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Product managers and UX teams are “two sides of the same coin on whom the success (or failure) of a product rests. However, getting along with UX professionals can pose challenges for product managers.” Because the responsibilities of the two roles can overlap, product managers may “find themselves wishing that UXers would just stick to making UIs look good, and UX professionals wish that product managers would stick to ‘management stuff’.” Cassandra Naji describes the benefits for product managers to work with UX professionals and provides some tips to help you realize those benefits. (via @CassieNaji)
Sometimes product managers can improve their working relationship with designers by improving the relationship between designers and developers. Sebastian Lindemann shares the story of how a comment made during his team’s retrospective focused on improving the collaboration between designers and developers led to the development of a new collaboration tool for his team. The DevSigner Checklist helped Sebastian’s team “improve the efficiency in our product development process by helping designers and developers clarify critical questions early.” (via @S_Lindemann)
“Designers and Product Managers work best together when they understand how to work together. Autonomy and freedom in solution thinking are baseline starting points for designers to do good work. Product Managers can help by uniting the team and conveying the importance of good design and making the user experience a priority.” Jess Eddy explains what designers want from product managers so that they can work together well. (via @jesseddy)
“The product manager-product designer duo can be particularly guilty of contention thanks to high-stress scenarios and major product decisions. If you’re a PM finding tension in your relationship with your design team, you might not be communicating with your designers enough.” Roadmunk chatted with six product designers to “find out the most enjoyable and not-so-enjoyable parts of working with a PM, and the communication strategies they think PMs should implement to reduce friction with their designers. Advice from these designers ranges from defining the heck out of your problem, to looking beyond direct competitors for design ideas, to squashing design assumptions by interacting with real-live users.” (via @RoadmunkApp, @cattsmall @alvinhsia @lydiawwwhite @jankowarpspeed @ssktanaka @uxdiogenes)
As a product manager at a tech company, your responsibility is to ship value to your customers but you don’t have any direct authority over most of what makes a product successful. How do you live up to your responsibility without any formal authority? “You build relationships with the people on your team. You learn when to rely on people’s opinions, and when to double-check. You work hard so people know they can trust you to do a good job. In short, you embrace your lack of authority and lead your team to take the right product decisions.” Sebastien Phlix shares 6 lessons he learned from working as a product manager at Typeform about how to work better with UX designers to build those relationships. (via @sebastienphl)
Last year, Product Collective’s very own Mike Belsito held a live video chat with Michael Sacca, his co-host for the top-rated product podcast, Rocketship.FM. In that chat, the two Michaels spent time talking about how product people can work best with developers, designers, and other critical members of the product team. You can watch the full chat here.
If you’re going to give feedback to the designers you work with (or anyone really), make sure it is specific, actionable feedback. Bill Skeet gives you some advice on how to give proper feedback on a design. Hint: “I like your design” is not it.
To work effectively with designers you need to balance that fine line between being able to carry on a meaningful conversation and not stepping on anyone’s toes. Harish Venkatesan identifies the 4 design skills that every product manager should have that will let them maintain that balance.
When trying to figure out how to work with someone, it’s always good to see things from their perspective. Adhithya Kumar describes the methodology he uses to design with more intent that’s based on his experience working with several product managers. Along the way, he sheds some light on the designer – product manager relationship.
Romy Misra spoke with Erik D. Kennedy a self-taught designer and former product manager at Microsoft about how product managers can work effectively with designers. One key point: “the best feedback is about problems, not solutions.