Sep 22, 2020

Entering product design – Chapter 6: Narrow collaborator

Similar minds challenge nothing from each other.

It’s more comfortable to surround yourself with people with a similar mind. There is a reason you love to hang out with your best friend. Maybe you shared a similar background, memories, or beliefs. You already build that common ground for years.

On the other hand, when you meet new people, you will start from the surface. You’d try to understand what she does for a living, what she thinks of a particular topic, or you might be curious about her background.

Getting to know new people with different backgrounds and mindset requires more time and energy. A similar situation could occur when you are working in a team. When you work with a product manager or an engineer, you’ll realize not only their disciplines are very different from you, but they also have a diverse background in their life.

A few product designers are very comfortable around the researcher or content strategist because they share a similar mindset. This attitude creates a subgroup collaboration and neglects the other part of the team.

I also observed that a few product designers would be good at collaborating with their product managers but detached from their researchers or engineers.

You get the idea. It’s what I called a narrow collaborator – that is when the product designer decided to engage with a small portion of the team closely.

I must say, it’s not easy to jump into the team and suddenly collaborate with everyone. Even the seasoned product designer will gradually move from this state to the radical collaboration.

The consequence of this attitude is a narrow perspective baked into the work, often resulting misalignment in the team. For example, the solution might be valuable for the customer and viable for business, but not the most optimal one for the goal because the feasibility is heavy to develop.

The interpretation of the problem and effort will be different when you think alone compared when you feel together with everyone in your team. The more context you get, the harder your job will be to connect the dots – but that’s the reality. You can choose to avoid it, but in the end, your team must face it. The quantity of the ideas contributed to the solution will different too. A probability of success will increases as you collaborate with the right people in the room.

Imagine how you would create product marketing if you don’t have any expert in the room who understands the constraint and the best approach to market your product into a specific audience.

What’s stopping you from inviting legal, marketing, engineers, or business team into your thinking session?

Challenge yourself to broaden up the participation in your thinking process.





Sep 30

When was the last time you reflect?

Sep 29

Methods are tools

Sep 24

How can I get a bigger project?

Sep 23

Entering product design – Chapter 7: Craft and analysis

Sep 22

Entering product design – Chapter 6: Narrow collaborator

Sep 21

Entering product design – Chapter 5: Soloist product designers

Sep 17

Entering product design – Chapter 4: Product designer key skill areas

Sep 14

Entering product design – Chapter 3: Misunderstanding of business

Sep 11

Entering product design – Chapter 2: Principles over steps

Sep 10

Entering product design – Chapter 1: Silver bullet

Sep 10

Entering product design – Overview

Sep 04

SAR: A framework for concise storytelling

Aug 27

Start your design with outcome

Aug 24

New medium post: Collaboration ground for design systems

Aug 17

Action points

Aug 13

Pulse check: Listen to your team

Aug 11

You should actively apply for a new job

Aug 10

Design systems' area of influence: Service (3/3)

Aug 04

Design systems' area of influence: Offering (2/3)

Aug 03

Design systems' area of influence: Identity (1/3)

Aug 01

My mom ran me to the hospital

Jul 29

Reader question: Do we need to build MVP for every product?

Jul 27

Reader question: Do I need formal design education?

Jul 24

Recognize assumptions

Jul 21

Sandbox for your personal growth

Jul 20

Start your week with questions

Jul 17

Specificity in feedback

Jul 15

Don't sell the design. Sell the business impact

Jul 14

Overwhelming inspiration

Jul 13

The framing trap

Jul 10

Everyone vs. Specific

Jul 09

The blind horse designer

Jul 08

Set the context in your meeting

Jul 07

Let's just try and see what happens

Jul 06

Managing expectation

Jul 05

Low UX maturity company

Jun 17

A simple exercise for career reflection

May 31

The “Coach sheet” – A paper-based system for people management

May 26

Bring calm to your remote team

Feb 13

Workshops can be more efficient than meetings

Feb 07

3 questions designers should be asking

Feb 06

Walking 1on1: A refreshing way to connect


Nov 21

My hope for stubborn 'Innovators'

Jul 18

Five simple actions to help you gain more time

Apr 23

Evolving Product Experience Principles at Bukalapak

Mar 09

A framework to give better design feedback: Analyze, Discuss, Suggest

Jan 28

Making a decision is hard, here's my rule of thumb


Dec 04

Essential skills for Product Designers

Nov 16

Quick life update

Nov 06

Things I learned from working at Shopify

Oct 15

About design critique

Sep 17

Common icon design problems you should avoid

Sep 06

Preface: Welcome to