- Product Monk
- How to Create Engineering-friendly Product Designs?
How to Create Engineering-friendly Product Designs?
You pour your heart and soul into crafting a brilliant design. Why let it go!
As a product manager, you live in a constant state of balancing act. You juggle the aspirations of users, the ambitions of the business, and the unforgiving constraints of technical feasibility. It's a thrilling dance, but one where one misstep can derail the entire product.
Often, you pour your heart and soul into crafting a brilliant design.
You've conducted meticulous user research, meticulously aligned the product with business goals, and crafted a vision that sparks excitement.
But then, reality bites. Engineers return with furrowed brows, their faces etched with the cold truth: it's simply not feasible to build, they say.
This collision of desire and limitations is arguably the biggest challenge of being a product manager. It's not enough to be a whizz with user personas and market research; you need to be a techno-whisperer, able to understand the constraints and possibilities of the tools at your disposal.
Let’s take a deeper dive into this interesting topic!
So, Why is the Design Rejection from Engineering So Frustrating?
Sure, "not technically feasible" feels like a damp towel thrown on a bonfire of excitement. But the frustration goes beyond a deflated ego or a disappointing product unveil.
Credits: Borealis AI
Here's more to the sting of this limitation:
It's not just about a specific design falling apart. It's the crushing realization that a potentially transformative idea, something that could have revolutionized user experience or opened new revenue streams, is relegated to the realm of "what if."
It's the grief of a future unfulfilled, a missed opportunity to truly make a difference.
In a fast-paced market, every delay is a potential advantage handed to competitors. While you're grappling with technical hurdles, someone else might be building the very feature you envisioned, stealing your thunder and leaving you scrambling to catch up.
It's a race against time, and technical infeasibility can feel like a tripwire that throws you off the course.
The morale dilemma
Dealing with these roadblocks can be demoralizing for the entire team. Engineers feel the pressure to bend technology to the will of the design, product managers feel like they're constantly treading a tightrope between ambition and reality, and everyone feels the weight of unmet expectations.
It can be a recipe for burnout and a drain on creative energy.
A call to arms
But rather than wallowing in this quagmire of frustration, let's use it as a fuel for innovation. The "not technically feasible" label shouldn't be an end, but a beginning.
It's a call to arms, a challenge to push the boundaries, to think outside the box, and to find creative solutions that bridge the gap between vision and reality.
How to Navigate the "not technically feasible" Pitfall?
Navigating the "not technically feasible" pitfall as a product manager can be tough, but it's far from an insurmountable obstacle.
Credits: Benefactor Group
Here are some hopefully useful suggestions to help you turn this roadblock into a stepping stone toward a fantastic product:
1. Early and Open Collaboration
Involve engineers from the get-go:
Don't wait until your design is finalized to consult the technical team. Bring them in early and often, brainstorming ideas, discussing feasibility, and iterating together. This transparency fosters trust and avoids late-stage surprises.
Develop a shared language:
Use clear and concise language when communicating your vision to engineers. Explain the user needs and business goals behind your design, not just the technical specifications. This helps them understand the "why" behind the "what," leading to more creative solutions.
Embrace cross-functional workshops:
Organize workshops where designers, engineers, and other stakeholders can collaborate on ideation and problem-solving. This sparks diverse perspectives and can lead to innovative solutions that address both technical constraints and user needs.
2. Embrace Iteration and Agility
Break down your design into smaller, feasible chunks:
Don't try to boil the ocean with one feature. Instead, identify the core value proposition and break it down into smaller, deliverable components. This allows you to build iteratively, starting with what's feasible and gradually adding complexity as technical capabilities improve.
Not everything can be done at once. Use data and insights to prioritize features based on their impact on user needs and business goals. This ensures you focus resources on the most impactful aspects of your design, even if some features need to be deferred.
Prepare for "Plan B":
Have contingency plans in place for potential technical roadblocks. Identify alternative solutions or workarounds that could still deliver value even if the initial design can't be fully realized. This flexibility helps you avoid delays and maintain progress despite unforeseen challenges.
3. Think Creatively and Explore Alternatives
Don't be afraid to question existing limitations and explore unconventional approaches. There might be emerging technologies or innovative solutions that haven't been considered yet.
Seek external expertise:
Tap into external consultants, technology partners, or research institutions that can offer specialized knowledge and fresh perspectives on your technical challenges. Their expertise can unlock new possibilities and help you overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles.
Learn from others:
Research case studies of other companies that have faced similar technical challenges. See how they approached the problem, what solutions they implemented, and what lessons you can learn from their experience. This can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own approach.
4. Maintain Transparency and Communication
Communicate openly with stakeholders:
Don't shy away from informing stakeholders about technical feasibility challenges. Explain the situation transparently, outlining the limitations and potential alternatives. This builds trust and allows for collaborative decision-making.
Celebrate incremental progress:
Don't wait for the final product launch to celebrate victories. Recognize and acknowledge progress made on smaller features and milestones. This keeps the team motivated and focused on the ultimate goal, even if the path is iterative.
Learn from setbacks:
Treat technical infeasibility as an opportunity to learn and grow. Analyze what went wrong, identify areas for improvement, and incorporate those learnings into your future design processes. This continuous learning and adaptation will make you a stronger product manager in the long run.
Technical limitations are not the enemy.
They're simply a reality that needs to be acknowledged and navigated creatively. By adopting these strategies, you can turn the "not technically feasible" pitfall into a springboard for innovation, collaboration, and ultimately, a fantastic product that delights users and achieves business goals.
Did this edition change how you think?