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UX Manager... Aumm... so what do you do?  Role of an ideal UX Manager

Reading time: 15 mins  I  Scanning time: 6 mins  I  Grasp time: 30 mins (approx.)  I  Sept 30, 2021  I  by Saikat Roy

Image by Austin Distel

Photo courtesy of Unsplash!

"I saw you are a UX Manager in LikedIn, so what do you do?"
- "ah.. things like UX and stuff... managing the UX"
- "Right! So what do you manage in UX?"
- "Things like the flows, wireframes, visual design and all things UX"
- "Right so are you an Individual Contributor, or to be precise, a senior UX designer?"
- "ah sometime I do contribute, sometime manage UX, and .... I don't know!!"

This is how a pragmatic talk goes with 60% of UX manager profiles. To start with the problem of terminologies, it's an organisational issue. Or an industry issue which have not yet formalised the practice and roles for each and every step of the UX ladder.

And to be open about it, we are not here to redefine the system on what works best for each and every organisation or domains. But, we are going to talk about an introspective cause for "why organisations have such designations" and "what an ideal or efficient UX Manager is supposed to do (plus and minus included).

Why organisations have such designation?
Well, there's a mix of both legitimate and illegitimate reasons behind it. Let's start:
- (legitimate) The team needs a manager to handle the stakeholders and design operations
- (illegitimate) The company want to woe the prospective job applicants with a fancy and respectable job title which is actually an IC role
- (legitimate) The team is growing and in need of a leader to manage the team to move in a guided direction
- (illegitimate) The job applicant was previously holding a manager position, and even though the money is better for the next IC role, the applicant requested for the fancy title so that it does not look awkward in his profile
- (legitimate) The company is hiring a manager who then will build the new design team
- (illegitimate) The company need a new title for promotion of it's existing lead or senior designers, so choose a manager title with the same IC role
- (legitimate) There's too much burden and responsibility on the head of design or sometimes head of product which is effecting the designers reporting to him and thus they are looking for a UX manager who can manage project, manage team, and look for their development goals.

So, probably after looking at all these variants of legitimate and illegitimate motives behind the title UX manager, one might wonder, what an ideal UX manager is supposed to do?

And thus, based on my personal experience, I have jotted down
the role of an ideal UX manager

But before we dive deep into the role, let's take a look at some of the other titles and designations within the product design spectrum and where an UX Manager fits in.


This is particularly the role structure in Atlassian and yes it works for their enterprise products spectrum. But this is one of the clearest one-image-show that defines the difference between most of the current roles within a product design team spectrum.

To broadly classify, a UX Manager is definitely not an individual contributor. They work with teams and bring the best out of a team work, rather than being a rockstar in his/er own little island.

Here are a summary of varied roles you may find a UX manager might be doing (plus and minus) as in 2021 in the digital product design industry.


Summary of varied roles for UX manager in the digital product industry (2021)

to be continued... with rest of the article

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