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15 tools that our product teams actually use in 2022
Are you using the best tools for your job? It’s a trick question. Because there’s rarely a hands-down best tool for any job. What matters is that you find the ones that work for you and your team.
As part of a product team, you design and build products that customers love. How do you do that? By putting the customer first, and translating their needs into your product. So you need ways to interact with customers, gather all the research you’ve done, prototype and design solutions, and to keep track of progress along the way.
Last updated1 Feb 2022
And you’re part of a team, so you also need tools to facilitate remote collaboration and weekly product rituals and routines. But it’s not just about functionality. You have to lead with empathy, to make sure the tools you use actually work for the people using them. Hotjar has been a fully remote company long before the pandemic sent everyone into their living rooms. So we’ve been exploring and experimenting with remote tools for a long time.
We also thought our experiences might help you. So we asked around the Product teams at Hotjar to find out what tools people rely on in their day-to-day. We didn’t want a big list of every option out there. We wanted to know what people are actually using to get their jobs done.
Or course some tools have overlapping functions, but to help you scan for your interests, we’ve broken it down into tools for:
Communications and info sharing
Visual collaboration and design
Data insights and visualization
We included the must-have tools people can’t live without, along with some newer finds that people are exploring and loving.
Let’s dive in. Here are 15 essential tools for our Product teams here at Hotjar.
Tools for project management and source-of-truth
When’s the deadline again? Who owns that feature? Where’s the latest version of that doc? Here’s how we keep everyone on the same page.
Confluence is our single-source of truth for company docs and project roadmaps. You can even embed Jira or Trello boards to keep everything together. I’ve personally never seen an internal company wiki that stays clean and organized in the long run, but Confluence sure helps to get us all on the same page.
“Confluence is the go-to place for everything. When I need to know what’s going on, this is where I start.”
– Emma Argentieri, Product Manager
You can love it or hate it, but it’s one of the most mission-critical tools for keeping us aligned with each other and our engineers. Jira is a work management tool where our projects and tickets get planned, prioritized, and tracked through to “Done.” And it integrates with dozens of tools we already use. Jira’s that one tool you can look at and know right away what you need to work on today.
“Jira is the central place where we plan, refine, track, and execute our work. It’s like a destination, roadmap, and odometer all in one.”
– Andrei Beno, Growth Product Manager
Trello is a straightforward collaboration tool organized by boards, lists, and cards. It’s easy to drag lists and cards around. And you can switch between kanban and calendar views with a click. It’s great for keeping track of our users' ideas, issues, and requests. With just a glance, you know where a task is in a process and who’s working on what.
“While it certainly has its limitations, I love the speed and ease at which you can set up a Trello board, define a plan and assign work.”
– Jonathan Vella, Co-Founder & Principal Product Designer
Monday.com is still new to us and not widely adopted, but we’re hearing good things. It’s a workflow management software designed to emphasize people over projects. That means it’s easy to get started, intuitive to use, and it keeps all info transparent and accessible to everyone. No hidden files or special permissions to get the big picture.
“The more I use it, the more I love it. It’s so easy to track a project’s progress, and see who’s working on what.”
– Marco D'Emilia, Design Manager
Tools for communication and info sharing
Can you hop on a quick call? Is this a good time to walk you through the doc? Working together means keeping the info flowing. Here are some tools that help us every day.
5. Slack + Email
For some it’s a godsend, for others it’s the devil. But the reality is that Slack helps to push ideas and questions around the company more quickly. I’ve lost my share of info down the back of Slack thread, but at least I know it’s in there somewhere if I need to find it.
A word of warning: It’s easy to fall into the Slack trap of feeling like you need to prove you’re online every minute of the day. No, you don’t need to respond to every message a half-second before people even write to you. So make sure you take time off Slack so you actually get your work done.
“How did we work before Slack? I can’t imagine having all these conversations via email.”
– André Barro, Product Manager
And email? Did someone include email in a list of useful tools in 2022? Absolutely. While Slack may have kicked 90% of the in-office email convos to the curb, it’s still the best way for us to communicate with external collaborators. If you’re inviting a customer in for user testing, do you send them a slack message? Didn’t think so. So while email might not sound as sexy as Slack or Confluence, it’s still a staple in our stack.
Loom still isn’t on everyone’s radar, but it’s a great way to share info that needs a little more context or visual walk-through. You can easily record videos of your screen and through your webcam at the same time. That makes it perfect for walking someone through a document or workflow, or for giving async presentations. Our Hotjar team is distributed around the globe, so these async, smiling faces are always welcome.
“Walking someone through a design or wireframe has never been easier. I can record once, and people can go through it at their own pace.”
– Alessio Laiso, Senior Product Designer
6. Google Meet
This one may be a bit obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Sure, some people prefer Zoom or Slack Huddles. But G-Meet is integrated so well with the G-Suite we already use, that it’s our go-to for most meetings.
“I don’t think Google Meet needs a dedicated quote. But what can I say, it’s just one click in Google Calendar, and (most of the time) it works.”
– pretty much anyone who uses it
Building a great product means understanding what people actually want. We do this through user research, user testing, surveys, and interviews. But where is that last interview doc? Before EnjoyHQ, it might have been in Drive, an email thread, or that stack of sticky notes on the desk over there. Now all of our research has a single home in EnjoyHQ. If only it would automatically transcribe those sticky notes.
“No more searching through emails, message threads, and Drive docs. Now all of our research is in one place and easy to filter.”
– Martina Pérez, Senior Product Designer
When it comes to our community, Discourse helps keep all of our discussions organized and easily searchable. With just a glance you can see which issues are of top interest to users, and how many people are engaging in different topics. This can reveal a goldmine of feature requests, and be an early warning sign of issue to address. Discourse is also a great tool for getting to know new starters, and it’s a huge help when planning our meet-ups.
“Discourse gives us a pulse on what our community cares about. It gives them a place to ask questions, suggest new features, vent frustrations, and occasionally have a little laugh.”
– Emma Argentieri, Product Manager
Tools for visual collaboration and design
What will that UX flow look like? Should we run a remote retro? Here are the visual tools and digital whiteboards that help us turn ideas and customer feedback into products that people love.
Miro is like a digital whiteboard without the smell of dry-erase markers and wasted Post-Its. You get a big open canvas with all the shapes, sticky notes, arrows and real-time collaboration tools you could ask for (minus the coffee machine). It’s great for meetings, workshops, ideation, brainstorming, planning, and mapping. Pretty much anything that requires visual collaboration.
“Miro is useful for both async and sync collaboration. It’s great for structuring thoughts in a visual way, and facilitating workshops.”
– Sofia Michili, Senior Product Manager
If Confluence is the source of truth for docs and charts, Figma is the source of truth for design. When it comes to design collaboration, this is our meeting room. We use it for brainstorming, usability testing, research workshops, UX prototyping, and maintaining our design system.
“It’s a visual space where designers, copywriters, and product managers can easily work together on shared projects.”
– Eddie Machado, Product Design Lead
Tools for data insights and visualization
Where are people clicking in our product? What features do high paying customers use the most? Here are a few data tools that help turn information into answers.
Mixpanel is a product analytics tool. It lets you see what features are most popular, how your power users navigate your product, and the types of user behaviors that lead to long-term retention. As they say on their website: “Great products are built by teams who know their users.” We couldn’t agree more.
“Knowing how our customers actually use our product—where they spend the most time, where they get stuck—is a crucial compliment to user research.”
– Pedro Magriço, Staff Product Manager
Tableau lets you build interactive dashboards and beautiful charts and graphs to make it easy to spot trends in data and product usage. You can also answer deeper questions with statistical analyses and forecast summaries. This helps us make data-driven decisions that we can feel more confident about. Whereas Mixpanel is great for observing product usage, Tableau allows us to pull data in from multiple sources, including product and website.
“To make good product and design decisions, I look to data from all different sources. Tableau helps glue it all together.”
– Dorottya Molnár, Senior UX Researcher
Sure, we’re a little biased here. But Hotjar obviously plays a big role in how we operate. Not only do we make it—and constantly strive to make it better—but we also use it to help guide our product and marketing decisions. With Hotjar’s product experience (PX) insights tools, we step beyond traditional analytics to connect the dots between what's happening and why it happens. Because we believe that customer empathy is the main ingredient for better user experience.
“When other analytics software hits its limits, Hotjar is there to fill in the gaps. Plus heatmaps are pretty cool to look at—it’s like stepping inside your visitors’ and customers’ minds.”
– The whole Hotjar team
Tools for personal productivity
And here are a couple personal productivity tools we’ve found recently that we’re really enjoying.
Akiflow let’s you pull in calendars and tasks from different apps all into one place. Trello, Slack, Gmail, Calendar, all in a simple, customizable interface.
“I’m done flipping back and forth between apps to find out what I need to do and when. This puts all my meetings and to-dos in one place.”
– Iason Rados, Senior Product Manager
You know those annoying 15-minute gaps between meetings? Clockwise looks at those gaps across everyone’s calendar and makes suggestions for how to shuffle meetings to optimize the time. It’s like a smart assistant helping to find you more focus time.
“Those little gaps between meetings can be such a waste of time. Clockwise puts those gaps together to make time you can actually use.”
– Martina Pérez, Senior Product Designer
And there you have it. 15 apps and tools that Hotjar Product teams actually use in 2022. We hope you’ve found this overview as useful as we find these tools. Here’s to a great year.
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