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I joined a new company as a product designer a few months ago now. I'm part of a product team but I'm also part of a design team, and I'm finding some struggles in navigating between those two worlds that have completely different cultures. The main struggle I face at the moment is managing the feedback loop and the expectations. On one side I have the product team that is mainly focused on delivery on the other side there is the design team that has the goal of pushing quality and the user experience further.

Because I report in some manner to two different managers, I feel pulled in two different directions, and getting to a design that can make everyone "happy" seems to be difficult, if I focus just on delivery I disappoint the design team if I focus on designing the "north star" design I disappoint the design team because I feel like I'm being a bottleneck. I feel like it should be a balance between those two, and maybe designing the delivery and the vision at the same time. Do you have some advice for me?

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  • Is the company a product company, or some form of vendor (e.g. agency)? Is the company new, and looking to build a successful product or a company with an already established product? Dec 19, 2021 at 18:32
  • We are talking about a pretty young (10 years old) product company looking to build a successful product. We are well established in one country, and now we trying to grow also in the second one.
    – Mel
    Dec 21, 2021 at 11:51

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The short answer for me would be clear communication with both teams about the goals we are aiming for and how they can be achievable. If there is simply not enough time to deliver and improve service, it should be clear that you as a team/teams need to solve it somehow.

There are tools like retro or team health checks that can be utilized to address your concerns. But if you feel that it's urgent or there are no such processes to give feedback, I would talk to team leaders about it. It would be nice if you could suggest some solution while you point out the issue, but not necessarily (that's also your leader's job to help you). Maybe it's the case of giving you more time working on features on the product team or adding another person to the project to speed up the process.

Either way communicate that problem. If there is no quick solution, it may help you define priorities with both teams on where should be your focus right now. 💪

Good luck and ⌘N every day!

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