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User Experience and Product Management: Two Peas in the Same Pod? Jeff Lash STL>UX 2006

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Presentation on theme: "User Experience and Product Management: Two Peas in the Same Pod? Jeff Lash STL>UX 2006"— Presentation transcript:

1 User Experience and Product Management: Two Peas in the Same Pod? Jeff Lash STL>UX 2006

2 What is user experience?

3 What is product management?

4 UXPM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

5 Job Posting #1 “You must enjoy spending time in the market to understand (customers’) problems” Product Manager (sample from

6 Job Posting #2 “Understanding user wants, needs and expectations... Working with the Customer Insights department to plan, execute and analyze quantitative and qualitative research... Defining user requirements” Manager, Usability and Information Architecture (Circuit City)

7 Job Posting #3 “Lead researching, understanding and passionately advocating target customer requirements, defining feature sets, and developing and communicating product requirements.” Senior Product Manager (Adobe)

8 Job Posting #4 “Define product requirements and plans that meet the strategic goals of the business. Propose and lead appropriate project definition activities. Work with project team members to define discovery methods to be used, including competitive audits, user research, user scenarios, etc.” Information Architect, Site and Marketing (

9 Job Posting #5 “Specifying market requirements for current and future products by conducting market research supported by on-going visits to customers and non-customers.” Product Manager (sample from

10 Job Posting #6 “Gather user and market insights, analyze product metrics, articulate requirements, and launch new features … Define global product requirements, including writing scope requests, product requirements documents (PRDs)” Senior Product Manager (eBay)

11 Job Posting #7 “Drive research & customer analysis … run consumer product advisory groups” Product Manager (Yahoo!)

12 Job Posting #8 “Understanding target audiences’ needs, tasks, and goals” User Experience Lead (Avenue A / Razorfish)

13 Job Posting #9 “You will be responsible for understanding the client interaction with the product and their work- flow. You will bring this understanding to the table and work closely with Sales, Marketing, Product Management and end users to help enhance the usability of our application.” Product Manager – Usability (Gridstone Research)

14 Job Posting #10 “Work directly with customers to understand their goals” Project Manager (Endeca)

15 UXPM 1 x 2x 3 x 4x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8x 9x x 10 neither, really

16 If product management is

17 … then we’re all

18 So what’s the difference?

19 When I describe what I do to people who have not encountered the term “interaction design” before, I say first that “I look at users’ needs, figure out what kind of product best addresses them, and create a behavior specification for that product which the development team then uses as requirements to drive their work.” Often people say, “In my organization, we call that a ‘product manager.’” Source: Where do product managers fit?; Jonathan Korman

20 Why the confusion + conflict? Resources –Often the appropriate resources are not available for research, design, and documentation, so Product Managers fill the role Skills –Many product manages have (or think they have) the skills to complete these tasks to some degree Control –Product Managers are ultimately accountable to the success of the product, while others often are not –Misplaced accountability can lead to micromanaging

21 How it should work Product Managers –Responsible for overall success of the product –Includes requirements and design, but also marketing, pricing, technical aspects, portfolio, etc. –“President” of the product User Experience Practitioners –Responsible for ensuring product is designed to meet users needs and be easy to use –Objective advocate for user needs and good design –Member of the product “Cabinet” (along with Marketing, Sales, Development, etc.)

22 Source: Putting people together to create new products; Jonathan Korman

23 So why doesn’t that always work?

24 Product Managers should: Be market-focused Conduct research with customers and users Create a product and portfolio strategy Manage product roadmap and lifecycle Create and manage requirements Develop a go-to-market plan Be more strategic than tactical

25 Instead, Product Managers often: Are internally-focused Don’t conduct research themselves (if at all) Don’t create a product or portfolio strategy Focus on the short-term plan Create and manage specifications Throw information over the wall to Marketing Are more tactical than strategic

26 User Experience Practitioners should: Understand business context Clarify roles and responsibilities and drive for understanding with team members Advocate for a user centered process but understand other factors involved Focus on end goals and how deliverables can help achieve those goals

27 Instead, UX practitioners often: Ignore, do not care about, or are not interested in business context Assume others understand the UX roles, responsibilities, and deliverables Only focus on the “ideal” UCD process and do not acknowledge other forces at work Focus more on deliverables and process than the end product

28 How can UX work better with PMs? Take the initiative – don’t wait to be asked Make strong recommendations Help PMs understand decisions they need to make and help them make them Seek to understand the “big picture” – market, competition, sales process, strategy, etc. Don’t divide user needs and business needs -- these should be one in the same Get them out of the office to meet with users! Ask Product Managers, “How can I help you meet your goals?”

29 So you want to be a Product Manager?

30 StrategicTactical Single Discipline Multiple Disciplines Product Manager CEO C-level functional managers (e.g. CFO, CTO) UI Designer Software Architect UCD Manager Software Developer Business Analyst Project Manager User Researcher

31 What you’ll get to do Focus product strategy on customer and end user needs Help ensure user focus throughout entire product – not just the design, but communications, policies – the entire “customer experience” Work with marketing, sales, and other stakeholders to effectively communicate unique benefits of your product Have opportunity to provide input on strategies for other products within the organization

32 What you’ll have to do Attempt to influence and coordinate people over whom you have no actual (read: org chart) power Mediate disputes between stakeholders Make and justify tough decisions, which invariably will upset many key allies Communicate with upper management and be accountable for product decisions

33 What you won’t get to do Pore over the details of a design Make recommendations Pass the buck Blend in to the scenery Answer with “It depends…”

34 Product Management Resources Blogs –CauvinCauvin –Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users –Jeremy Zawodny's blogJeremy Zawodny's blog –Managing Product DevelopmentManaging Product Development –Michael on High-Tech Product Management & MarketingMichael on High-Tech Product Management & Marketing –Pragmatic MarketingPragmatic Marketing –Requirements DefinedRequirements Defined –Silicon Valley Product GroupSilicon Valley Product Group –The Product Management ViewThe Product Management View –Tyner BlainTyner Blain More reading –Where do product managers fit?Where do product managers fit? – Organizations –Product Development and Management Association (PDMA)Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) –Association of International Product Marketing and Product Management (AIPMM)Association of International Product Marketing and Product Management (AIPMM)

35 Broaden your horizons

36 Closing thought… A good product requires a good user experience. And a good user experience requires the close collaboration of product management and design. Source: Product vs. Design; Silicon Valley Product Group

37 Questions? Jeff Lash STL>UX 2006

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