A Guide for Collaboration and Building a Great Product: Product designer prospective

11 Jul 2024

My name is Marina Chernyshova. I have seven years of experience in Product and UX/UI design, working with complex web and mobile apps. Through my experience, I have been working with different teams, and I've learned that the development of any tech product relies heavily on the effective collaboration between Product Designers (PD) and Product Managers (PM).

It is often discussed that poor communication can significantly damage a product. Lack of feedback, different understanding of the problem, and missed agreements lead to an increase in development time and the release of unfinished features. I have summarized several practical tips that have significantly helped me in my work. I hope they will be valuable for you as well.

TIP N1: Twice a week syncs

In my experience, it is pointless to meet each day because it is difficult to make significant progress. But when the workload is tough, having a meeting once a week also is not enough, so meeting twice a week seems to be the optimal solution.

It doesn’t mean that you don’t communicate at all the rest of the time. You can use different software or platforms for collaboration, such as Slack, write comments on a Jira issue, or use tools like Figma and Miro. This approach is more time-efficient and serves as a form of written agreement.

TIP N2: Action items after each sync

Since the syncs are not daily, there are usually quite a lot of issues discussed, and it is easy to miss some agreements.

I make it a rule to post a brief list of our agreements and action items to my corporate Slack channel after each sync. It is also a valuable practice for the PM to read this list carefully later and acknowledge that everything is okay.

TIP N3: Compiled introductory notes

If there are any user quotes, reviews, requests, analytics, published research papers, and expert articles connected with the investigated problem, it would be helpful for both - Designer and Product Manager to see them all stored in one place before starting work. It can be anything that suits you best: a Jira issue, a Google doc, a presentation, a Confluence page, or a Miro board.

TIP N4: Clearly defined problem

strongly recommend that Product Designers and Product Managers put their best efforts into collaboration and work on formulating the problem together. The main point is to clearly define the problem and return to this formulation when validating design solutions.

A phrase like “The users from Company X want it to work like in Product Y” does not provide a sufficient understanding of the problem that needs to be solved; it rather looks like a solution suggestion. Personally, I do not mind when a PM offers possible solutions; the main thing is that it should not be in an ultimate form, and it’s better to have it accompanied by an explanation.

TIP N5: Common preliminary research

It can be done by both sides and even better together. For example, a Designer does a competitor analysis, and a PM organizes interviews with customers. It's great when a designer can also attend these interviews, but the meeting recording or summary can be very useful too.

It is also essential to ensure that the results of this research are stored somewhere in the system and are available at any time.

TIP N6: Visual evidence of your point of view

It works for both sides, too. The examples for that might be:

  • User flow records of other products (Mobbin Pageflow)
  • Screenshots of the reviews of your own and other products
  • Fragments of recordings of customer interviews
  • Screenshots of the support requests
  • Diagrams like mind maps, CJM, persona cards
  • Screenshots from Amplitude and Google Analytics, etc.

Since both designers and the PMs collaborate quite closely and less formally than they communicate with the leadership team, they often forget about the rules while presenting their solutions to each other. It is unnecessary to make a full presentation every time; however, a short explanation of a conclusion helps a lot with ensuring productive communication.

It doesn’t mean I don't trust a PM solely based on verbal communication, but when I'm shown the visual arguments, it feels more convincing. As a designer, I find visual information more impactful since visual materials are better perceived by us. Also, while delivering a short presentation, a designer or a PM may notice something that was mistakenly overlooked before and offer a fresh approach to the solution of the problem.


It's clear that Product Management and Product Design are two critical roles that must work closely together to create successful products. I think effective collaboration is possible with a different distribution of roles; it all depends on the agreement within the team. But in any case, it’s very important to define and record all main agreements and always try to convey your idea to your colleague as unambiguously and visibly as possible. Clear communication and mutual understanding are essential to avoid misinterpretations and ensure that everyone is aligned toward the same goals.