Course 3: The Art and Science of Product Management. Module: Leading and Communicating with Designers. Lesson: The PM with an Eye for Design. Topic: What is Design? In this lesson, you will learn what design is, why design is important, PM and designer collaboration best practices, and basic design concepts. Design is an ambiguous word, and in an interview setting, if you're not sure in what sense the interviewer is using this word, please ask her. Design might refer to any of these distinct concepts. "Product design" is the process of creating products, starting with your customer's problems and goals and building and improving your product. Product design is a confusing name, because in general the PM, not the designer, is responsible for product design. So to put in another way, product design is everything we've covered in our courses on the Business of Product Management. You'll also see an entire lecture on PM interview questions that are called "product design questions" in our course on Acing the PM Interview. "Design thinking" is a process during which you empathize with your users, define their needs, ideate a solution, build a prototype, and test your prototype with users. You might recognize design thinking is yet another OODA loop, and therefore another Agile methodology. Both PMs and developers are responsible for understanding design thinking. "Design" is the work of designers, creative professionals who often graduated from art school or similar higher education around the art design and product design discipline. Designers are usually responsible for a product's user experience, also abbreviated UX and also called the product's "usability." Designers and PMs come from different disciplines. As part of a designer's education, they might have studied texts like this: "Art is a means of socializing the feelings, or as Leo Tolstoy correctly says, art is a means of emotionally infecting men." A classic potential conflict between designers and PM is this: A designer might be driven by their artistic temperament to create a user experience that emotionally transforms the user, rather than producing the good enough work that keeps the PM on schedule to deliver new releases. Former Vice President of Product Design at Facebook Julie Zhuo explores this tension between designers and PMs in depth. She acknowledges that designers all have a personal, high quality bar for their own work. When a PM asks designers to sacrifice their personal standards to meet the PM's deadlines, that's painful for the designer. And she encourages designers to be reliable for the PM's sake. For example, she tells them not to act like Don Draper, quote, "disappearing after lunch to find his creative mojo and not returning until Thursday afternoon." >> Gentlemen, I sell products, not advertising. I can't see as far into the future as Doug, but if the world is still here on Monday, we can talk. >> Don, hold on. [DOOR SLAMMING] >> Let him go, take a second to find some kid who can write a prose poem to a potato chip. >> Calm down. >> Let him throw his tantrum. The man disappeared for three [...] weeks, and I put this deal together, [HITTING THE TABLE] what more do you need to know? >> But she also advises designers that being reliable does not mean meeting every deadline, as she understands that designers cannot predict when inspiration strikes them. Rather, she recommends designers communicate with their PMs about why they're pushing past the deadline. To explore design choices or make changes to build a stronger future relationship by setting the PM's expectations about how designers work. Topic: Why design is important. Why is a strong relationship between PMs and designers important? Consulting firm McKinsey and Company studied 100,000 design actions across 300 publicly listed companies over 5 years. They found companies with the best design practices double their return on investment compared to all the other companies. This held true across the consumer packaged goods, medical technology, and retail banking sectors, along with the general market. Of course, correlation, as we remember, is not causation, but PMs should invest in learning the best design principles. So what are the best design practices that you as a PM can support? According to McKinsey, the best four design practices are PM best practices that I've already covered, but applied to designers. They are, one, use metrics to drive design work. For example, an online gaming company made a small UX-change caused of 25% increase in sales. But more changes had no impact on any metric, so further efforts were redirected elsewhere. Two, map the user journey, for example, a hotel chain found it was doing very little for customers during the checkout process. Its designers suggested having staff gift departing guests a rubber duck designed to uniquely represent that hotel. This duck serves to remind the guest of their experience, and also creates a game for that guest to collect the entire set of ducks by staying at all the hotel's locations. The ducks increased customer retention by 3%. Three, make design everyone's responsibility. McKinsey observes that designers are stereotypically, quote, "aloof," in that they tend to lock themselves in their studios and avoid working with non-design colleagues. Now, that's probably not true for everyone, of course it's a generalization, but there's a reciprocal tendency from other professions to limit their time collaborating with designers. Instead, McKinsey recommends incentivizing designers to work alongside engineering, marketing, and of course product managers like yourself to reinforce design thinking throughout your organization and product development lifecycle. Four, get external feedback on prototypes early and often. McKinsey found 60% of companies only test designer created prototypes internally. But prototypes are more valuable if used to collect external particularly customer feedback, so test prototypes externally. Also, leading companies discouraged PMs from being perfectionists to maximize the number of tests that can be performed.