For software-based products, the world of user experience (UX) and product management are very close. If you want your customer to be happy with the product, a product manager needs to be on board with the UX design process. So, without any delay, let’s find out the tips for getting them onboard with UX research. 

Why should you get product manager onboard with UX research? 

Before sharing tips, it’s essential to understand the importance of having a strategic onboarding plan for product managers and the product team.

  • After starting a new job, almost 1/3rd of employees start searching for a new job within six months.
  • A new employee reaches full productivity after six to eight months.
  • In most cases, 20% of the employee turnover takes place within one and a half months.
  • In companies with longer onboarding programs, employees can get full proficiency.
  • A formal onboarding program increases the PM’s satisfaction by up to 20%.

PMs can help onboard themselves by using different resources online. But a proactive approach and a smart strategic plan can help them and your product team with UX research.


6 tips for getting your product manager onboard with UX research

Now you understand the importance of getting your project manager onboard. The next most important thing is how to make it happen. What is the best process? Follow the tips or steps below.


  • Discuss expectations from day one

When you hire a new product manager, they’re blind and don’t know about your company’s priorities. Therefore, almost 60% of the businesses fail to achieve their goals or milestones. So, the best practice is to discuss both short and long-term expectations with them on the first day.

Remember, the role of a product manager will be different in different companies, but in this case, you need to take them on board with the UX research process. You can do it in many ways. First of all, sit with your PM and share your expectations and aims. It will help you develop specific goals for your product manager.

You can have your expectations and goals ready so that you can discuss them with your new product manager on the first day. Both these practices are acceptable.


  • Familiarize your product manager with the team and the product

It’s another valuable tip for getting product managers on board with the UX design process. For example, in the case of products, provide access to all tools and information to your new product manager. It’s essential to provide access because your product manager will also be playing around with the product one day.

When granting access, ensure that the product manager has access to the product roadmap, backlog, marketing campaigns, usage information, product research, and previous marketing campaigns. Secondly, the product manager should be familiar with the product team. It’s also as important as the understanding of the product.

The product manager will be meeting and dealing with everyone. Therefore, they need to know about the team. The more they know about the team and product, the better they’ll perform.


  • Pair your product managers (if there are more than one)

It happens rarely but if it’s applicable in your case, then pair your new and existing product managers. You can speed up the onboarding process by allowing your new product manager to attend the meeting with a product team. In this way, the manager will be able to figure out how things work at your company.

More importantly, it will help them understand how cross-functional teams work together, how meetings run, how strategies are made and executed, and finally how UX research is conducted.


  • Allow product manager to shadow other departments 

In any company, there are different departments. Product managers can perform best when they’re familiar with all departments. Therefore, you should explain to your product manager how the development team works, how the marketing team sells the product, and how things happen firsthand.

Ensure that when you do this, it doesn’t upset your team’s workflow. The best practice is to let your product manager watch how the development team operates and how sales calls are made, and let them stand in your daily stand-ups.


  • Allow product manager to use product from the beginning

This tip can help you speed up the onboarding process significantly. When you hire a new product manager, they’ll be thinking about the company and the product. Moreover, they’ll not pay attention to what’s going around. On the other hand, when you straightaway allow them to use the product, it will help them understand things in a better way.

This practice can help your managers in different ways. For example, they can get an unbiased view of the product before talking to anyone in the product team. Moreover, you can ask them to share their thoughts about the products or their opinions about their first impression of the product.

These onboarding practices can help product managers understand what they need to do to improve the UX design process and products over time.


  • Always be available

When you hire a new product manager, or an existing product manager is assigned a new task, there will be some challenges during the first few weeks and even months. So, you should be available to answer their questions and help them through difficult times.

Spare some time and sit with the product manager to discuss and resolve their concerns, impressions, and observations. It can be beneficial for both the company and the product manager. So, ensure that you’re always available to help and answer their queries.

These tips can help you get your PM onboard with UX research, design and development, and finally, for marketing your product.


Mistakes to avoid when onboarding PMs

We have discussed some best practices and tips for onboarding product managers. The next step is to find mistakes that you should avoid when onboarding product managers with UX research. These mistakes are why most employees start to look for new jobs within 6 months.


  • Don’t rush with a checklist of product

When you hire new product managers and want to get them on board, don’t get tactical too soon. The product manager needs time to process information about your company, product, and target market. So, don’t bombard them with a list of to-do tasks.


  • Don’t leave everything to the product manager

Another common mistake that most companies make is to leave everything to the product managers to figure out. Ensure that you have a documented process that you can share with your product manager. Follow all the tips mentioned above to make the process smooth for everyone, especially for a PM.


  • Review and tweak the onboarding process

The best practice is to make the onboarding process systematic.  But most companies fail to re-examine the strategy. Moreover, the best approach is to review and tweak the onboarding process. Find out things that are working fine and figure out what needs to be improved.


  • Don’t put all the burden on one person

No doubt, there is massive responsibility on the shoulders of product managers, but it doesn’t mean that you can leave everything to them. Remember, they will be dealing with all the departments, and their role will affect the entire organization. So, avoid putting the entire burden on one person. Instead, prepare a set of responsibilities along with your company and department policy and give it to your product manager.

Getting a PM on board is a critical process, so you should take it seriously, and it must be done strategically.


Final Words

It’s not easy to bring a product manager onboard. It can significantly affect your product team and the product itself. More importantly, it can help you make your current and future products successful when you do it right. But the success of onboarding will depend on how you introduce them to your company and their roles.

So, ensure that you develop a systematic and strategic plan for onboarding your PM. Otherwise, you can’t be successful with UX research and the UX design process.


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