A Win-Win Relationship with Product and Experience Design

In a small organization, one person may be responsible for the success of the product and the experience design. But even in some of the smallest companies, you see these as different roles. The person responsible for the product success is usually focused on defining the product – sometimes referred to as the Product Manager or Product Owner – the “CEO of the Product.” They are looking at their market, listening to their customers and developing the product requirements so that Design, Development and other stakeholders understand what is being design, developed and delivered.

In larger organizations – or with larger solutions – there may be a product team that breaks down product roles by value streams or line of business with product managers that understand their particular market or specific customers in their market. There may be product managers that focus on the product vision, strategy, roadmap and overall profit of the product portfolio; there may be product managers that mostly listen to customer and develop the high-level requirements; and there may be more technical product managers that work on the detailed requirements for the current release with the design and development teams. At every level they are balancing business needs with customers’ needs against the time and effort to deliver the best product to their market.

Experience Design (XD) is focused on the defining, developing and delivering the best experience possible to the customers. They understand that they must deliver incremental design solutions within the constraints of the releases – and do this in a way that makes sense within the overall holistic experience. Experience design may have many roles, too. In a small organization it may be one person but for larger organization that may breaks down design roles by value streams or line of business with designers that understand their particular market or specific customers in their market.

There may be a Design leader that focuses on the experience design vision, strategy, roadmap and overall design operation and process; there may be designers that focus mostly on research and/or testing; other designers may focus on the visual design, styling, icons, etc., and there may be designers that focus just on the experience interactions – developing prototypes of various fidelity at the various stages or phases of the product lifecycle. At every level the design team is balancing business requirements with customers’ goals against the time and effort to deliver the best experience to their market.

Since the product team is usually the CEO of the product – the product owner – it is up to them to incorporate the experience design team into the product lifecycle. Here is how to do that:

Involve XD as Early as Possible in the Product Lifecycle

Market research, competitive analysis and concept designs are all opportunities to involve your experience design team in research, evaluations and prototyping. 

Product needs to be an XD Advocate and Champion in Your Organization

As the product owner, you need to help promote the experience design team. Be their greatest advocate and champion and ensure that their findings, recommendation and designs are understood and executed properly.

Product needs to be a Good XD Partner

Ensure understanding and alignment with experience design with the product vision, strategy and roadmap. Partner early in the product lifecycle with your experience design team and continue to work with them throughout the product process – through research, design and testing.

If you care about the experience that you deliver to your customers, if you understand the ROI of a great experience, then develop a win-win strategy with your product team and experience design team.