What UX can learn from product strategy, and vice versa

Posted August 9, 2010 in strategy, user centred design  |  1 Comment so far

Dirk Kneymeyer of Involution Studios writes on his blog about how he’s losing faith in UX. He’s reacting primarily to an article by Whitney Hess characterising start-ups as being focused on the what rather than the who, why or how.

One of Kneymeyer’s central points is that product strategy and user experience are ultimately different domains, and that user experience professionals aren’t typically the most qualified people to define product strategy.

I’m inclined to agree with that point. Because user experience, as an emerging discipline, is still consolidating many of its techniques and methodologies, there’s an exuberant tendency that often sees UX extending its dominion into other areas. This can sometimes be appropriate – it’s a good thing, for example, that user experience practitioners increasingly concern themselves with content strategy –  but in other cases it blurs the definition of what user experience is, and it can sometimes come across as disrespectful towards professionals in other fields.

There is an obvious overlap between user experience and product strategy, centred around scenario planning. But even this exercise works very differently in a user experience context than it does in a strategy & planning one. Scenario planning in a strategic context involves having to discard or gloss over some issues that are central to ‘traditional’ UX, while becoming obsessed with details that a typical UX project would leave to one side.

My experience of working with people who specialise in product strategy is that it’s a well developed field in its own right. Yes, it can learn from experienced UX professionals (and it knows it can – I’ve noticed increasing interest in UX from product & business strategy teams in the last two years), but the opportunities for learning are reciprocal and not just one-way.

1 comment so far.  Post a comment

  1. November 2, 2011 at 4:37 am [ Permalink

    I have also learned lot of stuff from this article. Business strategy leaves good effect on business.

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