Is this product good enough/ready to ship? Since PMs are responsible for getting products out the door successfully and on-time, they have a natural incentive to push for aggressive milestones so they can ship and then iterate quickly. Since designers are incentivized to produce the very best user experience they can, they prefer to have more time on the design, implementation and polish stages. Taken to the extreme, neither of these are reasonable positions. Nobody wants to ship something tomorrow that’s shitty. Nobody wants to spend 10 years designing the perfect registration flow. Real impact is made by shipping something good in a timely manner. (Most people get this, and the actual debate is about what, precisely, constitutes good and what constitutes timely, but for some reason the argument often devolves into these unproductive extreme caricatures). So, what can you do to resolve this? You can explain your position calmly and rationally. You can do an analysis of what you stand to lose or gain by delaying the launch. You can agree to escalate to an authoritative decision-maker. You can get opinions from other people that both of you trust (my favorite method.) You can do some user testing, vet out whether anyone’s assumptions are wrong. On the whole, if you work with reasonable people, even if this disagreement comes up again and again, it’s not that big of a problem.
Quantitative data tells you WHAT is or isn’t happening. Qualitative data helps you better understand WHY it is or isn’t happening. As the diagram shows, it’s not about any particular extreme but rather a balance along with your gut feeling. The best product designers find that balance between all of the inputs they have, and create clear, compelling experiences through the fog of data and insights.
As a designer, I thought that showing you’re in control and that you know your stuff was the only way to be successful. My quest for perfectionism has rendered me inadequate to collaborate with other designers. Unable to let go of my vision, I push out people so I can work on every little detail myself. But that’s just crazy. You can’t achieve amazing things just by yourself. There’s this proverb that explains it better: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, bring others.”