Product Managers and UX Designers work to achieve some common goals. They aim to understand the needs of their users and deliver innovative and memorable experiences through their products that fulfill those needs. Product Managers aim to continuously improve their products according to the changing trends and tastes of their users. A lot depends on UX designers in the pursuit of these goals. And for these reasons, it is essential for Product Managers, who work with UX designers closely, to understand UX design.
A lot of our students are Product Managers. They take up our course to learn design thinking and better understand how UX Designers work. This knowledge helps Product Managers prepare better workflows and collaborate more confidently with their colleagues in the various stages of the UX process.
- The Role of a Product Manager
- Product Manager Skills
- From Inside-Out to Outside-In Approach
- Working with UX Designers
- Everyday UX for Product Managers
- UX Foundation for Product Management
The Role of a Product Manager
Product Managers play a crucial role in the design, development and management of an organization’s products. They decide on how to deliver their products and act as a bridge between the different departments to achieve their objectives.
Product Managers collaborate with the marketing, sales, client service, management and tech teams to conduct market research and customer analysis, identify the value they can offer, create prototypes, test product usability and create avenues for customer feedback that will help them improve their products further.
Product Managers are visionaries. They have definite goals for their products and plans to achieve them. They are masterful communicators and effective leaders, who can coordinate and manage multiple teams working together. They are intuitive in discerning not only the needs of their users, but also those of the stakeholders and balance these expectations.
Product Manager Skills
Product Managers need to be quick thinkers to make decisions. They should also be adaptable. If a goal isn’t working out or a feature isn’t receiving positive feedback, they should have the courage to change things for better results.
Product Management is an attitude more than a job. It’s like being a Sherpa on an expedition, who decides on the routes to take, fixes ropes in place for others to use, carries everything that is necessary along the way and enjoys this process. They also know the terrain their climbing well, have a good sense of the people they are with (their abilities), and show enthusiasm to drive the expedition.
Product Managers drive the delivery of their products and must have the motivation to continuously improve the experiences they deliver through them. They are the Sherpas, who take products to the top of the market.
From Inside-Out to Outside-In Approach
Traditionally, products were made by companies, who revealed it to potential users with the goal to wow them. This was the inside-out approach. However, now companies produce products by taking the opposite route.
Rather than hoping to wow their customers, they want to rely on them for information that can help create better products and meet more user needs. The approach of relying on user insights to better design products is clearly more practical and it has brought UX design to the forefront of the process.
Working with UX Designers
The responsibility of delivering good products and experiences is generally shared by the product manager, UX designer and the engineering head. With the former two playing a big role towards this goal, organizations try to maintain a 1:1 ratio of Product Managers to UX Designers so that they can effectively communicate with each other and achieve the results that the organization desires.
For Product Managers to truly help UX Designers in this collaboration, they must be at least familiar with the principle of design thinking and UX design. Without this knowledge, their feedback will have little to offer.
Conversely of course, UX Designers need to better learn from Product Managers about their users’ expectations and the limitations of technical implementation for them to create practical solutions.
Everyday UX for Product Managers
Product Managers really cannot do without UX. It’s become an integral part of their everyday responsibilities and mindsets. They cannot help but look at their products from their users’ perspectives using the outside-in approach. And the challenge is to get others on their team to start looking this way for better cohesion and understanding of goals. Products will have better design if their developers, designers and managers all understood what their users require.
With UX thinking, Product Managers can focus on the right problems to solve for their users and save time by ignoring the others. They can reduce the chances of creating a product that fails and even minimize the number of re-dos on certain product features.
With a better understanding of UX design, Product Managers can ensure that growth of their users, maintain satisfaction and retain them for a longer period. Furthermore, it helps them discuss wireframes and mock-ups for new features more clearly with UX designers and other team members.
UX Foundation for Product Management
UX design acts as a solid foundation for any Product Manager to build their careers on. Given that organizations are more user-centric and that they rely on UX designers at every stage of the product’s life cycle, Product Managers simply must understand the principles of UX design. There are plenty of crossovers between the two roles. In small organizations, knowledge of UX helps Product Managers play an even bigger role by assuming certain UX functions.
Product Managers also have to regularly make decisions pertaining to UX. It’s why most organizations now insist that the candidates that they hire should at least be well-versed with the UX language. The language helps Product Managers communicate with UX Designers better and also make quicker decisions on their own without always having to always rely on their colleagues.
Simply put, if you want to understand how the look of your product influences your customer’s perceptions of it and want to be able to alter it effectively to better meet their needs, you must know UX. Knowing UX will help you plan, design and implement your products better. It will also make your work easy by allowing you to speak more freely with your most important collaborator – the UX Designer.