UX and Product Management

Someone asked me today what the difference was between UX and Product Management.  I explained with an analogy.

User Experience (UX) is like being Willy Wonka.  The chocolate factory was the ultimate in UX Design.  Not only was everything awesome, but it was easy to use.  No one had to ask how to eat in the candy garden.  There were no user manuals for how to fly with Fizzy Lifting Bubble Ade.  Sure there were lots of bugs in the system, like the dessert in the 3 course meal gum, but what product doesn’t have bugs.  The point is that Willy is a dreamer, a visionary.  He understands people at a core level and knows how to make them fanatic customers.  He knows how to hit just that right tone of form and function.

Product Management is the flip-side of Willy.  Product managers need to manage the process of building the chocolate factory over a period of time with limited resources.  Beyond resource constraints, there are technical limits and business realities.  The product manager has to be shrewdly tactical and make a million decisions.  The Oompa Loompas are the engineers and developers who work the system and do the actual building.

A great product needs both.  In a startup tech environment, often one person will do both.  I think its an incredibly fun process to do this.  Product Management needs to dream with one hand and make tough practical decisions with the other.  Great product management figures out a way to build the chocolate factory.  Bad product management builds the Slugworth factory.

5 Replies to “UX and Product Management”

  1. I’ve followed you blog for a while now and enjoy your articles.

    However, you are totally in love with the ‘UX’ acronym. I for some reason, really hate the acronym. Every time I see it I cringe a bit. The way it sounds when trying to read it ‘ucks’ is painful. It’s a bit better if you read it as ‘you ecks’. I’d have to say that the acronym you use for ‘User Experience’ does not leave this user with a good experience 🙂

    Anyways, I still plan on continuing to read your blog, just thought I’d throw this comment out there and see if I’m the only one who dislikes the acronym so much 🙂

  2. I have to admit, I wish there was a better acronym too. I pronounce it You-Ex. I really don’t like UE because it sounds like You-Eee which reminds me of YUI (Yahoo User Interface library). UI is already reserved to mean something different. (UI means the parts of the application that the touches). HCI (Human Computer Interaction) is old School and sort of means UI and also sounds robtronic. UCD (User Centered Design) is good, but somehow misses the mark.

    In the end, I keep coming back to You-Ex. It’s like Fedex, but for You! Maybe I should write it that way? Director of YouEx and Product Management. Hmm, something to consider.

    Maybe I should just spell it out. User Experiece. It’s just so many letters to type. Anyone else have an idea?

  3. I agree that spelling out ‘User Experience’ every time you post an article about it or reference it would be un-cool.

    Maybe you should invent something 🙂

  4. Fun User Experience – FUX
    Sweet User Experience – SUX
    Doable User Experience – DUX
    True User Experience – TUX
    JavaScript User Experience and Positioning – Juxaposition
    User Experience Lite – UXLe (Pronounced Ugly)
    Fun User Experience Lite – prounded Fugly
    Best User Experience – BUX (As in you will make alot of it)
    Lucky User Experience (LUX) – Rachel will like that.
    Crazy Ass Cool Experience – CRACX (Smokin!)

    So much to choose from!

    I used to call it Interaction Design, but it just seemed a bit small.

Leave a Reply