Last week, a product manager from a popular brand had a few questions on Slack:
How are UX designers and Product Managers connected? Do their duties overlap, if so how do you resolve conflicts?
“There is a great deal of overlap between PMs and UX, with only slightly different objectives and focus.”
We had a nice long discussion on the topic, and this question is not uncommon on both sides of the issue, as I get the same question from UX professionals. There is a great deal of overlap between PMs and UX, with only slightly different objectives and focus. Both want to create products that users love, and both represent the customer in the product life cycle. While UX professionals can often be hyper-focused on the experience and why a user behaves the way they do, a PM is taking in the big picture and understanding the internal and external factors, constraints, risks, business and marketing objectives that impact a product and end user. That being said, UX and PMs should work very close together. I would argue closer than most other product team members, as user research will heavily inform priority and roadmap (or OKRs).
“A good PM should build that bridge and gain the trust of the UX team…”
Regarding “resolving conflicts,” there should be no conflicts on a mature team, as we are all working toward the same goal. There should be symmetry and alignment. A good PM should build that bridge and gain the trust of the UX team, just as they do with developers, marketing and the business. Likewise, UX should not feel threatened by PMs, but work to align their efforts and increase their influence and impact on priorities and the roadmap. I realize this is all pie-in-the-sky talk if you have an immature product team. In this instance, any systemic or unproductive issues would need to be addressed before any real progress can be made.
In an article I wrote on Design Leadership, I discuss the importance of always being a diplomat to build alliances and relationships. This is one of those relationships that is pinnacle to the health and growth of a product team, the product and user outcomes. I’ll try to address this topic in more detail in a future article, but I hope this brings to light a common issue that is still unclear to product teams and the business.
written by Shane Close, originally appearing here