People & Teams

Product managers, how do you work well with designers and engineers?

Many teams are built around these core roles and all need to have their seat at the table. But how do you ensure the relationship thrives? Do you take a specific approach?

  • Senior Product Designer at Treatwell

    Shift your team's mindset from 'developing features' to 'solving problems'.

    I know it sounds simple stupid, but believe me, it actually works. In my experience, involving the whole team in discussing the problem and doing a quick brainstorm about possible solutions in the early inception phase helps a lot.

    • It gives the basic context of the problem to the team. Why is this problem important? What is the opportunity?
    • It creates an environment of collaboration rather than isolation inside the team.
    • Designers receive the first assumptions/hypotheses to validate.
    • Product manager gets the engineer's input about possible tech challenges and the scope of the project.

    This could be treated as a nice little project kickoff where everyone gets familiar with the team's focus and the next challenge coming.

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  • Product Manager at Government Digital Service

    On my team at Government Digital Service, we have 'fika' each afternoon. It's Swedish for 'a coffee and cake break'. We take 15 minutes to chill out as a team, connect with each other, and clear our heads for the final onslaught of the day. We have a hard rule that no one talks shop during fika; instead, we chat about life outside work and what we like getting up to, our interests and qualities.

    When you're working on tough stories or complicated infrastructure, empathy and patience are paramount. Fika helps propagate that.It's caused us to gel more as a team, brought us much closer together and means we see the humans behind the job roles – as if we were a family.

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  • UX/UI Designer at Worldpay

    Don't have meetings for meetings sake, but do make sure your team communicate. All too often I have worked in teams where a direct question to another team member would have resolved an issue a lot quicker than the individual trying to resolve problems in isolation - your team are there to help, make the most of the extra brain power. You should never be made to feel like you are asking a stupid question, especially if you are seeking the advice of another discipline. In my experience the best teams are ones that will take the time to involve the right people at the right time.
    Morning stand ups are important, they involve the whole team and help identify who is working on what and identify the top level issues that need to be addressed. I cannot recommend these enough, but make sure they are short. Longer conversations should take place between the relevant people after the stand up.

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