Very often, I think people do not understand what I mean by User Experience (UX). They think its paint that goes on AFTER a product has been defined and possibly built. Maybe it is deciding where the button goes. I think UX is different. UX is about looking at the world through special eyes. Eyes that see how people react to all kinds of circumstances.
My blog, for a little while now, has been about The UX of ________. I look at the world through the UX lens. How was this thing conceived and implemented? How do people interact with it? Do they like it? Is it easy? Fun? Profitable? Awesome? Annoying?
Recently, I have been promoted to head Product Management. This makes me think more deeply about product management and how it fits into my world view. I believe this graphic helps describe my feeling on it.
Some people think product management is much more than what I have described above. In another post Luke Hohmann, was kind enough to provide a list of things that a product manager sometimes does:
- market segmentation, sizing, and needs assessment
- business model development
- value analysis
- value exchange models
- pricing models
- licensing models
- rights enforcement models
- profit engines
- customer facing ROI / TCO analysis
- channel design and management
- technology in-licensing negotiation
- deployment architecture choices
- BOM development and materials handling
- identification and management of releases
I look at this list and think, “Wait a minute. Where does it say, ‘Figure out what the thing is supposed to do’.”
Maybe I am a technology hick. I’ve never been trained in that fancy stuff. However, I have seen my fair share of technology startups. Some of them had great research up front. Some of them, not so much. None of it made a beans worth of difference to my one fundamental question about products.
“Is it insanely great?”
In my world view, UX should be responsible for making insanely great designs of products. This includes what problems the thing is supposed to solve. Engineering is responsible to turn those designs into real world products. Marketing and Sales play their part in the selling of those products. UX is supposed to have the great ideas. Graphic Design, UI, IA, and Product Management all play their part to develop, document, describe and design (aliteration) these ideas so that they can become real.
It makes sense to me that UX is an umbrella over product management and not the other way around. By having the UX lens at the top, a company is stating, “We want these products to be so good that people refuse to work without them.” By putting it the other way, they are saying, “We want lots of documentation!”
Leadership matters. Vision matters. I believe that in my core. UX as a primary role in a company will create massive success and profit. I certainly will be trying to prove that in the coming year.
First, I need to hire a product manager and get them to work!