Product Management and UX (User Experience) are two well established but ever evolving disciplines in their own rights, but there are definite crossovers between the two. This can lead to conflict and confusion. But when done well, magic can happen. In this talk, Melanie reviews the differences between the disciplines, the benefits of making this relationship work, and most importantly, how to make it work.
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A Data-Driven Product Manager
Passionate and driven, Melanie McKay has enjoyed working in Product for over 12 years across a variety of sectors and products. She enjoys working with businesses to understand their users, data and business goals to find the best solutions to problems and find new opportunities. Using data to drive decisions, she has empowered her teams to draw on their expertise and feel true owners of their solutions. Currently, she is working as a Product Leader at Rightmove.
UX and Product Leadership: Key Concepts
Before discussing the ways in which UX can be integrated with the product, Melanie discusses Product Leadership and what it means to the company.
Product Leadership is not just about influencing people and taking them on a journey but is also about having difficult conversations and making hard decisions. More often, Product Leaders are expected to know every single aspect of the product but that is not necessary. The key thing to efficient Product Leadership is to strike a balance between influencing people and building the right solution.
Then, she discusses UX and why it is important for a product. As stated by Tomer Sharon, UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions through product interactions. It is a huge discipline in itself and not just about the front-end or the colors involved. It is more about customer behavior and engagement.
Once you are convinced that UX is a whole discipline by itself, it is important to recognize how to apply it to product.
If you don’t have a UX team, building one can help catapult you to create a successful product. You must also identify who the users of your product are and segment them accordingly. This will help you categorize your users and customise the features accordingly. An interesting learning that Melanie has had in her experience is that – “You are 100% not a user of your own product”.
Melanie also suggests using experience maps that not only help you look at the problems but also help you identify the low-hanging fruits. An experience map is a visualization of an entire end-to-end experience that a “generic” person goes through in order to accomplish a goal.
An Experience Map
It is also really important for PMs to set a benchmark based on the capacity of their teammates, and knowing exactly what they do. Once you identify your users, draw experience maps and set a benchmark, it will be easier for you to work towards the problem statement.
If you’re working with a new UX team, stick your experience map on the notice board and invite feedback/suggestions. Start with trust and respect and accept the fact that your UX team members have their own ideas and expertise. Also, invest some time in understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Understanding your users is key
- There’s room for both disciplines
- Have a UX team? Start with trust and respect
- Don’t have a UX team? That’s ok, you can still employ UX techniques