Why JIRA Alone Can’t Help You To Do Better Product Management

July 1, 2014

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One of the most common questions I explore with product managers is the difference between product management and project management. Your development team already uses JIRA, so where does a tool like ProdPad come in?

In fact not only can project and product management tools work together, but this partnership allows you use each system more effectively. ProdPad and JIRA are different in several fundamental ways that make them suited for their distinct product functions, while working together in perfect harmony.

Product Managers vs Developers

One way to understand the difference between ProdPad and JIRA is to look at who these tools are used by. Essentially, your developers will live in JIRA while everybody else in your company uses ProdPad. Product Managers require a tool that allows them to capture everything they could do from many different sources. However developers need visibility of every task that will be done, and to follow the operational progress of those tasks. Only tickets that are spec’ed and approved for development have a place in JIRA, the developer’s world. Integrations allow each team to benefit from the information held in each system without having to leave their own sphere of activity.
Only tickets that are spec’ed and approved for development have a place in JIRA - #prodmgmt Click To Tweet

Finite Tasks vs Fuzzy Backlog

So what qualifies JIRA for development tickets and ProdPad for product ideas? One advantage presents itself as soon as you separate finite, confirmed tasks and a fuzzy backlog. JIRA is designed for task management, and ProdPad for idea management – each of which has a very different working approach. There’s nothing more de-motivating for a developer than to find 500 tickets in their queue, knowing they can barely scratch the surface. JIRA is designed to see tasks through to completion; when you limit the number of tickets in JIRA to only these actionable tasks your development team can work confidently to clear them.

Nothing ‘fuzzy’ or undefined should make its way to JIRA, and anything that does should be sent right back to ProdPad. This is the holding place for everything you could do, that helps you decide whether your development team should build it. ProdPad has a low barrier to entry that allows you and your team to capture ideas at their earliest stage, and tools to help you easily review where details need to be fleshed out. There’s no harm in having 700 items in your ProdPad backlog, as with powerful search and filtering, nothing can ever be lost. Work in ProdPad is an ongoing process to surface the next viable ideas for your developers to build.

By keeping your undefined maybe’s in your ProdPad backlog, you’re keeping your development team happy and sane in their own day-to-day lives.

Tech-savvy vs open collaboration

The core design of ProdPad and JIRA makes them differently suited to different people in your team.

Evidently, developers work well with high-tech tools. And given that project management tasks should be ready for execution, there’s not a great need for collaborative features in JIRA itself. In fact, bringing a wider team (ie. your commercial or exec teams) into JIRA will likely only cause confusion and disruption for all parties. However, a product management tool needs to be much more open to company-wide communication. ProdPad has an accessible interface that’s easy for anyone on your team to understand, with collaborative tools throughout that allow you to spark up a conversation on just about anything. 

Systems Talking

A solid integration is of course key to ProdPad and JIRA working together seamlessly. Product Managers can control the synchronization of only ready-to-build ideas from ProdPad to JIRA with the click of a button. Links in each system allow developers to find out more detail when they wish to, without being inundated with unnecessary information. And status syncs between the two tools means that each team can find out everything they need to know from a single location. With the help of an effective technological relationship between ProdPad and JIRA, you can build a an effective relationship between product and project management.

 

You can read more about the ProdPad and JIRA integration here

Or if you’d like to see for yourself how ProdPad is designed for better product management, sign up for a 14 day free trial here

Janna Bastow is co-founder of ProdPad, software that helps product managers plan and deliver better products. Janna also organizes ProductTank events around the world, including Mind The Product, a global community of product managers. She likes to inspire great product conversations by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

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