A Guide to Working With Product Owners

Some tips and ideas for playing nice with your key stakeholders

Meghan Wenzel
Published in
5 min readNov 11, 2019


Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

UUX professionals work across a range of stakeholders, from product to engineering to customer support, but they work perhaps most closely with product owners. Product owners and UX professionals collaborate to understand, balance, and prioritize user needs and business needs.

Product Manager HQ provides a great summary of product and UX roles:

A product manager…

  • Is responsible for the overall success of the product
  • Coordinates with different departments and stakeholders
  • Defines requirements and prioritizes features
  • Takes on a higher-level understanding of user needs and product design

A UX professional…

  • Is responsible for the success (usability) of the product design
  • Conducts usability studies and exploratory research
  • Defines the product layout and how it will best function
  • Helps define requirements and prioritize features based on user needs
  • Takes on a very focused understanding of user needs and designs to solve user’s problems

Product owners and UX professionals need to build strong relationships and combine their expertise and experience to produce the best possible products. When it comes to deeply understanding user needs, prioritizing them against business needs, and adapting the product accordingly, some product owners are uninvolved, some are over-involved, and some are able to strike a nice balance. As a UX professional, I’ve worked with many product owners. Over time, I’ve developed some strategies for working effectively with each flavor of product owner.

The uninvolved product owner

Possible characteristics:

  • Doesn’t provide a clear product vision or direction
  • Doesn’t provide guidance around constraints and limitations
  • Doesn’t provide clear asks or prioritization for the product
  • Doesn’t work closely with…



Meghan Wenzel
Writer for

UX Researcher and Strategist — “It’s not the story you tell that matters, but the one others remember and repeat”