This week on Product Love, I sat down with Jim Dibble and Shannon McGarity who currently run the Design Practice at the Pragmatic Institute. Pragmatic Institute is one of the world’s largest and most-respected product and data training companies on the market. We chatted about how design and product managers can work better together.

Better Collaboration is Empathy

In the past, it was easy to describe the collaboration between product managers and designers as a hand-off process. Nowadays, we’re gearing towards a kind of collaboration that exists inside the product development lifecycle. Product managers go out and understand market problems, whereas designers are conduct research around the goals and pinpoints of users. Jim and Shannon ask then, How do we make more places for that work to connect and overlap? Reevaluate your current development cycles, and see how often your designers and product managers are having the opportunity to connect.

Data and Designers

Designers often use a mix of qualitative and quantitative data to better understand their users, as well as validate their decisions. Jim brings up that one problem in the design community is how designers can be overly driven by quantitative data. Businesses often want designers to focus on how to make customers click on something that would achieve their quarter goals. But that can be frustrating for designers, because it’s not necessarily helping users at the same time achieve their own goals within the product.

Human-centered Design

Jim and Shannon define human-centered design as a set of techniques and a mindset. It’s a way of approaching a problem, either as an individual or with your whole team where you keep the end-user as the hero of the story. This allows designers to consistently focus on what it’s like to be the end-user. While organizations might be hurrying up to release a product to market, human-centered design actually allows us to slow down and think through a solution that allows us to center the user.

If you want to learn more about how designers use data, design thinking, and how product managers can improve their development processes, check out the episode above.