We all know what UX is, so there is no point in preaching about the definitions and the fundamentals of the user interface (UI) or user experience design (UXD) for that matter. Nonetheless, at its core, the soul of UX lies in putting the user on the fastest path to satisfaction.
It is said that the very reason user experience emerged was that it was meant to compensate and accommodate for poor product management practices. As designers transitioning from their core fields to become product managers grow in number, we realize that a traditional product manager is someone who is not required anymore, so much so that in a few years there won’t be any classical product owners or managers left. Yet nowadays, companies are willing to sanction paychecks for both the product manager and the UX designer so as to give the production and design teams a sense of completion.
Most UX designers turned product managers have been fascinated with the “why” of the product just as much as the “how”. An alternative way of saying this would be that problem-setting is just as important to the designers as problem-solving, and yet for typical reasons asking and answering questions has always been the job of the product managers.
A Typical Week
Most designers don’t have a routine for their weeks, and even if they do, the major chunk has to remain unscheduled. Designers have around 2 to 4 hours dedicated to “deep work”, the time needed to concentrate without any distraction on a task which demands intense cognitive ability. As they lean more towards managerial tasks in product development, most designers need to have a proper schedule laid down to the last detail.
Making The To-Do List
Designers have a shorter To-Do list, only 2-4 items usually, and the items might include things like reviewing a page, creating a prototype, among other things. In most cases, the list remains the same throughout the day, and the tasks are done in order.
As one becomes the product manager, an ever-growing to-do list is created with tasks having dynamic priorities.
Designers are usually members of both the product and design teams. The product, the engineering involved, and the design, all need to work coherently so as to create a viable product architecture. As with the design teams, the designer sits next to his peers all day, and they have the room to allow ideas to bounce off. The whole product management spectrum is rewarding in itself as it has a varied and yet powerful impact on the success of a business and its customers.
In many companies, product management is considered to be a high profile role. One not only gets extensive exposure to senior leadership, but it also opens up more diverse career opportunities in senior management. It does not come without its challenges but, if the organization at hand offers strong leadership, and one is able to balance their attention, then the entire scenario can prove to be extensively beneficial to one’s career.
A designer who aims to become a product manager still needs to keep embracing UX expertise and still have command over their UX designer tools. A product manager may be considered as the Jack of all trades and a master of none. Interestingly enough, the major problem of any product manager is competing and balancing his and his company’s priorities. Whether they are trying to optimize a marketing program in Google Adwords or handling their design division, you can’t expect the product managers to be free.