3 Reasons why Product Managers need UX Research

3 Reasons why Product Managers need UX Research

Catch me up with the Movie:

Your startup is beginning to scale up and you are reviewing your UX Processes. Your Product Managers are interacting with stakeholders, and most often are on top of user needs or pain points. Is another parallel UX Research process required?

Product Managers, in general, come with good stakeholder management skills. They can be expected to be thorough with details and hold the long term goals at the same time.

Yup, the famous phrase of “CEOs of their Products”, makes their horizontal management of the product quite clear.

I’ve been a Product Manager myself, and most of the time the points shared by UX Research folks, seem a bit Anti-PM 🙂 However, in this article you will find what it means to have specialized UX Research.

#1 – Feedback Hussle Versus Planned Research

Product Managers are often expected to be in a lot of places, including strategic boardroom discussions, to reviewing the Sprint outcomes or Release process. This puts them into an Hussle Mindset.

They would need to quickly switch what they were working on through out the day; and writing PRDs or specific Product Communications are few things they work on in detail.

To get some User Feedbacks, PMs would pick-up their phone and call a few close customers, and summarize the meeting outcomes.

Which might be fine, but it isn’t a planned research
UX Research
A 2-way interaction to prioritize and frame research

However, a User Researcher could perform a planned Research based on the priorities & high level feedbacks the Product Managers or leadership deal with.

#2 – Balancing Broad Priorities Vs UX Research outcomes

The beauty of a Product Managers effectiveness lies in maintaining broad level priorities for the Product.

# There could be immediate burning concerns

# There could be a market opportunity available in a short span of time

# There could be other strategic priorities

# There could be architectural priorities

But when a Product Manager spends a lot of time focused on User Research, most often the PM could be biased towards the UX Research outcomes and how important they are.

This might mean the UX Research outcome would get undeserved special attention on the Roadmap.

Product Manager reviewing the items that need to go in

#3 – Unbiased & Structured UX Research KPIs

Businesses often find it hard to invest time & money in UX Research as the ROI could be hard to measure.

The overall KPIs for a Product Enhancement or the Product’s Success take too many factors into account. Establishing a UX Research Process, would mean having a measure of it’s performance as well.

Some important aspects of this measure would be:

How well UX Research is driving Design Direction?

Number of Instances where the UX Research Findings led to:

  • Changes made to Prototypes
  • Changes made to Live Apps, Websites
  • Specific Changes to the Initial Concept or direction

How well UX Research is driving Product Direction?

Number of Instances where the UX Research Findings led to:

  • Changes in the Product Roadmap
  • New Roadmap or Roadmap items
  • Changes in the Business Model

I hope you found these points helpful, and what it means to have a UX Research Process and have the Product Managers continue what they do.

As companies scale-up digitally, the User’s behavior and Expectations form a strong competitive ground.

In the digital world User is the New King!

Please drop in your comments or ideas as well. You can know more about Surgyy Design here, and if you are looking to schedule a call to discuss your UX hassles, please proceed here 🙂

Written by
Join the discussion