A Roundup of Product Management & Development Project Tools

A Roundup of Product Management & Development Project Tools

Updated September 30, 2021. See this twitter thread for details.

There are a variety of tools available to help product teams manage the process of conceiving, defining, planning, executing, and delivering products in an and agile manner.

What works for your team will have a lot to do with factors such as:

  • Team sizes and configuration
  • Scale, scope, and number of initiatives within your group
  • Development methodology preferences, and desire for variations among your teams
  • Existing tech stacks and integration considerations
  • Geographic distribution of your team
  • Budget, and many other things not mentioned here

The Airtable list below is just a simple roundup of tools. If I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter.

Best wishes to all you product makers out there!

Illustration: Agile Methodology by Florent B from the Noun Project

Code-centric Design Tools on the Rise?

Code-centric Design Tools on the Rise?

Coded components will finally become the source of truth in UI design

Updated February 15, 2021. See this twitter thread for details.

In 2018, I wrote about an emerging trend of tools that mingle visual design and code in ways that are notably different from typical “screen design” tools for drawing pictures of screens and creating no-code prototypes.

While this trend still seems early in the curve of adoption, I’m hopeful that this is the direction that things are eventually going. There are market signals to back this up. For example, Modulz raised $4.2M in seed funding in March of 2020.

Some common themes among these tools include attributes such as:

  • Designing with live data in an application environment vs. static mockups
  • Themes and reusable design tokens
  • Components that are production-ready, reusable, and iteratively designed or enhanced over time
  • Real-time team collaboration features that allow multiple people to work on a design simultaneously
  • Styleguides and Component Libraries as a means of communicating design specifications and fueling consistency
  • Integrations that allow for bi-directional import/export to screen design tools
  • Connections to any popular back end that supports a product team’s code-base

The Airtable list below is just a simple roundup of tools. If I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter.

I’m personally looking forward to a tool with these characteristics, becoming the dominant design solution for UX and UI Visual Designers. Let me know if I missed any other examples.

Illustration credit: Feather icons “pen-tool”

iPad OS – Design & Illustration Apps Roundup

iPad OS – Design & Illustration Apps Roundup

Updated March 22, 2020

The latest Apple iPad Pro models, paired with Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, have helped move iPad OS toward being a viable standalone creative platform for designers and creative people on the go.

Here’s a roundup of iPad apps for Design (User Experience, User Interface, Graphic Layout) and Illustration.

Illustration credit: Feather icons “pen-tool”

An Unopinionated Roundup of Current UX Research & UI Testing Tools

An Unopinionated Roundup of Current UX Research & UI Testing Tools

Updated: November 29, 2021. See this twitter thread for details.

Whether you call it user experience, customer experience, human experience, or simply ‘trying to understand if anyone wants-or-can-use the thing we’re making’ – if you’re reading this, you probably appreciate the importance of iterative user research and usability testing.

This work has historically been the domain of User Experience (UX) professionals, but it is also becoming the standard practice for any cross-functional team developing products and services for buyers and end-users.

I’ve created a running list of all the UX Research and UI Testing platforms I’m aware of in an Airtable database. The live-updating list is embedded below for your reference. I have only used some of these solutions. If you are interested in my opinion or think I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter.

The Airtable list is simple in format and has a direct link to the product’s website. I do not expect that this is enough information to help you decide which tool(s) to choose.

There are lots of great product reviews already out there. If you find a tool of interest, I’m sure you are a quick Google search away from a detailed article or comparison.

Enjoy improving your ideas for – and implementations of – products and services by getting to know your prospects and customers!

Other UX Reading on the Web

Illustrations: co creation workshop, cross-platform, and feedback by Yu luck from the Noun Project

An Unopinionated Roundup of Current Prototyping Tools

An Unopinionated Roundup of Current Prototyping Tools

Updated March 18, 2021. See this twitter thread for details.

I’ve shared various lists, roundups, and reviews of different prototyping tools in the past – usually on Twitter. Sometimes, people will point out that a particular third-party roundup review has overlooked a specific product or seems biased.

I’ve created a running list of all the screen design and prototyping tools I’m aware of in an Airtable database. The live-updating list is embedded below for your reference. I have only used some of these solutions. If you are interested in my opinion or think I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter (TLDR, my primary tool right now is Figma).

The list is simple in format and has a direct link to the product’s website. I do not expect this will be enough information to help you decide which tool(s) to choose.

There are lots of great product reviews already out there. If you find a tool of interest, I’m sure you are a quick Google search away from a detailed article or comparison.

Happy prototyping, and don’t forget to get feedback from actual prospects & customers!

Illustrations: Website Prototype by Creative Stall, and prototype by David Gomez from the Noun Project

On-Demand Design Companies Offering Agency-like Services with SaaS-like Pricing

On-Demand Design Companies Offering Agency-like Services with SaaS-like Pricing

Updated January 18, 2021. See this twitter thread for details.

The design services landscape has undoubtedly evolved in the last decade.

Regardless of size or model, there’s been a rich history of graphic design services being a “relationships businesses.” Firms typically became known and trusted for their leadership, teams, and results. Reputation is still a factor today, but the variety of means for engaging with design practitioners continue to expand.

Outside agencies still exist and are now competing with the impulse within some companies to either build or acquire their own internal design teams. Individual freelancers and small boutique shops are looking for ways to specialize in countering these pressures. Freelancer marketplaces have been around for a while and focus on a race to the bottom in affordability.

An even more recent trend is the rise of design service companies that commoditize typical graphic and digital design production services and outputs and wrap them up in a SaaS (software as a service) styled capabilities model that offers predictability of pricing and flexibility of commitment.

The business world loves its acronyms. Perhaps this is model could be known as “On-Demand Design Services (ODDS)” or “Unlimited Design as a Service (UDaaS)” 🤓

What do these companies have in common?

  • Emphasis on a tiered fixed-price model, quite similar to SaaS companies
  • A contract-less monthly commitment that can be canceled any time
  • Ability to increase or decrease the scale of services needed month to month
  • They are usually remote-only, nobody shows up on-site to help you
  • Anonymity and variety, no guarantees that you can choose or know the designer(s) working on any given project
  • Proprietary online portals track all workflow processes, job requests, feedback, iterations, and sign off – asynchronously online.
  • They are headquartered around the globe
  • Many offer unlimited revisions
  • A promise of end-product ownership (IP, files, assets)
  • Some offer a “risk-free” trial period
  • Some target a mix of end-customers, from companies seeking design help to other agencies and freelance designers that need immediate assistance
  • Most emphasize graphic design production, NOT strategic thinking or brand creation

Here’s a copy of this list in an Airtable database that you can bookmark, follow or copy.


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the above services, nor have a had the opportunity to work directly with any of them. This article is meant for information purposes only and is not a recommendation to purchase or use these services.

If I’ve missed any related companies, or if you are a business that has hired any of these companies in the past and wish to share your experiences – please get in touch.

Illustration: productive by Becris from the Noun Project