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How a strong relationship between Product Management and UX delivers richer value for Envato users

Posted 1 month ago by Jimmy Joslin
How a strong relationship between Product Management and UX delivers richer value for Envato users

We all have our blind spots and biases regarding the application of thought towards a problem or solution. Depending on the strategic outcome you’re looking to reach, resources available or time constraints, it can be easy to lose sight of the overall user experience. In doing so, we often rally behind ideas that get us towards the shift of a commercial needle instead of the desired outcome of a user. 

As a Product Manager at Envato, I am guilty of applying an opaque commercial lens at times, building momentum behind numbers instead of user outcomes. Fortunately, i’m surrounded by awesome designers that always try and rebalance the scales and ensure the users get the voice and value they deserve. Without having a solid relationship with the design team, scenarios such as this would play out differently, impacting users’ experience and the potential value obtained from our products. 

Building the relationship

Building (and maintaining) a strong relationship between Product and UX functions is crucial for reaching the best outcomes for users while balancing the priorities and strategic drivers of a business.

The foundation for a relationship that goes the distance is trust. Trust should be expressly recognised across each party’s ability, intent, and autonomy in within the product team.

Examples of how this could play out:

Maintaining the relationship

Now that you’ve got a solid foundation built upon trust, it is vital to put in the effort to maintain it. Transparent and frequent communication is crucial in sustaining a robust and trusting relationship between Product and UX. 

If you’re a Product Manager and you’ve not spoken to UX today (and vice versa), why not? If the answer is anything other than “it’s their day off, they’re on holiday etc.”, you should seriously challenge and rethink that. 

A frequent and open dialogue will help increase effectiveness, transparency and alignment across the design, build, ship and learn processes. Such communications remove ambiguity early on and save precious time down the line; as a result, users get access to better products and features faster. In addition, this clarity is a preventative measure for friction between Product and UX, especially when both parties will likely (and often justifiably) assume the right of way in the face of conflict. 

Another cornerstone in a strong Product and UX relationship is collaboration. Through collaborative testing, brainstorming, analysis and design, well-rounded outputs can emerge that may not have been considered. Beyond the complementary contributions of the two functions, empathy is built in the process. Not only is empathy gained for your colleague’s ways of working, but also for the users.

Peak collaborative opportunities include:

How does a strong Product/UX relationship deliver richer value for users?

While a strong relationship between Product and UX brings efficiency gains and commercial advantage; the ultimate beneficiary of the  relationship is the users. The unification of the two disciplines results in a better understanding of users' problems, wants and needs. Commercial drivers are still strategically imperative, however the application of user first thinking ensures the most valuable outcomes for the business and users are achieved.     

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Product Manager at Envato, a world-leading online community for creative assets, tools and talent. He is also a Director for the Envato Foundation, a non-profit that partners with charitable organizations that focus on opportunity creation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially through education and development of children and youth.

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