Designers like to be creative, and for real creativity then instructions on what to design need to detailed enough to give context and vision, whilst not being too prescriptive.

The PMs role is to provide all the necessary jigsaw pieces, but leave the designer alone to bring them all together into a coherent picture.

If you’re a PM who likes to wireframe (as I am), then use your wireframes with caution. Use them when there’s already a design framework to work within, and all you’re doing is identifying the different elements on the product.

Using wireframes with a designer when there are big design challenges to overcome can lead to bias, and therefore restricted thinking, which invariably doesn’t lead to the best end result. Sometimes just a user flow or list of use cases will suffice.

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Talking to a designer is always the best way to get across your brief, supported by some documentation. You need to let them ask questions, as you can guarantee your brief won’t have covered everything they’ll want to know.

Provide insightful feedback that a designer can actually do something with. Rather than “I just don’t like it” tell them specifically what’s not right about it. is it the focus of attention, the priority of information, the user user flow? They want details not vagueness.

Finally, fight their corner! It takes a lot of effort and a lot of talent to create product designs, so don’t let the engineering teams ride rough shod over them. Show the designs, and designers, some respect, and let their designs live without having to live with stray pixels, or grotesque gradients.

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