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Product management and operations tools - Productboard review


The second product management tool I've decided to review is Productboard. It is widely regarded as one of the most popular tools for product teams and the main competitor of that I reviewed in the previous post.

I know some of the team behind Productboard and can say those are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate product people I've encountered. And even though I didn't have an opportunity to use Productboard in one of my previous roles, I was excited to try out the tool and review it.

Important note: I've made most of the review using the "Essential" trial of the Productboard. It's the most basic plan they have suitable for small teams and tiny products. Later I switched to the "Pro" plan trial so got access to the "Insights" and a few curious capabilities in other sections. Still some of the more advanced features I wasn't able to review and that affected my conclusions.

Product vision, strategy and goals

When you first sign up for Productboard it asks you to define your top three features as part of the onboarding experience. This is a highly unusual approach and while it might work for getting to know the tool, it's not how most teams should approach their planning.

In the "Essential" and "Pro" plans there is no section for product vision, strategic objectives or goals. Only in the "Scale" tier, I found the mention of those. When objectives are available you can define as many as you want and in any format. Then you can display them on your backlog or use them as filters.

I guess the objectives functionality will be sufficient for most small and mid-sized teams that are collocated. When it comes to a large product team in different geographies - it would be extremely useful to create a hierarchy of product vision - strategic objectives - product goals. The absence of an enforced format for objectives means there should be someone who coordinates and ensures all PMs on the team are aligned and informed about the proper way to set goals.

Product discovery

Productboard offers a robust solution for product discovery called "Insights". It's a product section where you can centralise all the feedback and intelligence you've gathered from various customer and market research activities. You can connect Productboard to tools like Slack or Intercom (and many more using Zapier integration) to get the customer knowledge you already have.

Productboard allows you to tag the feedback with a company (useful for B2B), a user (or user persona) and with custom tags. You can filter the feedback by all those tags and additionally by a timeframe, interviewer and status of the feedback.

Later, you can connect the feedback to particular stories (or features) which makes it much easier to show the value of the work you're delivering. Moreover, your customers and colleagues can follow particular feedback pieces and receive updates when those are being updated and resolved.


Most prioritisation happens on the main screen called "Features". It's here where you see your entire backlog and can show/hide different fields to prioritise items on the list.

By default, Productboard supports the simple value/effort prioritisation technique. However, in more advanced tiers, you can prioritise based on customer feedback (especially useful for B2B companies that sometimes need to address the needs of a particular customer segment or even individual customers). Prioritisation based on strategic objectives is also available starting from the "Scale" tier.


The "Features" screen is also used in Productboard for planning purposes. There you can present your backlog in a few clever ways (or views). One particularly useful for planning is simply called "feature planning". It gives you a release-focused view that you can additionally filter by hierarchy, status, matrix or use your own custom sorting method.

Another way to plan your work in Productboard is by using their special fields for user persona and company. In one view you can see how important are your features/stories for the selected personas and individual customers. Moreover, there is a special feature in Productboard allowing you to create a customer segment to group clients with similar needs and make release planning easier.

Product delivery

Productboard has all the necessary tools to be on top of product delivery. On the "Features" screen you have information about the status of your backlog and the progress of releases. Statuses are flexible and you can add/change them according to the needs of your team.

The concept of "tasks" is pretty powerful, allowing you to create and visualise your particular workflow within Productboard. Every major stakeholder group involved in product delivery might have their own tasks that all will be visible on the "Features" screen.


Features and roadmap seem to be the two central concepts in Productboard. You were even encouraged to create your first roadmap as a part of the onboarding process. When it comes to the types of roadmaps, Productboard supports the most popular kinds: timeline, kanban, sprint and release-oriented ones.

The roadmap could be easily shared with your stakeholders either in a static form (image, pdf) or as access to the tool (viewers can be added to Productboard for free). When you share the roadmap you can control the visibility of certain items and the level of details by roles or individual users. You can also set your roadmap public if you wish to.


Productboard supports all the platforms you'd expect for bringing ideas in (i.e Slack, Intercom, Chrome, Gainsight..) and turning those into working products (i.e Jira, Azure DevOps, GitHub..)

As I was just trialling the tool I couldn't validate how well those integrations work. On paper, Productboard integrations look solid and should be sufficient for most product teams out there.

Special sauce

There is a feature in Productboard I previously saw only as a standalone product, it's called "Product Portal". At a first glance, it might appear like just another variation of the roadmap, however, it could do much more for you. First of all, a portal is a way to show what your company is considering doing, what you're working on and what you've just released. It is also a place to include your users and customers in the ideation, prioritisation and feedback processes.

Cards in the product portal could be viewed and interacted with. As a user, I can see what the company is planning to do and I can provide feedback, for example, I can choose how important a certain feature is to me. In addition, I can add qualitative feedback and subscribe to a feature in order to receive updates as it gets built.

Product managers can update the product portal and items on it, giving their customers up-to-date insights into the progress of development or any changes to the scope. Using a product portal might be really useful for businesses that want to co-create products with their customers. For everyone, it should be a great tool to get that extra feedback that could separate the good and best products out there.


Productboard is a sophisticated product management and operations software that could satisfy the needs of most product teams. In starting pricing tiers, it is very simple to get started with and use. In more advanced tiers, it adds features essential to bigger product teams with large product portfolios.

"Insights" and "Product portal" features of Productboard could bring your discovery efforts and collaboration with stakeholders to a new level. While the complete set of integrations ensures you can pass information in and out of the platform.

There are several question marks for me with regard to Productboard. First - their tiers. It felt that in lower tiers ("Essential" and "Pro") the product is too simplistic and would be useful only to the smallest teams working on their MVP. To support even a mid-sized product organisation with several products or a small portfolio - you will have to get either the "Scale" or "Enterprise" plan.

Also, as product ops, I'd expect to see slightly more customisation options. Especially when it comes to prioritisation, resource planning and reporting. Perhaps those options are available in the highest tier, however, at times even modest teams will need to adjust the tools for their needs.


  • Intuitive and fast UX
  • Robust tools for product discovery ("Insights" and "Product portal")
  • Integrations for getting data in and out
  • Clever ways to segment users and simplify prioritisation
  • Various ways to present a backlog using almost any dimension as a filter


  • Some key features missing in the lower tiers (Objectives, additional dimensions for backlog prioritisation)
  • There could be more built-in formulas (KANO, MoSCoW)
  • Resource planning is not easy

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