Episode 55 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with Hà Phan, the Director of Discovery at Pluralsight. Hà came to this role from GoPro, where she was a principal UX designer. Our conversation focused on the transition from UX design to product leadership.
Among the differences between the two roles, Hà called out the fact that leaders must provide their teams with a path to clarity:
I think the difficulty was between the role I have now, or the delta between the role I have now versus being a UX designer is that, you know, it’s really a leadership role to basically provide the path to clarity. When you have a vision, even as a seasoned UX designer, you’re going to present forth this vision. And usually there’s a thousand questions and a thousand steps before you get there, right? And usually, you don’t get there entirely. You know, you don’t get to the vision entirely the way you had envisioned it. You’re going to take turns, right? And I think in this role, what I get to do is that I get to enable the team to find that path to clarity, and to provide the milestones or the mission for each of the goals along the way.
Finding and illuminating this path requires (among other things) asking the right questions and making things:
when you’re faced with a lot of unknowns, whether it’s feasibility or just the problem is vast, what I normally do is I try to get the engineering team to build something, anything.
Hà’s approach strikes me as a designerly way of leading; an inspirational example for designers tasked with taking on broader responsibilities. I hope you find as much value in our conversation as I did.