How to Best Work with Product Designers as a Product Manager

Last updated: 2022-08-05

Problem Statement

Some Product Managers (PMs) lack a nuanced understanding of Product Design disciplines, provide direction & feedback to Product Designers in unhelpfully limiting ways, and fail to build an effective partnership with Product Designers.

In this article I provide guidance on how PMs can effectively collaborate with and empower their Product Designers to design delightful customer experiences.

Before we can have a meaningful conversation about how to work with Product Designers, we first have to level set on what they do. If you’re already knowledgeable about Product Design disciplines, feel free to skip ahead to the tips & advice.

What Product Designers Do

Product Designers integrate multiple design disciplines, including:

  1. Information Architecture (IA)
  2. Interaction Design (ID)
  3. Content Strategy (CS)
  4. Visual Design (VD)

Image by Firmbee from PixabayThese disciplines are intentionally listed with IA first and VD last. We’ll unpack each discipline in detail.

“Product Design” has become an increasingly popular term in recent years, but before that UI Design, UX Design, and CX Design — i.e. User Interface Design, User Experience Design, and Customer Experience Design — were more commonly used. We’ll talk about the distinctions between UX and UI later. My gut feeling is with the growing emphasis on the word “product” that “Product Design” will continue to gain prominence.

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