How is UX design related to management? I hear that question quite often. The answer is pretty straightforward: monitoring the end user’s interaction with your design and addressing performance issues is part of UX design. That’s practical management.
UX managers have all kinds of fancy titles, but their responsibilities are the same. The main role of this manager is to actively remake the interface between the business and customer. This is not just the manager of the UX team; sometimes their role is integrated into the marketing department, and sometimes it is performed by the project manager. Whatever the case is, the UX manager defines what a good experience is, and leads the project towards that direction.
So what makes a good UX manager? It’s not rocket science; the major management principles apply in this situation, too.
If you’re on your way to success in this role, you should definitely adhere to the 5 main management principles. Here they are:
5 Principles that Make You a Good Manager
#1. Expect Change and Welcome It
A successful manager of any category sees the changing environment as an opportunity to provide better solutions. Instead of perceiving the evolving needs of the target audience as a threat to the current product design, you should see them as areas you could improve.
If, for example, the users of a service that pairs students with dissertation writers start demanding new types of services due to the changing requirements of their universities, the manager will have to reinvent the offer. They will welcome the criticism as a chance to expand what the team already knows and does.
All projects should be built for change. Nothing is definite. As a manager, you have to create a culture of change and go back into the design development process whenever a shift is needed.
#2. Planning Is Essential
Planning is a crucial aspect of management. It’s a stage of the process characterized by setting goals and designing a course of action. The manager collaborates with the UX design team during this process, and they oversee all actions. One of their main responsibilities is to consider all environmental conditions and the forecast on the expected development of those conditions.
The principle of planning is based on understanding the needs of the audience and coming up with solutions that are relevant to those needs. A skillful manager will not only consider the creative ideas from the team but will also research the latest UX trends to choose the most relevant solution.
Finally, they will monitor the process of gathering ideas, sketching and development.
#3. Know Everything about the Customers and the Competition
A manager has to be aware of all aspects of the business, the needs of the customers, and the strategies of the competition. As the project moves forward, this principle often falls in the shade. The manager and the team are settled with a plan and don’t research the market any further. That’s a mistake.
Proper project management involves ongoing research and evaluation. It should include surveys, evaluations, testing different solutions, and comparing all sorts of data with available information about the competition.
#4. Maintain Clear and Straightforward Communication with the Team
A manager is only as good as their team is. When the team fails to meet their expectations, it’s usually because the expectations haven’t been communicated well.
Communication may be the most important principle of management. From the very first stages of the project’s development, each member should be informed about their role in the process and the expectations they should meet. Whenever the manager implements a change, all members of the team should be informed about it.
In addition, the communication responsibilities of the manager extend to the higher leadership levels. The people in charge should get constant updates on the progress along the project timeline. The manager should inform them about the goals and advantages of the project, as well as about the drawbacks they face.
#5. Apply Emotional Intelligence into Your Approach as a Manager
An effective manager knows their job; that’s for sure. However, they also know how to work with other people. They understand where their mistakes and frustrations are coming from, and they can “manage” them towards a solution. In other words, great managers understand and implement the principles of emotional intelligence.
High self-awareness is the main aspect of this principle. The manager should be aware of their emotions, and they mustn’t allow irrelevant emotions to affect their decisions. If, for example, the manager has personal family issues, they must not allow that frustration to reflect itself on their work and the attitude towards the team.
Emotional intelligence leads to the development of great social skills and social awareness. When you’re in a managerial position, the connections you make with other people are crucial for the success of the project.
They know how to communicate with one team member at a time and lead them towards better results. That technique does not involve manipulation; it’s based on the mutual understanding that requires great emotional intelligence on the manager’s part.
Encourage; Don’t Intimidate!
All these principles of successful management lead us to one main conclusion: a great manager should encourage; not intimidate the team. Yes; your own performance is at stake. When the team or some of its member are guilty of underperformance, your first instinct is to sanction them. But that’s the last resort for a great manager.
First of all, they will try to encourage all team members to achieve better results, and they will guide them through the process with proper instructions. Such an approach takes not only the manager but the team and the project on the way to success.