Getting the timing right solved major frustration in product management. As a former engineer, I feel super frustrated when receiving design-related remarks, not because they are not valid. In fact, the remarks are extremely valid and have every right to be discussed. But, it comes at the wrong time and engineers have to bear the consequences.
"Can you make the font larger? Can you make this color darker?"
You might not hear the exact phrase in this case, but it should be something along the line. These are valid question and there is no reason to be frustrated. However, being in the engineers' shoes, this is something that should have been discussed and iterated at the design phase.
Responsible engineers prioritize their work and aim to ship according to the timeline. They followed the same agreed design and style guide to pixel perfect.
So, why are there still remark on UI related item?
Because the very same people who asked the question don't pay much attention to design iteration. The very same design, font, color is used on the prototype. With InVision or Figma, it is so easy to build a clickable prototype, but many still don't review it seriously.
Engineers work hard to ship according to the timeline, they get frustrated being slowdown by design requests. Most of the time, the UI changes are not difficult. But the request that comes in is irritating. Sometimes multiple changes are needed, and it comes one after another. Sometimes there are conflicting remarks too. Engineers are not sure who to listen to. Engineers supposedly could have ship according to the timeline with the pixel-perfect UI, but now, they have to accommodate the change request and work overtime.
1. Ensure a Proper Workflow is Established
A proper workflow needs to be established before timely feedback can be given. Whether you use the 5D Design Process or follow any other methodology practices, one should ensure that proper iteration is done in each phase.
Using the 5D (Discover, Define, Design, Develop, Deploy) as an example, we need to ensure that we iterate and resolve issues at each stage. Ideally, UI feedback should be iterate as much as possible in the design phase. The problem definition, scoping and proposed solution should be iron out in the define phase.
2. Reach out to the right people
Actively seek key personnel to help them understand the importance of review and iteration. If someone who often raises valid and good remarks on design, having him in the design review and iteration will save a lot of work.
Ensure that everyone knows how much time and effort we can potentially save if we focus on iteration at the right phase. If we leave every review to the final phase (beta) before shipping, the iteration is time-consuming and thus costly.
The same request and changes could be done at a much faster pace while in design iteration. So, as a product manager, it is our responsibility to ensure that timely feedback is given. We want to reduce the feedback that comes at the wrong time. But still want to ensure that each feedback is given proper thought at the right stage so we don't waste precious time on iteration at the final phase.