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User Experience and  Product Management:  Two Peas in the Same Pod? Jeff Lash // STL UX 2011 These slides (with notes!) are online at  http://j.mp/ux-pm-stlux11
What is user experience?
What is product management?
  PM UX 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Job Posting #1 “ Understand and evangelize the needs of the Insight customer base and user community”
Job Posting #2 “ Develop creative plans for new product initiatives”
Job Posting #3 “ You should be someone who can bring consumer experience with user interaction and design, and the technical chops to design powerful discovery and recommendation tools”
Job Posting #4 “ Work closely with stakeholders across the product department and the company, including the CEO and VP of Product, to manage the product experience & technical roadmap and ensure the successful implementation of [company]’s vision”
Job Posting #5 “ Analyze and prioritize new feature requests”
Job Posting #6 “ Developing product personas that can be used to understand user needs”
Job Posting #7 “ Define product requirements focusing on customer efficiency and ease-of-use”
Job Posting #8 “ Work with world-class engineers to develop and launch new products and continuously improve existing products”
Job Posting #9 “ Identify use cases and communicate actionable requirements to developers”
Job Posting #10 “ Identify and define user needs”
Job Posting #1 “ Understand and evangelize the needs of the Insight customer base and user community” Sr. Product Manager (Adobe)
Job Posting #2 “ Develop creative plans for new product initiatives” Information Architect (Publisher's Clearing House)
Job Posting #3 “ You should be someone who can bring consumer experience with user interaction and design, and the technical chops to design powerful discovery and recommendation tools” Product Manager, Google TV User Experience (Google)
Job Posting #4 “ Work closely with stakeholders across the product department and the company, including the CEO and VP of Product, to manage the product experience & technical roadmap and ensure the successful implementation of [company]’s vision” Director of User Experience (Groupon)
Job Posting #5 “ Analyze and prioritize new feature requests” Product Manager (Lulu.com)
Job Posting #6 “ Developing product personas that can be used to understand user needs” Sr. Manager - Product Marketing (Charles Schwab)
Job Posting #7 “ Define product requirements focusing on customer efficiency and ease-of-use” Senior User Experience Designer (Fiserv)
Job Posting #8 “ Work with world-class engineers to develop and launch new products and continuously improve existing products” Product Manager (Indeed)
Job Posting #9 “ Identify use cases and communicate actionable requirements to developers” Technical Product Manager (CityGrid Media)
Job Posting #10 “ Identify and define user needs” Project Manager (FrontRange Solutions)
  PM UX 1 x   2   x 3 x 4   x 5 x   6 x*   7   x 8 x 9 x   10 neither, really
If product management is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:DVader.jpeg
…  then we’re all http://www.prlog.org/10335931-stormtrooper-costume.jpg
So what’s the difference?
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 http://www.cooper.com/journal/2004/09/where_do_product_managers_fit.html
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
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.)
Source: Putting people together to create new products; Jonathan Korman http://www.cooper.com/journal/2001/10/putting_people_together_to_cre.html
So why doesn’t that  always work?
Product Managers should: Be market-focused Conduct research with customers and users Create a product and portfolio strategy Manage product roadmap and lifecycle Identify and manage requirements Develop a go-to-market plan Be more strategic than tactical
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
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
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
The challenge is in the middle Where do you draw the line between Product Management and User Experience? Need Solution
Requirements vs. specifications A requirement is short statement of the problem * A specification is how to solve the problem * * Source: On Reqs and Specs: The Roles and Behaviors for Effective Product Definition http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/09/on-reqs-and-specs Product Management Engineering UX What How
Who does what? The  product manager   finds and quantifies market problems, articulating them in the form of requirements The  product architect  (or  designer )  writes a functional specification describing the approach to solving the problem The  product developer   creates a technical specification that fully describes how the functional specification will be implemented How What Source: On Reqs and Specs: The Roles and Behaviors for Effective Product Definition http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/09/on-reqs-and-specs
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?”
So you want to be a Product Manager?
Strategic Tactical 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
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
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 Respond to demands from upper management and be accountable for product decisions
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…”
Product Management Resources Articles / White Papers The Strategic Role of Product Management Where Do Product Managers Fit? Transitioning from User Experience to Product Management Blogs, Books, and other resources How to Be A Good Product Manager: Resources Local organizations St. Louis Product Management Group Product Development and Management Association (PDMA): St. Louis Chapter
Broaden your horizons
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 Management vs. Product Design http://www.svpg.com/product-management-vs-product-design/
Questions? These slides are online at http://j.mp/ux-pm-stlux11 www.goodproductmanager.com [email_address]

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User Experience and Product Management: Two Peas in the Same Pod?

  • 1. User Experience and Product Management: Two Peas in the Same Pod? Jeff Lash // STL UX 2011 These slides (with notes!) are online at http://j.mp/ux-pm-stlux11
  • 2. What is user experience?
  • 3. What is product management?
  • 4. PM UX 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • 5. Job Posting #1 “ Understand and evangelize the needs of the Insight customer base and user community”
  • 6. Job Posting #2 “ Develop creative plans for new product initiatives”
  • 7. Job Posting #3 “ You should be someone who can bring consumer experience with user interaction and design, and the technical chops to design powerful discovery and recommendation tools”
  • 8. Job Posting #4 “ Work closely with stakeholders across the product department and the company, including the CEO and VP of Product, to manage the product experience & technical roadmap and ensure the successful implementation of [company]’s vision”
  • 9. Job Posting #5 “ Analyze and prioritize new feature requests”
  • 10. Job Posting #6 “ Developing product personas that can be used to understand user needs”
  • 11. Job Posting #7 “ Define product requirements focusing on customer efficiency and ease-of-use”
  • 12. Job Posting #8 “ Work with world-class engineers to develop and launch new products and continuously improve existing products”
  • 13. Job Posting #9 “ Identify use cases and communicate actionable requirements to developers”
  • 14. Job Posting #10 “ Identify and define user needs”
  • 15. Job Posting #1 “ Understand and evangelize the needs of the Insight customer base and user community” Sr. Product Manager (Adobe)
  • 16. Job Posting #2 “ Develop creative plans for new product initiatives” Information Architect (Publisher's Clearing House)
  • 17. Job Posting #3 “ You should be someone who can bring consumer experience with user interaction and design, and the technical chops to design powerful discovery and recommendation tools” Product Manager, Google TV User Experience (Google)
  • 18. Job Posting #4 “ Work closely with stakeholders across the product department and the company, including the CEO and VP of Product, to manage the product experience & technical roadmap and ensure the successful implementation of [company]’s vision” Director of User Experience (Groupon)
  • 19. Job Posting #5 “ Analyze and prioritize new feature requests” Product Manager (Lulu.com)
  • 20. Job Posting #6 “ Developing product personas that can be used to understand user needs” Sr. Manager - Product Marketing (Charles Schwab)
  • 21. Job Posting #7 “ Define product requirements focusing on customer efficiency and ease-of-use” Senior User Experience Designer (Fiserv)
  • 22. Job Posting #8 “ Work with world-class engineers to develop and launch new products and continuously improve existing products” Product Manager (Indeed)
  • 23. Job Posting #9 “ Identify use cases and communicate actionable requirements to developers” Technical Product Manager (CityGrid Media)
  • 24. Job Posting #10 “ Identify and define user needs” Project Manager (FrontRange Solutions)
  • 25. PM UX 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x* 7 x 8 x 9 x 10 neither, really
  • 26. If product management is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:DVader.jpeg
  • 27. … then we’re all http://www.prlog.org/10335931-stormtrooper-costume.jpg
  • 28. So what’s the difference?
  • 29. 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 http://www.cooper.com/journal/2004/09/where_do_product_managers_fit.html
  • 30. 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
  • 31. 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.)
  • 32. Source: Putting people together to create new products; Jonathan Korman http://www.cooper.com/journal/2001/10/putting_people_together_to_cre.html
  • 33. So why doesn’t that always work?
  • 34. Product Managers should: Be market-focused Conduct research with customers and users Create a product and portfolio strategy Manage product roadmap and lifecycle Identify and manage requirements Develop a go-to-market plan Be more strategic than tactical
  • 35. 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
  • 36. 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
  • 37. 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
  • 38. The challenge is in the middle Where do you draw the line between Product Management and User Experience? Need Solution
  • 39. Requirements vs. specifications A requirement is short statement of the problem * A specification is how to solve the problem * * Source: On Reqs and Specs: The Roles and Behaviors for Effective Product Definition http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/09/on-reqs-and-specs Product Management Engineering UX What How
  • 40. Who does what? The product manager finds and quantifies market problems, articulating them in the form of requirements The product architect (or designer ) writes a functional specification describing the approach to solving the problem The product developer creates a technical specification that fully describes how the functional specification will be implemented How What Source: On Reqs and Specs: The Roles and Behaviors for Effective Product Definition http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/09/on-reqs-and-specs
  • 41. 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?”
  • 42. So you want to be a Product Manager?
  • 43. Strategic Tactical 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
  • 44. 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
  • 45. 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 Respond to demands from upper management and be accountable for product decisions
  • 46. 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…”
  • 47. Product Management Resources Articles / White Papers The Strategic Role of Product Management Where Do Product Managers Fit? Transitioning from User Experience to Product Management Blogs, Books, and other resources How to Be A Good Product Manager: Resources Local organizations St. Louis Product Management Group Product Development and Management Association (PDMA): St. Louis Chapter
  • 49. 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 Management vs. Product Design http://www.svpg.com/product-management-vs-product-design/
  • 50. Questions? These slides are online at http://j.mp/ux-pm-stlux11 www.goodproductmanager.com [email_address]

Editor's Notes

  1. Welcome to the notes view! Hope you enjoy this look behind the scenes Background UX for ~5 years Moved into product management ~5 years ago When I started in my role, my UCD colleagues asked me 2 things Tell us how we can work better with product managers Tell us what it’s like on “the dark side” Can we move over to the dark side?
  2. I’m not going to even to try and define this; you know what it is Includes everything related to the user experience – user research, information architecture, user-centered design, interaction design, usability testing, etc.
  3. Will get into the details in a bit For now – product manager is someone who manages a product What is a product? Anything can be a product – website, intranet, software, hardware
  4. Everyone should have a printout that looks like this I’m going to show you 10 job postings – just excerpts from the job postings Your job is to put a checkbox in the column representing what type of job you think it is – a user experience / user-centered design job, or a product manager job Someone asked when I did a dry run of this presentation: can I check both? For each job posting, you can check one, both, or neither box My tip – just pick one The column on the right is to grade your scores later – I’ll trust you not to cheat and I’ll let you grade your own scores Any questions?
  5. Sr. Product Manager (Adobe) http://www.linkedin.com/jobs?viewJob=&jobId=1334160
  6. Information Architect (Publisher's Clearing House) http://hostedjobs.openhire.com/epostings/submit.cfm?fuseaction=app.dspjob&jobid=303718&company_id=15489&jobBoardId=1112
  7. Product Manager, Google TV User Experience (Google) http://www.google.com/intl/eo/jobs/uslocations/mountain-view/product/product-manager-google-tv-user-experience-mountain-view/index.html
  8. Director of User Experience (Groupon) http://www.groupon.com/jobs?nl=1&jvi=oWDCVfwQ,Job
  9. Product Manager (Lulu.com) https://jobs-lulu.icims.com/jobs/1137/job
  10. Sr. Manager - Product Marketing (Charles Schwab) http://www.applyhr.com/18626782
  11. Senior User Experience Designer (Fiserv) https://www4.recruitingcenter.net/Clients/fiservcareers/PublicJobs/controller.cfm?jbaction=JobProfile&Job_Id=32018&esid=az
  12. Product Manager (Indeed) http://hire.jobvite.com/CompanyJobs/Careers.aspx?k=Job&c=qOX9Vfwz&j=oJMAVfwK&s=IndeedSponsored
  13. Technical Product Manager (CityGrid Media) http://hire.jobvite.com/Jobvite/Job.aspx?j=ogDCVfwa&c=q5Y9VfwR
  14. Project Manager (Partners Consulting) http://jobs.partnersconsulting.com/bcsijobs.nsf/o/16331?OpenDocument
  15. Sr. Product Manager (Adobe) http://www.linkedin.com/jobs?viewJob=&jobId=1334160
  16. Information Architect (Publisher's Clearing House) http://hostedjobs.openhire.com/epostings/submit.cfm?fuseaction=app.dspjob&jobid=303718&company_id=15489&jobBoardId=1112
  17. Product Manager, Google TV User Experience (Google) http://www.google.com/intl/eo/jobs/uslocations/mountain-view/product/product-manager-google-tv-user-experience-mountain-view/index.html
  18. Director of User Experience (Groupon) http://www.groupon.com/jobs?nl=1&jvi=oWDCVfwQ,Job
  19. Product Manager (Lulu.com) https://jobs-lulu.icims.com/jobs/1137/job
  20. Sr. Manager - Product Marketing (Charles Schwab) http://www.applyhr.com/18626782
  21. Senior User Experience Designer (Fiserv) https://www4.recruitingcenter.net/Clients/fiservcareers/PublicJobs/controller.cfm?jbaction=JobProfile&Job_Id=32018&esid=az
  22. Product Manager (Indeed) http://hire.jobvite.com/CompanyJobs/Careers.aspx?k=Job&c=qOX9Vfwz&j=oJMAVfwK&s=IndeedSponsored
  23. Technical Product Manager (CityGrid Media) http://hire.jobvite.com/Jobvite/Job.aspx?j=ogDCVfwa&c=q5Y9VfwR
  24. Project Manager (Partners Consulting) http://jobs.partnersconsulting.com/bcsijobs.nsf/o/16331?OpenDocument
  25. Add up your scores No half-points – either it’s right or it’s wrong Slightly biased – took quotes out of context There are clearly differences, but not as much as you might think – this isn’t really as biased as it could have been This was a fun exercise, but it had a purpose (I hope) There’s a lot of overlap Confusion Lines aren’t clear You’re UX people and you’re confused – how do you think other people you work with feel? If you can’t clearly understand and articulate what you do and how it’s different from others, how can you expect them to?
  26. At the beginning I mentioned “the dark side” If product management is … really the dark side
  27. Then we’re all On the dark side How many of you work for a for-profit company? Your job is to make that company money Non-profits? Your job is to help that non-profit lose money as quickly as possible Just kidding It’s not “us vs. them” First, because I’m not on your side any more (that’s a joke) But hopefully from the examples you’ve seen the similarities between the two roles, the common objectives, the shared responsibility If you take only one thing out of this presentation, that’s what I want you to get out of it
  28. So if product managers and user experience practitioners really are doing similar things, what’s the difference?
  29. This is from a great article from Cooper, Alan Cooper’s company (formerly known as Cooper Interaction Design) Reinforces the confusion, doesn’t it? Incidentally, this is probably the best article I’ve read describing not just what product managers do, but how they work with user experience people
  30. Been trying to think about why there’s this confusion and conflict Part of it is probably lack of mutual understanding, but I think it’s more Resources How many of you have worked on a project that, prior to your involvement, had no user experience people working on it? What do you think they did without you? Do you really think that you’re that invaluable that they just sat around, praying that you’d come along? No! They probably did some research, design, specifications themselves Pragmatic Marketing likes to say: If product managers don’t do their jobs, the other departments will fill the void. Same applies in reverse – if user experience practitioners don’t do their job, or if there aren’t any, other departments will fill the void. Skills Lots of product managers do have the same skills that are required of user experience practitioners Again, user experience people like to think that their skills are unique, and that unless you’ve been blessed by the high priests, you can’t do user experience work To that I say: “Phooey!” Of course, lots of product managers don’t have these skills, and that’s a whole different subject I’ll get to in a minute Control This is a fun one How many of you user experience people are assigned to one single project – your job is specific to one product? How many work on multiple products? There should be shared accountability and aligned goals, but even in the best of cases there isn’t true alignment… and most cases are not the best of cases Product managers are – or should be, at least – held accountable Unfortunately, bad product managers can translate that gap into accountability into micromanaging. Since PMs are on the line, they feel the need to control everything. If one thing wasn’t exactly how they want it, they can say that it wasn’t their fault. Again, that’s just bad product management.
  31. So here’s how it should work Assumes that people are rational and intelligent, if only misinformed I think most are – I’m an optimist If people are irrational or unintelligent, there’s not much you can do Feel free to walk out now if I’ve disappointed you Product Managers Are responsible for the overall success of the product That includes the user experience parts of it, but also a whole lot else Good product managers are Presidents of their product Not dictators Not socialism Presidents have a cabinet, advisors, and the people – in this case, the market – decide whether they’re doing a good job or not User Experience Practitioners Not responsible for overall success, though they should be concerned with it just as the sales, marketing, engineering should be Should be an objective advocate – it’s good that they’re not tied to the product in a sense, and should be independent of the product manager Important member of the cabinet, but often forgotten – how many of you feel like there’s a product cabinet and you’re not a part of it?
  32. Ultimately, a product must be sellable, possible, and desirable User experience is responsible for that bottom circle Product managers sit in the middle – make sure those circles stay in balance Examples in About Face 2.0 of companies who have failed to find the balance Novell, strong in engineering Microsoft, strong in Marketing Apple, strong in Design This is how it should work
  33. So why doesn’t it always work that way? Not going to get to the root causes – that would take a whole hour… or a day… or maybe more But on the surface, why can’t we get this balance, specifically in how product managers work with UX folks?
  34. Here’s what product managers should do Every product management and development book or article I’ve found talks about the need to be market-focused, external-focused, not internal-focused. UX people know this – it’s about customers and users, not about what’s happening within the company This second point was a bit controversial with people – when you see this, do you feel like PMs are invading on your turf? First, PMs were doing research long before there were UX people Secondly, this doesn’t imply that PMs should do all research – just that they shouldn’t farm it all out. There’s need for dedicated researchers – in fact, good PMs will increase the need for customer research practitioners. But they shouldn’t sit in their office all day and never talk to customers either A product management haiku, on my computer monitor Nothing important Happens inside the office Talk to customers What is the strategy for this product? Where does it fit in the market space? How does it compare to the competition? Do we want to be low-cost or high-value? Differentiation strategy? Portfolio – most products don’t exist on their own. iPod + iTunes. Gmail works with Google Calendar. With my product, we have different versions, different subscription options and variations; plus our product works with other products in the company so I need to work with other product managers on a combined strategy Once you’ve got a strategy you have to create a roadmap for where the product’s going and understand the lifecycle of the product – should be familiar to anyone who’s taken a marketing class Requirements are the translation of the market needs, strategy, and roadmap into specific actionable items. There actually is a difference between market requirements, product requirements, user requirements, and the other ones I mentioned earlier, but I won’t get into that here. But PMs need to understand the requirements of the market and translate that into requirements of the product, things that the product needs to do or support users doing. Once we’ve done that, how do we go to market? Marketing strategy, promotion – we’ve got a great product, how do we let people know. Usually involves working with marketing, but sometimes PMs are responsible for this, especially in smaller organizations As president of the product, PMs need to define strategy, communicate that, but then should rely on others to help make that strategy happen
  35. Unfortunately, PMs don’t often do this This is basically the exact opposite of everything on the last slide. In fact, I was thinking of just skipping the details on this slide and putting “opposite of what I just said” here Bad PMs… Focus on the company, not the market Don’t do any research themselves, they may farm it out, or they may not do any at all They don’t look at strategy, because… They’re focused on the short-term Instead of requirements they work on specifications Requirements say WHAT Specifications say HOW PMs are responsible for what the product should do Other people are responsible for HOW the product accomplishes that – user experience practitioners, software developers Bad product managers don’t work with marketing – they tell them about a new product a week before it’s going to be released and ask for brochures. They probably don’t work with other stakeholders either until it’s too late – finance, customer service, legal Another good quote I like: time spent on the strategic reduces the time wasted on the tactical. Unfortunately, many PMs focus on the trees and not the forest and spend most of their time fighting fires… and yes, I just mixed my metaphors there
  36. It’s not just PMs who are guilty, though Don’t feel like you’re off the hook just yet Good UX people… Don’t need to know the intricate business details, but should understand the context – the strategy, the competition, the market, the business objectives Earlier, when I talked about UX right at the beginning, I said that I wasn’t going to explain it because I assumed you knew what it was How often have you done this when working with someone new? If you don’t establish a good understanding up front, it will lead to confusion later. Just like the design process we advocate – spend more time up front to save yourself time and hassle later. Spend time up front clarifying your role and skills and make sure you have understanding of the others you are working with Advocate for a user-centered process, but not at the expense of other factors. Ultimately the PM is the one who is going to have to “balance” those three circles, but by better understanding what goes on in those three circles, you can make yourself more relevant There’s a lot of focus on tools and deliverables, but good UX people focus on the end goals, and then worry about how to get there
  37. Of course, none of this applies to you, right…? ;-) I’ve known people who hear about the business context and ignore it when they’re designing Or they know they should learn more but don’t want to Or they say that it’s someone else’s responsibility You’re part of the “cabinet” – the secretary of defense doesn’t have to be an expert in energy, but should know a bit about it Biggest pitfall I’ve seen is assuming others know and understand role Either don’t explain it at all Or give a cursory explanation Or talk AT people but don’t engage in discussion… here’s what I think my role is, how do you see it fitting in with yours? Do we agree? The idea of “doing exactly what’s best for the user at all costs” has given UX a bad name major complaint about Jakob Nielsen is that he’s too dogmatic about usability “ I don’t care how hard it is to develop, how it impacts performance or bandwidth consumption, how much it costs, how it hurts marketing objectives, how it doesn’t fit in with our brand image”: these are harmful stances to take for your own career, influence, and that of UX in general On listservs there’s constant discussion about tools and deliverables How to best create wireframes, what software programs to use, different protocols for user research, software to record usability testing That’s all great… but what’s the goal? Is this helping towards the goal? The deliverables and methods are necessary, but I’ve seen too much focus on HOW and not enough on WHAT user experience people are doing
  38. I was asked by UX people how they could work better with PMs Random assortment of thoughts If you’re already doing these things, great, but I’m betting there’s at least one thing here that you’re not doing Lead! Don’t wait for someone to request something, take the initiative and do it Better to ask for forgiveness than permission When was the last time you really did something without anyone asking – not just told them you were going to do it, but actually did? These next 2 go together: A lot of things are really PM decisions, but you can help those decisions be made in the way you feel is right by making your case Sometimes PMs don’t factor in all of the aspects of a decision – make sure they are, help them evaluate alternatives Don’t say “this is imperative,” say “I strongly recommend this because” and state your case Waffling and being unsure don’t help at all – either do more work to be able to make a recommendation, or get out of the way There’s more that goes on than just UX – by understanding the big picture you can help the PMs make better decisions, and understand the context for your recommendations Nothing worse than making what you feel is a good case and being put down because of something that would have been completely obvious if you knew more about the competition, marketing, production I’ve seen cases where features are evaluated based on importance to sales, to product management, and to UCD, all separately That should never happen There should be 1 importance – to the product, and the PM is the arbiter of that If that’s happening, that’s a sign that you don’t have good product management Help PMs get out of the office! Bring them along on formal or informal research. Ask them when they last met with a customer Tell stories about people you met with, how great it was Invite them along, and if they say no, keep asking If they’re going on their own, ask to go with them Last question is great, for 2 reasons: 1) Makes PMs think about what their goals are. Some don’t know. This may highlight the fact they are not sure, and you have an opportunity to be a trusted advisor and help them establish goals. 2) If they do have goals, they’ll tell you, and you’ll know exactly what you need to do. If their goals don’t make sense, you can get clarification, see where you’re not in alignment and how to correct that. I would love if someone asked me this.
  39. If you want to be a product manager after reading through this, you’re nuts! ;-) Lots of people I know have moved into PM roles or are looking to. If you want to, what do you need to do?
  40. Every business person, every consultant has their own patented 2x2, and this is mine! Rough plot of various positions on two dimensions Strategic vs. tactical – how much focus is on the big picture vs. the details Single vs. multiple disciplines – how much focus is on one area – software design, marketing, finance – vs. multiple areas Lots of people say PM is good path to CEO – not something personally I’m interested in, but it makes sense Running a business within a business Look at the balance of tactical (day to day) vs. strategic (long-term view), and single discipline (just UI design, just server architecture, just facilities planning, just quality assurance testing) vs. multiple discipline (a bit of all of those) and you’ll see where these fit together
  41. This is the fun stuff The main reason UX people want to become product managers is because they want to make products more customer-focused overall That’s a great reason, and, while challenging at times, definitely possible This is something people don’t often think about, but it’s not just the product itself, but the whole customer experience surrounding the product It’s not enough to just develop a good product, you have to let people know about this, communicate the benefits We often don’t appreciate the importance of this We take the approach of “if we create a good product, it will be a success” But for every great product that’s a success, there’s probably one that’s a failure because of the ineffectiveness of the marketing strategy Marketing is more than promotion – good marketing is a holistic practice from end-to-end But I could do a whole presentation on what marketing really is vs. how it’s practiced at most companies Well, maybe not me, but someone could Suffice it to say, it’s more than designing logos and ordering can coozies with said logo If you’re a product manager at a medium-to-large company, you’ll be in a position to influence other products as well Not to say that you couldn’t do this as well in a UX role For better or for worse, in most organizations most people will get more credibility just by being in a product management role It’s not fair… and there are some exceptions…
  42. So that was the fun stuff This is the other stuff As a product manager, you have little to no actual power While you may be a “people manager,” you won’t manage most of the people who work on your product Guy Kawasaki: A product manager can be defined as someone who has all of the responsibility and none of the power. Marketing has one idea; sales has another; engineering says neither can be done in time; designers say the way engineering wants to build it doesn’t make sense And that’s just before you get coffee Monday morning Not constant, but as President you’re going to be caught in the middle Decisions need to be made, based on what’s best for the product, and not everyone will agree Need to understand all viewpoints but at the end of the day you’re on the hook Allies include everyone from senior management to the entry-level developer to your customers Can’t always do what’s “best” for the user, as much as you may want to: other forces are at work If you do your job well, you’ll be able to justify those decisions, explain your rationale, be transparent, and people won’t be too upset or take it personally… but it’s tough Management is looking to you for information Whether things are going well or falling apart, whether you really have control or not, you are accountable
  43. So that’s the fun stuff and the other stuff that you’ll do as a product manager There’s some stuff that you might miss if you make the transition from user experience to product management When I took my position, the one thing I was told by several people is that you won’t get your hands dirty A PM may be down in the details, but they’re not doing their job well Remember – more strategic than tactical That said, I do pore over the details of a design every so often because I have to… but much less frequently before, and usually reviewing it, not doing it myself. I do miss it at times but I work with capable people whose judgment I trust and skills I admire. I don’t have the time to double-check their work nor do I need to, but I’ll gladly give feedback and have discussions when it’s appropriate Product managers rarely make recommendations – they make decisions If you like making recommendations, you’re probably not cut out to be a product manager If you can’t make decisions, you’re probably not cut out to be a product manager You’re probably still a good person, just probably won’t be a good product manager You DO make recommendations with respect to other areas – making sure the strategy and vision are being reflected in other areas… make sure product vision is carried out in marketing strategy, UI design, copywriting, etc. But to me, that’s more “leading” than making recommendations Us product managers don’t call it passing the buck – we call it “delegating” But just like the earlier point, you make decisions The buck stops with you One important role of product managers that I didn’t cover is that of product evangelist Champion of the product To sales, marketing, executives, development… Externally: customers, users … maybe even industry analysts, the press Internally: very very important role Can’t just blend in – need to be visible and engaged Not just drinking the Kool-Aid – it’s making a huge batch of it, getting drunk off of it, and then getting everyone else sauced with you You can have the best strategy in the world, the best understanding of your customers, the best requirements… but if you can’t get people on board, you’ve got nothing Remember, Guy Kawasaki: A product manager can be defined as someone who has all of the responsibility and none of the power. The joke is that user experience people always answer with “It depends” As a product manager, it may depend, but that’s irrelevant It’s not about what theoretically should happen, it’s about what we should do right now, in this situation As a sidenote, this is something I think more UX people should adopt Earlier I talked about “strong recommendations” – this is exactly what I’m referring to It’s okay to say “It depends” as long as you follow it up with “but in this situation”
  44. There’s lots of great resources These are probably the best blogs I’ve found There’s many more, I’m finding more every week The Jonathan Korman article from Cooper as I mentioned is fantastic, a must read Delicious has lots of good reading as well Two organizations, the PDMA and AIPMM More focused on Product Management, Development, Marketing in general, not specific to online or technology products, but good fundamentals PDMA is probably the more renowned of the two, a bit deeper There are certifications, college- and masters-level courses and even degrees in product management and product development
  45. When was the last time you read about market research? Have you heard the phrase Voice of the Customer Conjoint Analysis? Choice modeling? There’s lots out there UX is great but it’s not new Build on the foundation that’s existed for years Read about business I don’t mean the latest fads or business news It’s not Wall Street Journal or Business Week or even FastCompany or Business 2.0 It’s not the “hot” business trend of the week (e.g. “Who moved my blackberry?”) They are good and interesting and probably worth reading But there are classic books on product development and business that you can benefit a lot from, and these will help you in the long-term Clockwise from top left Robert Cooper, classic book on product development Guarantee it will change the way you look at your role in developing products Tuned In Fantastic book on not overall understanding of your market Uses UX methods but goes well beyond Harvard Business Review is a must read Current issues plus great stuff from the archives So much good information in here it’s what people you work with are reading It’s what the CEO uses to guide his or her decisions You can tap into that same knowledge Goodthinking is just one of the many good books on qualitative research from the marketing perspective There’s lots to be learned from techniques and processes that have been used successfully for years House of quality – a very sophisticated method for determining feature priorities and thresholds Not saying you should start using it tomorrow But should be aware of it, understand what it is and how it’s used See if there are parts of it that may be applicable Most of all – it will make you realize that a lot of what we’re doing is not unprecedented; don’t have to always reinvent the wheel Lastly, a huge part of being successful is understanding how organizations work Unless you work for yourself and never have to interact with anyone, this is vitally important I like to say that 10% of my job is the specific things that I am trained and skilled to do – 90% is all the other stuff I need to do to be able to do that 10% Learn about how to succeed with that 90% and it will make the 10% of the time a lot more enjoyable and impactful Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner is a classic book on leadership and can really highlight some things to do to lead better Leadership is not about title or role – whether you’re a PM or a UX you can be a leader Leading Change by John Kotter is another good one Ever wondered why things that in your mind very clearly need to change never seem to? Read this! No matter what your role, these and other similar resources will help you broaden your horizons and make you a more valuable contributor, no matter how you want to contribute
  46. One last thought Going back to the “We’re all on the dark side” comment earlier Here’s a more positive way of saying it I agree with this 100% and hopefully what I’ve provided to you here will help you understand this and help make that collaboration work for you
  47. Hope you enjoyed reading my notes!