Differences between PM, PO, and UX - lines in job tasks?



I recently switched roles at my company to UI/UX. I am the first and only person in our company to have this designated role, but I’m having issues setting boundaries for what I should be doing vs our PM who started before me.

Before the both of us, the company had big lack of communication with our users, but when our PM started, they went through the process of setting up user interviews, building a beta program, and reviewing all customer ‘feature requests’ with our PO. They’ve been great in talking to and getting product feedback from our users and deciding on ‘features’ or ‘issues’ that would best benefit our customers and should get built out.

Currently, I’m documenting user flows, building wireframes, designing the UI and doing user testing throughout. Whenever user testing is needed, I build the test and the PM will send it over to clients. They’re currently the bridge between me and my company’s customers. What are the biggest differences in regards to customer communication between UX and PM? I obviously want to build a relationship with customers and have them at my disposal to ensure that everything is being built with them in mind, but I don’t want to confuse clients by being a second person ‘jumping in’ or essentially ‘stealing’ the PM’s hard work in gathering the user base.

Who does what in your company? Any advice on how to work together with PM in this regards?

Thank you! :slight_smile:


Hi @andrea00

Argh, that sounds frustrating. Have you seen the transcript of a session we ran last year where we talked about the relationship between PMs and UXers? Might have some helpful tips.

@joenatoli will likely have some great advice here too.


I haven’t! I’ll take a look - thanks! :slight_smile:


As a user experience professional my opinion is obviously biased however I’ve never heard of a project manager taking on the user experience interview role. You were documenting the design, building the wireframes and designing the user interface. You have an intimate knowledge of the product. Observing a user struggle with your design will give you invaluable insight on how to fix it and what to do in future design work. Since I don’t know your specific situation (maybe they’re uncomfortable with your interview experience or maybe you’re uncomfortable with it, I don’t know obviously) I can only advise that if you haven’t already read up on UX interview techniques review some of the books, videos and war stories that are out there so that you have a firm grasp of interviewing techniques and really push to be that person who conducts these interviews. It’s a tremendous career builder to have this skill in your UX portfolio. I won’t even take a job if I can’t have direct access to the users of my UI to test. I’ve spoken to a lot of companies and whenever I hear hesitation I press them to make absolutely sure that my job is going to include the lead role in user interviews. I believe it’s a must have in a UX architects role.



Thanks Ryan. It’s a little bit of a weird situation at my company since the PM started before I switched roles to UX. As there wasn’t anyone on the team in a UX role, there was a need to build a relationship with the customers and they started that process.

It’s an awkward scenario now that I find myself in as I don’t want to ‘barge in’ on the work that they’ve done, but I do essentially want to take over or at least join in this aspect.


No problem, On that topic however I should say I’ve worked in environments where the PMs were essentially sales and support for our clients too. That was a good role for these individuals. They were excellent at managing project timelines and soothing nervous clients too. It’s that’s a great job for them, it’s a shield for you too. Their involvement in that capacity can allow you to do your interviews and UI work without having to take any phone calls or flack from the client.


This might help too


That was a really great read. It helped a lot!



@andrea00, the question I want to ask you is this: why does it have to be only one (or the other) of you?

Why not work as a team, each playing to your specific strengths? I’ve suggested to this to several orgs I’ve consulted with where PMS had a solid grasp of UX but not quite the level of focus that a UXer does. Vice versa, the PM has the ability to inject order and structure, which leaves the UXer free to focus on abstract people issues.

Talk it out; see if there’s a way for you both to do the work together, each playing to your strengths.


Thanks @joenatoli :slight_smile: