Let me begin by saying that there is no right answer for whether you should hire a product designer vs a product manager. Both product designers and product managers play crucial roles in the development and success of a product, but their responsibilities and skill sets differ. In this article, we aim to explore the use cases and help you understand who you should hire based on your current needs.Ultimately, the best decision will depend on your startup's specific needs, goals, and resources.
We’ve broken down the responsibilities and tasks associated with each position so that you can use this as a guide when you choose to hire.
In essence, product designers are responsible for the visual and interactive design of a product, including its user interface and user experience. Some of the key responsibilities and skills you are looking for when hiring a product designer are:
User Research (UX Research): Product designers conduct user research to understand the needs, pain points, and behaviors of the target audience. This helps them to create designs that are tailored to the users' needs. Examples of tasks associated with UX research are:
Design thinking: Product designers use design thinking to approach problem-solving in a user-centered way. They work to understand the users' needs and create solutions that focus on addressing users' pain points. Examples of tasks associated with design thinking are:
Visual Design: Product designers create visual designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. They have a good understanding of color theory, typography, and layout.Examples of tasks associated with visual design are:
Interaction Design: Interaction design: Product designers create designs that are easy to use and intuitive for the user. They use techniques such as prototyping and usability testing to ensure that designs are user-friendly. Examples of tasks associated with interaction design are:
In summary, product designers are responsible for the visual and interactive design of a product, including its user interface and user experience. They use design thinking, user research, and prototyping to create visually appealing and intuitive products that meet the needs of the target audience.
Product managers are responsible for the strategic planning and execution of a product. They work closely with cross-functional teams, including design, engineering, and marketing, to ensure that a product is delivered on time, within budget, and with the desired features and functionality. They also track product performance, gather user feedback, and make data-driven decisions to improve the product over time. Some of the key responsibilities and skills you should look for when hiring a product managers are:
Product strategy: Product managers develop and maintain the product vision, strategy, and roadmap. They work to understand the needs of the target audience and the market, and use this information to create a product that meets those needs. Examples of tasks associated with product strategy include:
Product planning: Product managers plan and prioritize the features and functionality of the product, ensuring that it aligns with the overall goals of the business. Tasks associated with product planning are:
Product execution: Product managers work with cross-functional teams such as engineering, design, and marketing to ensure that the product is delivered on time, within budget, and with the desired features and functionality. Tasks to assign for this are:
Stakeholder management: Product managers work with stakeholders such as customers, partners, and executives to gather feedback, obtain buy-in, and ensure that the product aligns with the overall goals of the business. Tasks associated with this are identifying stakeholders:
Data analysis: Product managers use data and analytics to track product performance and gather user feedback to make data-driven decisions to improve the product over time. Tasks to assign your PM in this field are:
Communication: Product managers are responsible for communicating the product vision and strategy to the rest of the team, and for communicating progress and status to stakeholders.
In summary, product managers are responsible for the strategic planning and execution of a product, ensuring that it meets the needs of the target audience and aligns with the overall goals of the business.
For an early stage startup, it's important to consider your limited resources and budget when making hiring decisions. Hiring a product manager and a product designer at the same time may not be feasible, but that doesn't mean you can't have both skills on your team.
In an early stage startup, it's often more practical and cost-effective to hire a generalist who has a mix of both product design and product management skills. This person can handle both the visual and interactive design of your product, as well as the strategic planning and execution. They can also work closely with the rest of the team, including engineers and marketers, to ensure that your product is delivered on time, within budget, and with the desired features and functionality.
However, if you're considering hiring one role over another, and you're trying to decide between a product designer and a product manager, it's important to consider the current needs of your startup. If your product is still in the early stages of development and you need help with the design and user experience, a product designer may be a better fit. If your product is more developed, but you need help with product strategy, planning and execution, then a product manager would be more suitable.
Ultimately, the best decision will depend on your startup's specific needs, goals, and resources. It's important to consider both long-term and short-term needs and make a decision that aligns with your overall product vision and goals.
Hopefully this article has given you a clear understanding of tasks and responsibilities associated with each position. Some of them definitely overlap and that’s okay. But you can use this as a guide when you type up your job posting.
Taurist is a product design agency with the goal of guiding startups with their product design strategy, goals, and tasks. We consult early stage startups and submit weekly newsletters in the field of product design, UX, strategy and marketing. Sign up to our newsletter and start receiving curated content in your inbox.
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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your project.