How my search for the ‘why’ behind what I was designing led me to Product Management.
I have always felt engaged by beautiful and well crafted products, be they physical or digital. Good design brings me joy. I began my career in Digital Design because I wanted to learn how to create user interfaces and build websites and felt that my eye for visual design could be useful in this space. This role really helped me to develop my attention to detail which has continued to help me in the roles that have followed. But, although I enjoyed creating websites and email templates I felt I was missing something. This something was a deeper knowledge of ‘why’ I was designing these pieces of collateral and I felt that this came from the client’s own strategy. I felt that by knowing how the strategy began and how it evolved, I would be able to create more informed designs in future.
I am passionate about great stories and I feel that this is something that the most engaging products have. I felt that Digital Marketing could offer a route to the answers I was looking for in how product stories are told and how a strategy comes to be. Working in this sector taught me how to think strategically, helped me become a better communicator with people in all areas of the business (in particular developers) and showed me that I have a strong desire to experiment. The experience I gained provided some answers to my ‘why’ question, but above all it highlighted to me that arguably the best marketing tool a business can have is a great product. I realised that I wanted to continue collaborating with all areas of the business, but I wanted to own the vision and the strategy for the products I was working with.
I moved into Product Management because I feel that it is this role, and it’s blurred lines with UX Design, that define the ‘why’ behind what a company is designing. I have developed a breadth of knowledge about how other departments work in a business and I enjoy organising people based on their skills and their strengths. Being a Product Manager allows me to focus on user experience, which I feel is the most valuable facet of a product because it speaks to a users emotions as well as being the means by which they solve their problem. But, most importantly, I feel that this role requires one of my greatest strengths, which is my empathy — listening to users and collaborating with others in order to innovate is something I really enjoy.
I have a strong desire to continue learning, but I feel that up to this point I have developed a unique ability to combine design principles with strategy and vision. Synthesising user and competitor research requires strategic thinking, while prototyping and wire framing utilises my desire to experiment and validate. My experience in design helps me harness creativity, and lets me think of crazy ideas, as well as informs whether what we have made is engaging and beautiful. I want to create innovative products that not only solve people’s problems, but that will leave a positive emotional impact.