February 9

Working with Designers — Succeeding by Understanding How They Work

An open letter to product managers: from a UX designer. Raymond Galang had a disappointing experience once when he was thrown under the bus by his product manager. After the CEO questioned the work, instead of standing by the UX work Raymond had completed the PM quickly blamed the problem on a poor design decision. To avoid this happening to others, Raymond pleads to PMs to follow these rules — own the strategy, give clear feedback and stay strong in the face of criticism.

How to align UX with product management. There can be a natural conflict between the work of the Product Manager and UX designer. In fact, much of the work done in UX can and should often be done by the PM. However, many teams have both roles and it’s important that they work efficiently together. To do so, the PM must avoid abusing their authority, making the designer their bitch (their words) and designing the product around their needs, not the user.

How to work with designers. To work with designers, you must understand their motivations, beliefs, and ways of working. Of course, these will change depending on the individual, but there are some common things that Product Managers can be aware of. Examples of these, as explained by Julie Zhuo, are keeping a focus on user’s qualitative needs instead of purely looking at metrics, understanding that there are different types of designers who are suitable for different types of jobs and that designers really appreciate attention to detail and will savor working with PMs that think in the same way.

Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 20 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on in the exclusive Member Hub, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly newsletters that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


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