Successful products are typically developed by multidisciplinary, visionary teams that have the competency to deliver the best experience to the discerning users. The teams mastering the art of crafting the most smooth user experience are able to acquire an edge over their competitors, and win over the market.
Creating a successful product is a team effort, including the aspects of both product management and user experience [UX] designing. The job of both the product manager and the UX designer tends to largely follow the given flow:
- Conduct research on the market and try to identify a problem that can be solved
- Focus on the relevant problem and deliver valuable insight based on it
- Try to find an appropriate solution for the problem
- Give shape to the idea and design a viable, realistic solution
- Deliver the ultimate product ( bring the product development team into the process)
Among all the duties mentioned above, it can be extremely difficult to identify the ones that solely fall under the domain of product managers or UX designers, as there is a large overlap present there. While there definitely are certain duties and responsibilities that fall entirely on the shoulders of product managers or UX designers, they do share a few common responsibilities. However, these common tasks often lead to conflicts as these professionals typically have a slightly different perception of how to complete those activities, depending on their distinct specializations. Hence, it becomes important that they let go of their own definitions of the job-in-hand for a bit, and try to collaborate instead.
**Focus on Skills rather than the Roles**
Product management and user-centric design specialist, Federico Selmi, mentions that one of the simplest ways to start building a good collaboration is to try and reframe the goals of the team similar to that of DevOps. He says that the teams should try and work towards generating superior business value, so that they focus on questions like “Do we collectively have the required skills to do this?”, rather than dwell upon “whose role is it to do this?”
When it comes to small and autonomous teams, having multi-skilled individuals to form cross-functional teams can be quite a prudent and efficient move. This factor would maximize the output the teams would be able to produce, and also provide a certain level of robustness to the group, in case one of its members becomes unavailable for a period. Another benefit of establishing the idea of cross-functional teams and shared skills is that ultimately, people tend to perform better when they are doing something they consider themselves to be superiorly skilled at. As a result, choosing to shift the mindset of individuals about what they can do can ultimately give a boost to the overall team performance.
Overcoming the product management and UX overlap, however, cannot be done by just reframing the sense of responsibility of the teams. To achieve proper collaboration, it is also imperative to give more emphasis on outcomes over outputs.
The output is basically the products produced by the company. It is straightforward in nature and easy to measure. Outcomes, on the other hand, underline the difference made to the business by a certain activity. While outcomes are a bit tricky to define and measure, they tend to provide a more meaningful measure of value for the business that fits more efficiently with cross-functional teams.
Ultimately it can be concluded that to ensure effective UX design and product management collaboration, job descriptions should be moved away from describing outputs. Instead of this, one should underline the value they expect a person to add to the project. These steps can help product managers and UX designers to work together as a well-oiled team, instead of getting worked up about their different work ideologies.