Product Design Meets Product Management
Hillel Cooperman is senior vice president of user experience design at Oracle, where he is transforming Oracle’s user experiences for customers. Cooperman is focused on bringing state-of-the-art, consumer-grade user experiences across devices to enterprise software scenarios. Cooperman has also been a speaker at numerous design and industry events including San Francisco Design Week, the Seattle Interactive Conference, DesignThinkers, CreativeMornings, Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference, O’Reilly Tools of Change, Microsoft Ignite, and TED.
He recently spoke at Mixpanel HQ in Seattle and discussed his experience on how product management and product design can work together for success.
As product design matures as a discipline, it has the potential to partner or conflict with established product management disciplines. All of us here at Products That Count are in favor of working together! However, there can be growing pains that can take a toll on your teams. We prefer a growth mindset that sees those growing pains turned into lessons learned. Oracle SVP of UX, Hillel Cooperman, shared how in his Speaker Series event in Seattle. We recommend the entire video, but you can read the highlights below.
On the storytelling done product design
Cooperman saw that his product design team was better than the product management team in one key area.
“The one thing, that narrow skill, that I bring to every job is taking credit for other people’s work. Excellent at it. And so I would take their beautiful work and tell my story. People were going ‘Oh, it’s fucking awesome.’ Get everyone excited.
I saw this direct correlation between the way we told stories, about what we were going to build in the product and what we’re gonna do for customers, and the designers and what they were able to do. They were able to tell stories more effectively than the PMs. They just were better at it.”
On the disconnect between design and product
According to Cooperman, there are very few major companies that are aligned between their design and product offerings.
“I would say there are four companies in the world that I know. Big companies where there is really a beautiful harmony and symmetry between the design of the promise we make to the customer and of the product and service itself. They are harmonious. Every interaction you have with the company. It feels like they’re speaking with one singular voice. Disney. Apple, Starbucks, IKEA. Oh, Nike. I think that’s it.”
On working on a unified product design
There aren’t many companies that have a fully realized unified design. It’s Apple and a few others.
“It just doesn’t happen. But it turns out that the person who’s running design for marketing and brand, Oracle is my best friend, Jenny Lam. And the person, you know, curating a bunch of the user experience design is, I mean, shockingly, me. And we’re like this! So, we created one design system for the whole company. A design system, that’s expressive, that scales, that can tell a story with its very content heavy, or that’s very interaction heavy, or somewhere in the middle. It’s all just, and it even works in physical spaces. We could even design our events using this design system.
We announced it at OpenWorld in the fall, our big event, and now we’re busy creating this unified platform. Not just pictures, but code that the whole company’s using to build all our next-generation user experiences and it’s shockingly lovely.”