Christian Crumlish – Product Management for UX People

Christian Crumlish

UX Leadership Consultant & Author, Design in Product

Christian Crumlish is a product and UX leadership consultant at Design in Product, where he also hosts a product/UX community. He is currently leading the product management of for the state of California’s Office of Digital Innovation. He has been a startup mentor at Code for America and StartX. Christian earned an AB at Princeton in philosophy, where he graduated sine laude.

Formerly, he was head of product at 7 Cups, winner of the 2016 Stanford Medicine X Prize for health systems design and a 2019 World Economic Forum Pioneer. He has also co-chaired the monthly BayCHI program, was senior director of product at CloudOn, was director of messaging products for AOL (AIM), was the last curator of the Yahoo design pattern library, and served two terms as a director of the late lamented Information Architecture Institute.

He is the author of the bestselling Product Management for UX People: From Designing to Thriving in a Product World, The Internet for Busy People and The Power of Many, and co-author of Designing Social Interfaces. Christian lives in Palo Alto with his wife, Briggs Nisbet, and an ever-growing collection of ukuleles.

For more, keep up with Christian at or on Twitter as @mediajunkie.

Product Management for UX People

“Why is a product Manager telling me what to do?” “Plus, how is software even a product?” “What do product managers want and why are they so frustrating?” Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions? Meet product managers where they live. They make decisions all day long. They don’t get to say “it depends.” Most of the time they don’t actually make the decision—they just make sure it gets made right. They have to keep the build, measure, learn cycle. They have to cajole engineers. They have to persuade stakeholders to support a focused roadmap. Have some sympathy for the PM.

I feel your pain. It can be a struggle to influence product direction (before it’s too late). It’s not easy to coax requirements out of PM partners. Presenting design & research work can feel like speaking a different language. How product managers generally prioritize initiatives can be opaque. These pain points are widespread because UX and PM roles are still feeling out how to work well together. What can you do?

Use your UX superpowers: Bring your creative problem-solving superpower to the table through your command of art, craft, and communication. Overcome the challenged of synthesizing product research with your systems thinking. Lend your taxonomy wisdom, whether via IA or content strategy, to your product partner’s amorphous model. Contribute your contextual inquiry and qualitative research skills to get beyond the what of data to the why of understanding. Facilitate the prioritization and alignment needs of the product behind all those workshop hours with the stickies and the dot voting. But most of all, design a good friggin’ user experience for the people trying to work with you.