All posts by Sharon Polak

3 Main Steps for Managing UX

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#1 Identify a Need in Strong User Experience

Today products are focused on User Experience.  Customers evolved and expect products to fit their needs in a simpler and more intuitive way.

We have no patience for long loading pages or complicated installation processes. Even new hardware products such as our TV remote are better designed for easy use.  The apps we use every day such as Waze, Movit, Google search – all contain just a simple input line. We are used to multitasking and even if we miss-press a button on our mobile, while starting the car and talking to a colleague, we get impatient.  User Experience (UX) plays a major role in our perception regarding a product and even became a norm we expect.

There are also products that are less UX oriented, such as back office softwares like ERP or Billing. There are also examples to hardware products that are less User Experience focused such as car tires, electric wires, smoke detectors…

We have to know whether our product is UX oriented.  If UX is a major concern in our product’s success, as Product Managers, we have to be ready to make an effort for great UX.

#2 Gain a Deeper Understanding of UX Process and Collaterals

UX expert’s place in an organization varies, UX expert can be part of R&D or under the Product Manager. It can be an in-house task or an outsource. Generally the collaterals that are provided in the process are the same. A deeper understanding of the UX process by the Product Manager would define  better ways to generate and use these outputs.

The Product Manager is dominant in the Product Strategy and Product Definition dimensions.  Product Definition is when the UX expert should be able to get input from the Product Manager. The UX expert should be able to give feedback, validate or modify the Product Definition.  Even if we are developing a software for a specific client’s need, we still have to take UX issues into account. The Product Definition process should involve a multidisciplinary team, and in this case a User Stories document is the right choice.

A User Experience expert is more dominant in the Product Achievement dimension, this is when the UX expert should present output to the Product Manager after refining Product Definition. Product Managers should  understand the process and provide feedback. In addition, there is much value in UX expert’s output in terms of Product Marketing.   Wireframes, can be used for better sales engagements and product launch.  If our product is a mobile application, for example, and we are able to demonstrate some screens for the buyer before development is done, the buyer can visualize our software’s functionality and can provide feedback and even commit to buying the product (before it is fully developed).

Think how your User Experience expert can help you in the process of defining and developing a product, and how can you leverage UX output for achieving product excellence.

#3 Establish a Fluent Two Way Communication Channel

UX expert and the Product Manager need to work together, with two way communication, both have to be able to convey feedback each to other for a better product creation process.

Another way to look at this, is that in some situations, the UX expert can be a mediator between the Product Manager and the Development team. It can be by translating customer and user needs to a detailed product UX specifications that makes the communication between the Product Manager and R&D more detailed and clear.

Value your UX expert, use their expertise for a better managed process, and for better multidisciplinary communication in Product Achievement dimension.

Interested in UX management for Product Managers? Join our workshop in 9,10,15 of May 2016. Click here to read more.

Why Customer Experience is an Important Part of Product Manager’s Responsibilities?

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When we discuss a product manager’s responsibilities we discuss it in terms of Product Strategy, Product Definition, Product Achievement (engaging the development process) and Product Marketing. All these dimensions include customer issues.

 

Product Managers should be able to engage all of the product team (including R&D and Sales) in generating, articulating and monetizing customer value. However, we rarely stop to think about how all these topics regarding the client are connected, how does this all become part of a bigger customer picture: the Customer’s Journey.

Customer journey or experience is a major point in product success measurement, and it does not rely solely on marketing, but on a customer planning in all 4 product dimensions.

 

A product manager is responsible for connecting the dots and creating a full Customer Journey circle for his product. The process of creating a customer journey happens while building the product and dealing with the Product Management dimensions. All the pieces are there, but connecting them is what makes the difference.

 

Transitioning from Product Management to Customer Experience consider the following:

Product Awareness

The first step in every Customer Journey is Product Awareness – the product’s brand and value proposition. This is about first impression – getting the right perception from a customer’s perspective and an effective media exposure to the right customer. This means presenting the product value and theme to target audience.

User Experience vs. Customer Experience

Part of Customer Experience cycle is User Experience (UX). In spite the fact that Customer Experience is mostly generated by the Product Manager (formally or not), UX is an issue that Product Managers often tend to treat as a given part of R&D and design. This unit of Customer Journey tends to get autonomy. UX affects many aspects of Customer Journey and has a crucial impact on the ability to discover and engage in a product customer experience. As well as getting the right information easily, achieving high customer satisfaction and finally customer return. UX has a major impact on product success as well as Customer Experience, because all customer dots in a product planning and management should be connected.

 

The bottom line is that a product’s success is determined by customers, whether the product has reached defined goals, reached the defined target audience and gained satisfaction among them. If a product’s planning and management was thorough in customer terms, it has a major contribution to a product’s success. Customer Journey allows to see the bigger customer picture, connect all the dots and fill in all blanks. Customer Journey is an important responsibility for every Product Manager to reinforce.

Want to find out more about Customer and User experience? Visit our User Experience Workshop for Product Managers page.