UX Hat — The Customer Advocate

This is the most familiar hat of a PM but is also one of the toughest. When you wear this hat you represent the customer while the rest of the teams represent themselves. You as a PM need to take a more holistic and empathetic approach towards understanding the problem that a customer faces and then craft a solution within the limitations of the business, along with planning for the future.

People often don’t understand or underestimate the importance of a PM and the design team working together. However, a PM is required to work with the UI/UX designers to bring your product or feature to the market. A PM describes the problem that the user is having and identifies ‘why’ solving that problem would be good for business. In a similar way, the UX designer solves the problem described by the PM and tries to find a solution based on expert knowledge and the research done on their users and their needs and see if it’s in sync with the business goals.

Apple is a great example where product management and user experience come together to create great products that are loved by users, that further keep business afloat. It is the second most valued company in the world after Amazon.

Now the questions are-

  • How do you create such an engagement in your products?
  • How do you achieve such a mind space in consumers?
  • How do you achieve such a tremendous level of success?

It is your perseverance as a PM to create something unique that your customers will fall in love with. You can do that if you can identify with them in their shoes. Once you are in their shoes you start relating with them, once you start relating with them you begin figuring out their problems. Once you start figuring out their problems, you start advocating for the solution.

Identify with users (Wear their shoes) → Relate to Users→ Figure Out the problems → Advocate for solution (Graphic) → Create UI/ UX → Tech team

When you craft a solution with the UI/UX designers for the identified problem, you are required to convey the paint-points of the user so that the crafted solution is hassle-free. Does this mean the PM should be an expert in creating a great UI? Not necessarily. Even a rough scribble on a paper would work. You should actually take a step back and let the design team take control of minute elements while you focus on the overall experience. Your UI/UX team would have done their customer research and would have a deeper knowledge of which colour, font etc., must be used.

You want to create something that your customer needs, wants and desires, and you also want to create something that is a step ahead of your competitor’s product. Guess what, your competitor is doing exactly the same.

In the end, creating a great UI and UX with the design team is not merely sufficient. For the same UI and UX to be developed and delivered to your customers, you must communicate with your development team and give them feedback, like what’s the best approach to find a solution, how to make the process easy, frictionless and delightful, well within a timeline and resource constraints.

A Tip (if you wish to take it): Expertise, exposure and customer data will help you devise features more naturally. It will further let your peers help you with solutions.


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