McDonald
Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has IT and product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent is a product manager at LenderClose and provides just in time resources for product owners and business analysts at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.