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Should the product manager or user experience designer own and drive the product?

I have been working in the enterprise software industry for almost 18 years. The companies I have worked for have been successful and profitable for many years. In the beginning they started as engineering driven organizations and then, over time, they added product managers. While their world was competing on the features needed they were able to march forward with success. As all their competitors acquired the same set of features the current and potential customers started to recognize that complexity of use, cost of training and ability to meet their users’ workflows were increasingly important.

What should a successful software product company do about this problem? Switch the roles of who is leading to the team to put the emphasis on the workflows, tasks and users’ needs instead of the features. Here is the experience I have had with the team lead as product manager versus user experience designer.

Product Manager

User Experience Designer

Every company I have been at has senior product managers running projects within a module of the application. The senior product manager does a lot of the project management and interfacing with the engineering team. The product manager talks with customers about issues, collects information from sales and service and therefore sees the product from a feature gap basis. Instead of hiring senior product managers and more junior interaction designers at a module level, why not switch it around? Have a senior UX designer and a junior product manager. The UX designer focuses on the workflows and […]

By |January 20th, 2013|User Experience|1 Comment