Collaboration between design and product

Written by: Erin Weigel

Designers, ever get frustrated with your product person?
Product people, ever feel skeptical of your designer? 

Something I've noticed is that designers feel frustrated when they can’t work on their ideas. And product people feel skeptical that designers work on things that make an impact.

Why? Because design and product speak two different languages and exist for different reasons.

To bridge this gap, designers need to learn to “show”—not “tell” the impact by improving key metrics in a logical way. And product people need to give designers space to play and learn to make that impact in a creative way. 

But how? 

In my opinion, it’s by getting to know one another to understand each other’s goals and motivations. Finally, there’s a book to help us do that.

Product Management for UX People by Christian Crumlish, Photo credit: Rosenfeld Media

Product Management for UX People

I recently met Christian Crumlish, the author of Product Management for UX People at a local meetup. Christian is an information architect turned UX-er turned product person.

His unique career path allows him to empathize with many people involved in the product development process. So it's only natural that he's the one to bring the crafts of UX and product closer together.

As a designer turned product manager (PM) I really appreciate that this book exists. I would have jumped at this resource when I made my transition into product management years ago.

In fact, my transition into product management was not intentional.

One of my favorite Directors of Product at Booking.com, Mats Einarsen, needed a new PM on a data science team. He knew I loved data, research, and making an impact with design, so he tapped me for the role.

At first, I said, "no thank you." I was happy doing design on a team I loved. But some people around the company strongly felt that I was the right person, so they asked what held me back.

"I have no idea what a product manager (PM) does," was my reply. 

I had no insight into the PM role, so I didn’t know if I’d like it or be good at it. Eventually Mats persuaded me that "I'd figure it out," so I gave it a shot. And just like that—I was a product manager.

Because of my similar meandering career path between design, product, and people management, I have a lot of people reach out for career advice. Ultimately, this book does a better job explaining what a PM does that I ever could, so I’m thrilled it exists. 

 That said, I believe that engaging in the conversion design process is a great way to get product and design on the same page. Why? Because conversion design is both a creative and scientific process. It needs equal parts of both “play” and “prove.”

There’s space for everyone in the conversion design process. Our unique strengths and perspectives make us all stronger and better when we learn and do it together.

Designers, learn to love and play with your product person’s obsession with impact. Product people, learn to love your designer’s obsession with purposeful play. Because when you do, work becomes fun and effective. And that kind of employee engagement is hard for competitors to copy.

Now, go have some fun together and just see what you can achieve!

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Erin Weigel working at her desk on a computer surrounded by her plants.

Be kind & make things better

Hi, I'm Erin Weigel, and these are the words I live by.
I deliver impactful, user-centric products and tell stories about how I do it.

Erin Weigel working at her desk on a computer surrounded by her plants.

Be kind & make things better

Hi, I'm Erin Weigel, and these are the words I live by.

I deliver impactful, user-centric products and tell stories about how I do it.

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