20 Tools That Any Non Tech Founder Can Use To Manage Their Tech Product Development

When you outsource your development, the number one concern is quality. Infact, there are enough horror stories to be afraid about outsourcing. We all have come across a thread on the internet on how someone hired a team and it did not do well.
While we can’t do anything about anyone else’s story but for our own story, we can be smarter. And there are tools out there that make us smart. You don’t need to be a programmer always to contribute to a tech project but you can use easily available tools to one, know what you are getting and two to be able to communicate with your team.
This blog is a list of tools that I myself use and share with our customers to benchmark quality.
To help you understand, I have summarized about each tool, their link and what I love about them. I have kept the blog organized with all easy tools first followed by few technical tools. If you do not like to read about each tool in detail, here is an infographic helping you prioritize tools.
Here is the complete list of tools. If there is a tool that you would like to recommend, please drop in comments.
How good it would be if you could have a video of every session that happens on your website. You could then check what each user does on your website and till where they navigate. That’s exactly what SmartLook does. Smartlook provides a way to understand user behaviour at the micro-level. The visitor recordings display what every visitor does on a website or app. The automatic event tracking shows how often visitors do specific things. Conversion funnels can be built to check conversion rates and understand drop outs. It also generates a heatmap for websites that gives data about where most people click, scroll, hover, and otherwise interact with websites. A downside of SmartLook is that it slows down your application with the added processes running in the background.
What I like about it
  1. View your customer actions in a live way. The platform is easy to deploy without changing your code.
  2. Providing invaluable insight as to how users interact with our website, landing pages, and sales funnels. It helps identify website issues on specific screen sizes.
The Google Mobile-Friendly Test is a tool that helps to find out how mobile-friendly Google thinks a website is. It measures how easily users can access, read, and navigate the site on mobile devices, gives a pass or fail result, and offers suggestions for improving inconsistencies if there are any. The Google Mobile-Friendly Test looks for issues such as flash player usage, viewport issues, horizontal scrolling, content scalability issues, unsuitable text or font, touch elements being too close, etc. that could otherwise prevent a website from loading quickly and evenly across a wide range of devices and signal conditions.
What I like about it
  1. Google Mobile-Friendly Test makes sure that the websites are mobile-friendly for Google and can be seen on modern devices.
  2. Very useful to make sure that your SEO efforts are not being penalized by Google.
Firebase Crashlytics reports app crashes in realtime by tracking, prioritizing, and fixing stability issues that interfere with the quality of an application. Crashlytics minimizes troubleshooting time by grouping the crashes and highlighting the circumstances that lead up to the particular crash. It finds out if a particular crash is impacting a lot of users of the application. It also alerts the developers when an issue suddenly increases in severity. It allows the developer to figure out which lines of code are causing the crashes.
It does require a small code snippet that needs to be put by the developer.
What I like about it
  1. No need to recreate events that led to an application crash. Crashlytics automatically logs the error details and sends them to the central portal.
  2. The dashboard makes it very easy to identify devices or app versions that have been facing issues over a specific period.
  3. The go to platform to build/run up-to-date apps without crashing.
Lighthouse is an open-source, automated SaaS tool created by Google that is used to test the quality of web pages, specifically for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). Lighthouse tests web pages against performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO in accordance with the audits built in.
What I like about it
  1. Lighthouse is available as chrome plugin and provides actions to take to improve site performance.
  2. I find it to be the best tool to test progressive web apps.
PageSpeed Insights is a tool offered by Google which analyzes the content of a web page to generate suggestions that can help to make that page load quicker. Reducing page load times can reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates. A word of caution that the score for your website cannot be a perfect 100. 80+ score is a sign of a very good website.
What I like about it
  1. Similar to Lighthouse but more focus on loading speed for mobile and desktop websites.
  2. It provides insights on how to improve user experience, accessibility, and performance. Improving Page Speed can boost rankings on Google tremendously.
GTmetrix is a tool that allows you to take a comprehensive look at the technical report of a website. One can see the data size of a page to get an idea of its load time. It also allows us to check if the site is using caching, scaled images, if scripts are minified and/or in-line and the list goes on to address about 25 different parameters.
GTmetrix can also be used for speed optimization. Along with checking the aforementioned parameters, one can also look at the Waterfall to see the order in which assets are loading on the page and how long each one takes.
What I like about it
  1. GTmetrix ensures a fast load time of websites for clients. GTmetrix is great to know where the site is lagging and how to improve the site to load quickly. Some areas are more important than others and the breakdown from the report is perfect to prioritize the areas for improvement.
  2. The interface is easy to understand and use. The information that is produced from scanning a URL is well organized and well presented.
Figma is a design platform that helps to create and manage website and application prototypes that can easily be shared via links. The collaborators can then comment, record and share their experiences. The highlights of Figma are presentations, prototype creation, wireframing, planning, and feedback management.
What I like about it
  1. You can quickly prototype full sites or small CRO changes with the added ability to update on the fly i.e. you can push changes live to anyone viewing live.
  2. Figma is a great tool to present work, concept and ideas with non-design stakeholders. It allows them to envision what their product could look like once developed, without having to pay for the development. It is great for MVP creation.
Dareboost is an online website performance testing and analysis platform that analyzes the performance, speed, and functionality of websites. It distinctly picks apart metrics and indicators to show the root cause of a website’s slow down. It then delivers insights that one could use to remedy these problems, resulting in faster load speeds, smooth navigation, and better browsing experience. It is similar to functionality of Google Insights and GT Metrix.
Dareboost helps to enhance the performance of any website or online application and boosts its SEO efforts, further amplifying its visibility on the internet.
What I like about it
  1. The monitoring part allows you to track several pages at once and compare them side by side.
  2. One of the coolest features it has is that you can customize network and device preferences, so you can simulate different devices with certain network speed and test its behavior in various possible scenarios.
An alternative to SmartLook, Hotjar is designed to visualize how users engage with a website. It includes both analytics and the collection of feedback from users. With the help of heatmaps of visitor’s clicks and actions, their session recordings, and words from surveys and feedback polls, Hotjar creates a report of what people are using a site for, and how they’re interacting with it. The key feature of Hotjar is that it combines a range of essential analytical functionalities with user feedback tools on a single platform.
It is an alternative to SmartLook that I have mentioned above. A downside of Hotjar is that it slows down your application with the added processes running in the background.
What I like about it
  1. Hotjar helps you make data-driven decisions about the website as well as your services and products.
  2. It gives a great insight into where users go mostly on your website, in addition to Google Analytics. The data can be used by marketing and website development teams to make adjustments
I use UsabilityHub to find and schedule testing participants. Many times you are not able to find candidates to participate and give feedback about the product. The platform has a community of real users segregated by location, profile, age and many other factors. You can choose the target audience and push your product for real users to participate and answer questions on how they use your product.
What I like about it
  1. Preference tests available where you can help user navigate based on choices
  2. Click test and five second tests are a great way to learn about home page and navigation usage
SEMrush offers solutions for SEO, PPC, content, social media and competitive research all at one place. By setting up SEMRush you can start testing content decision, performance of keywords, rankings and also track competitors
What I like about it
  1. Pretty comprehensive so one gets everything at one place. Especially, I love campaign management and competitor analysis.
  2. Custom reporting helps me get parameters that I want to track weekly in my inbox.
Codegrip is a cloud-based SaaS tool for code review and software analytics. It helps programmers to improve their code quality by identifying issues and bugs of their code which may affect the project’s performance, efficiency, etc. It also detects security vulnerabilities as early as possible in the software development life cycle with just one click.
Codegrip makes it easier for users to manage code duplications. It informs the user about the duplicity percentage in the code along with duplicated blocks, files, and line numbers. It also provides an estimation of how much time should it take to fix the bugs. This allows the user to plan their code correction periods accurately.
What I like about it
  1. Codegrip integrates with your development pipeline giving automatic updates on your Slack channel.
  2. You can customize your test parameters.
Canva helps you create beautiful designs with your team. With drag and drop feature, you can get almost 90% of your design needs covered.
What I like about it
  1. There is a template for just everything and they are beautiful AF.
  2. Easy to set resolutions, screen size and collaborate with others.
Postman is an application used for interacting with HTTP APIs. It offers a platform for constructing and testing API requests and reading responses. It is a development tool which helps to build, test and modify APIs. It can make various types of HTTP requests. It also saves environments for later use and converts the API to code for various programming languages.
What I like about it
  1. Postman is very user friendly and also helps in developing, debugging, and publishing APIs. Postman helps developers to create a workspace and save all requests.
  2. It helps in creating API structures by allowing you to save responses for a callout request and debug all your APIs via postman, smoothly and easily.
CrossBrowserTesting is a browser testing tool that provides an array of manual and simulated website testing services on more than 1,500 devices and browsers. Developers use it to check whether their websites are rendering properly across the board. CrossBrowserTesting provides a detailed analysis of how well the end product functions, ensuring better quality and more consistent user experience across all platforms.
What I like about it
  1. The ease of testing the site over all the different browsers and devices. It is simple to use and the automation capabilities are outstanding if you are limited on time.
  2. It has several OS/Browser combinations and the ability to run headless browser testing. CBT is a value for money when compared to other comparable services.
Selenium is an open-source and portable Web testing Framework that provides a playback and record feature for authoring tests without the need of learning a programming language. It is a cloud-based testing platform that helps testers to export the recordings of their actions as a reusable script with an easy to understand interface.
Tools that any non tech founder can use to manage their Tech Product development
What I like about it
  1. It is helpful in automating tests for web-based applications
  2. Simple code required to make most tests.
  3. Selenium is one of the best tools available in the market to match all your web testing needs. It’s free and virtually has no limit on the number of parallel tests that can be executed.
Appium is an open-source tool used for User Interface and functional testing of mobile apps. Native, hybrid and web application testing is permitted on physical gadgets as well as on simulators.. It also features cross-platform application testing across Android and iOS platforms.
What I like about it
  1. Appium is well suited when you need to write automation tests with low costs. It’s very simple to start, configure and run.
  2. It doesn’t depend on the application platform and is portable to many programming languages like Java, Ruby, etc.
  3. If you have a team of developers and you want to increase the code coverage without breaking sweat, Appium is your best choice.
  4. If you want a full-featured suite of interface tests using a language other than Swift for iOS projects, Appium is second to none.
Mixpanel is a software tool which provides a simple interface to carry out A/B testing on your product. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method of testing variations of web pages, app interfaces, ads, or emails. A/B Testing is critical for designing likeable and seamless products. A working mobile app that has the latest version of Mixpanel installed is all that is required. Additionally the data collected can be used as an input for machine learning and analytics as well.
What I like about it
  1. Once you apply it to your events, it shows you which choices your audience are aligning with.
  2. Helps you track and understand user behavior and make important business decisions about what you should do more of, what’s working and what isn’t.
Loadrunner is a SaaS tool that is used to test applications and measure their system behaviour and performance under load. It can generate a simulation where thousands of users use an application concurrently. This simulation is recorded and analyzed to observe the operation of key features of the application.
What I like about it
  1. LoadRunner is well suited where you need to create several virtual users for testing an application’s performance. It’s one of the best tools for application performance testing.
  2. Monitoring and analysis interface is user-friendly, thus providing the users with the application health and status quickly.
AWS Device Farm is an application testing tool that tests and interacts with mobile and web applications hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Its features include Automated App Testing that allows one to upload their tests or use built-in, script-free compatibility tests and Remote Access Interaction that allows one to swipe, gesture, and interact with a device via web browsers in real-time.
What I like about it
  1. AWS device farm provides you the ability to test your application or software on multiple devices with different configurations of hardware and OS.
  2. Almost all of its things are fully automated but if a tester requires manual interaction then it is available too.
  3. Device farm provides you the platform to deploy multiple devices with different configurations on the cloud and have your app tested in almost all OS and environments.
Since many tools overlap in functionality, Here is a summary categorizing the different tools.

Download The Complete Tool List With Links Here

Conclusion

A word of caution- Not all tools are to be used together. This is a recommended list out of which you can pick and choose from after discussing with your advisors/tech team.
I believe that these are some of the key tools that every non-tech founder must familiarise themselves with to gain a deeper insight into the technical aspects of the product they’re developing. These tools make you contribute further into your product development and make the right choices. For optimization and recommendation tools, it is very important to take the test results as “indicators” not as an absolute checklist of everything that must be done. Some things may not be worth the effort. But at least they all give you a starting point to know where to start with and be an active participant in your product journey.

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20 Tools That Any Non Tech Founder Can Use To Manage Their Tech Product Development
Ayush Jain
Ayush Jain is the CEO of Mindbowser Global Inc., an agency based primarily in the USA. Mindbowser offers software development services and solutions for industries across all verticals. Some of their clients include renowned companies such as Dell and Pepsi as well as numerous startups across the globe. Ayush is also the director of the StartupGrind community and an editor of theiotmagazine.com and chatbotsjournal.com. Ayush also holds positions on the board of several startups and is an enthusiastic seed investor.
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