10 Jun 15 Apps that Every Product Manager Needs To Be Using
This curated list offers some classic app recommendations along with some excellent new apps that can help you be more organized and productive in your job and more happy and relaxed in your life.
Unamo is one of my favorite recent discoveries. It lets you listen to all the most recent and popular articles in design, tech, productivity, business and lots of other areas. It’s great for your commute to supplement other podcasts and audio books. Use this as another tool in your arsenal in the battle product managers engage in to stay up to date.
You’ve probably heard of Audible. This is a terrific app that offers best in class spoken word audio experience. Audio is a great way to consume content while your hands and eyes may otherwise be indisposed. Whether you’re grabbing a quick run before hitting the office, commuting, or going around the city.
As product managers we need sharp minds. Luminosity is the best in class app for staying fresh and clear, ensuring you’re able to tackle all the different challenges that come up during the day. Make an effort and get in 3-4 workouts for your brain per week. Trust us, you’ll see a definitive improvement in how much you can remember. Your team will thank you when you remember to follow up with design on that open item!
Asana is a great workflow assignment app that lets you create and assign tasks under projects. It’s like a light version of Jira or Basecamp. If you’re looking for a simple way to stay organized with your team this is a great app to test out.
This app is a pure productivity app that is ultra powerful. It lets you connect channels together and set triggers for when these channels should connect. For example, you can set up a recipe so that whenever a new post is added to the New York Times tech review save it to Evernote. They add new channels all the time and you can check out the most popular recipes that others are using. IFTTT offers a great way that you can start to control how the internet works for you.
Gold standard notes app, Evernote is great because it lets you take notes and sync between devices. But, it also does so much more. Evernote also has the ability to take a picture and read the text from the image allowing it to be searchable. I don’t use Evernote for all of my note taking, but it’s been one that I’ve used most for years and it’s the most feature rich app out there. Use it and let it work for you.
Quip is a great collaboration app that offers a suite of features across chat, documents, spreadsheets, checklists, etc. It’s great for working on lists, action plans, spreadsheets where you plan to collaborate with others and want to be able to comment directly on those artifacts.
When you’re looking to kick back and spend some time listening to the newest jams after work, or you need to get into the zone to crank out some user stories or do some user mapping this is the best app around. Spotify lets you save music for offline listening, create playlists, and save favorites. The other great feature is Discover, which will recommend other artists based on who you are listening to. This is the best music app for listening to what you love and discovering new tracks.
I’m one of the biggest power users of Pocket there is. Seriously. I was in the top 5% of Pocket users last year. This app is truly amazing, and yet it’s so simple. It let’s you save articles for offline reading later from anywhere. It’s a crucial tool in my daily routine. First, I spend about 30 minutes looking and researching articles and then I save the ones that are interesting to Pocket. Once they’re in Pocket I can read them later anytime, anywhere. It’s a great app for organizing your articles and going through the articles that you love and need to stay up to date.
Google Drive is a great app for organizing your documents, files, pictures, videos and everything else. It is simple, fast, reliable, and you get a lot of space for free. It’s a great tool for starting your own blog and organizing everything together. It’s also fantastic to use as a channel for your IFTTT app. For example, you can connect your Facebook to Drive and have all the photos you post/are tagged in stored in Drive. Or, you can set up a recipe in IFTTT to add stock prices to a google drive spreadsheet for you. The possibilities are limitless, Google Drive offers so many fantastic use cases for a digital product manager.
This app is tremendous, and is my absolute favorite financial services app. It provides a quick view of your whole financial portfolio. If you can get over the fact that you need to provide login details for all your banking, credit card, and investment portfolios the payoff is sweet. Upon login, Personal Capital will show you your entire net worth based on all your assets. It takes your full portfolio and subtracts all the credit card debt from your net worth and gives you a single trended number over time. This is a spectacular way to get your personal One Metric That Matters, which I love. This one number, your entire net worth, is really what matters. You want to make sure that you keep trending up and to the right, so make sure to budget accordingly and check in to make sure that you’re doing a good job.
SmartNews has risen to the top of my list of news apps because it has great content aggregation and also lets you add your own channels. It’s fast, and for each article you can load either the direct web view of an article or a “smart” view that is essentially the RSS version. If you haven’t checked this one out yet, definitely do it now.
If you’re in the city (New York), or one of the other many areas that Breather exists (SF, Montreal, many more) and looking for a great space to work out of for a few hours definitely check out Breather. Despite the semi-creepy name this app offers a terrific service to find co-working spaces near you for a good deal and you can rent them for a few hours. As a product manager, our jobs often entail big chunks of strategic thinking. Whether you’re whipping up a prototype or working on your roadmap, getting a change of scenery to a new co-working space could be just what you need.
As far as the reader apps, I’m a fan of Feedly over others like Flipboard. It’s purely personal preference, but regardless of which you use, as a product manager you should have one of them. It’s a great tool that to keep up to date on a varied list of different channels and you can quickly scan through all the headlines to see what’s new in the areas of product manager jobs, tech acquisitions, or whatever it is you’re interested in. Definitely use one of these and check in each day for new articles and then save the articles of interest to Pocket to read later.
I recently discovered Oyster and I’ve been really impressed with their catalog and usable service. They are a clear competitor with Kindle/Amazon, where they offer an unlimited subscription to books for a monthly fee and a la carte ebooks for sale. Despite being an interesting business model it’s also a fantastic app. It allows you to download as many books as you want and read them offline. If you want to get to be the best product manager you can be, in my opinion reading is a great way to learn best practices and hone your skills. Oyster’s another tool you can use to stay learning wherever your travels may take you.
Thanks for reading, we hope that you enjoyed this list. If you have other apps you’d like to give us a heads up about please get in touch!
Michael Rutledge is a Product Manager currently at Audible.com responsible for delivering best in class digital experiences across web and mobile. Michael is originally from North Carolina, but the allure of the bright lights of New York City and the opportunities to work with brilliant technical minds brought him north. He spends his spare time doing various things like building computers, running, and eating amazing southern comfort foods.