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Product management and operations tools - ProdPad review


I've chosen ProdPad as the third product management tool to review. It continues my ongoing series of PM and operations software reviews available on

I first tried ProdPad at a startup about seven years ago, back then it proved useful for outlining and communicating the product vision as well as for product discovery activities. Hence I was curious to see how the tool developed in recent years.

Product vision, strategy and goals

Product vision and strategy are still at the heart of ProdPad. As a product leader, you can define your vision on a product canvas (built-in to ProdPad) as well as define your OKRs.

OKRs could be selected for every item you create in ProdPad making sure all your research and activities have a clear goal attached to them.

Product discovery

In ProdPad you'll find two major sections for product discovery - "Feedback" and "Ideas". As the names suggest, the first is the place where you can accumulate different types of product feedback you receive. You can filter feedback by a party that has given it, or by a company (for B2B folks). Every bit of feedback can be tagged, you can add attachments and vote for the feedback to get more recognition.

Later, you can turn the feedback pieces into product ideas (or alternatively, associate new feedback with already existing ideas to show more urgency or support for them). Ideas can be estimated with effort and value. Afterwards, you can see a chart that could help you better prioritise and communicate your product decisions. Obviously, you can discuss ideas inside ProdPad, add tags, personas and owners to them.

Personas exist as a separate section in ProdPad - you can create as many as you like, discuss them with your colleagues and add attachments. This might be particularly useful in the very early stages of product discovery when you are still not sure what audience you're going to serve.


The main way to prioritise ideas in ProdPad is effort/value. It's a very simple method and if you use it - ProdPad does a good job to visualise the results on a chart making prioritisation decisions easier and more visual.

However, I didn't find any other methods of prioritisation in ProdPad. That might be a problem for teams that use alternatives to value/effort.


In ProdPad you can plan your work with a roadmap view. You can create multiple views for prioritisation, visualisation and communication. There is a special column for roadmap candidates, those are ideas you're not yet sure about that might require additional discovery.

I guess planning a simple release for one or several small products would be totally fine in ProdPad. However, organisations that have multiple workstreams and dependencies might struggle to properly plan their work in ProdPad.

Note: there might be some features in ProdPad that I haven't seen in my trial that could help with portfolio planning.

Product delivery

While trialling ProdPad I had an impression it is not big on product delivery despite having integrations to SDLC tools like Jira and DevOps. I didn't see any sections or features to track the progress of your work items or releases. I guess PMs are expected to update those manually in ProdPad to reflect the changes on the roadmap.

For some teams, such an approach would be fine as they want to have manual control over what's communicated to stakeholders or customers. However, the lack of sync with the delivery tools might add some workload on PMs to keep track of progress and update ProdPad accordingly.


A roadmap is a central place in ProdPad. Janna Bastow, the founder of ProdPad also invented the now super popular Now/Next/Later roadmap. It's easy to create and it is honest about the nature of developing products - you'll always have uncertainty, no matter how hard you try things always change, and so should your plans.

The "Roadmap" screen in ProdPad is split into three major views: candidates, roadmap and completed. Those views allow you to structure the ideas and communicate the right amount of details to your stakeholders and customers. Additionally, you can group items on the roadmap based on an objective which makes it easier to focus your team's efforts.

When it comes to sharing a roadmap, ProdPad can offer a few clever options. Of course, good old offline forms are available, but it's online sharing which you want to use. ProdPad allows you to control who sees your roadmap, what products are displayed and whether you also want to show completed and candidate items. You can password-protect your roadmap and embed it wherever it makes sense.


ProdPad offers integrations with some of the most popular tools for product discovery and delivery. However, when it comes to the discovery I expected to see more choices. I wasn't able to check how the integrations are working, especially the ones for SDLC tools. I vaguely remember back in the day it was mainly one-way sync of ideas from ProdPad to Jira but guess it has improved since then.

Special sauce

The focus on product vision and strategy is what makes ProdPad different to all other PM tools out there. This is especially important for early-stage (pre-product-market fit) startups. At this stage, you need to formulate your vision and make sure everyone in the company buys into it. ProdPad could be a real help to achieve this cross-organisational alignment.

In addition to the vision canvas and OKRs, ProdPad offers powerful discovery features that promote evidence-based planning. Plus, a customer portal will enable you to include your stakeholders and customers in your discovery process, increasing the quality of the end result.


After trialling ProdPad for a few days I had a feeling it didn't change much since I used it seven years ago. It is still a clever product management tool for early-stage startups or small teams who need to figure out their initial offering. ProdPad is big on product discovery, offering folks some of the best ways to formulate and communicate their product vision and accumulate the right evidence.

Another thing that ProdPad does right is roadmapping. I think it's a good thing there's only one type of roadmap available in ProdPad (Now/Next/Later) as it teaches teams working on it to expect surprises and stay agile.

Where ProdPad users might find limitations is in the product delivery domain. The tool has limited options to visualise your development process, report on status or plan resources.

Therefore, I'd say ProdPad is a good entry-level PM tool that could be successfully used as a complementary to your product delivery software. For product managers, ProdPad offers simplicity and support to figure out the most important - your product vision and strategy.


  • Simple to setup and use
  • Vision canvas built-into
  • Sophisticated product discovery tools ("Ideas" and "Feedback")
  • OKRs integrated into every part of the tool
  • Simple yet sufficient Now/Next/Later roadmap


  • No way to track delivery or plan resources
  • Prioritisation options are limited (only value/effort)
  • Limited options for large teams and portfolios

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