How to Actively Use Engineers for High-Quality Product Designs

Engineers should be involved in the entire product design process for success in both user experience and engineering.

April 11, 2023

3 Min Read
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Harry O’Halloran, Managing Director at Launch Consulting, a Division of The Planet Group

In the most successful product teams, each team member—as opposed to just the product owner—is obsessed with the problems their product is attempting to solve for end users. The best engineers on these teams have the curiosity to ask “why” and get to the root of the issues so they can engineer relevant new features to address those concerns. 

This active approach to product engineering is key to innovation and a high-quality user experience. It’s juxtaposed with the more-passive approach that engineers can take, which is looking at their role as more of an order taker that simply follows instructions on what to build. As a critical part of the overall product puzzle, it’s important that engineers feel empowered to take an active role and are being used actively throughout the entire product creation process.

Here are some ways to ensure that gets done.    

Utilizing User Feedback for Engineering Designs

User feedback can be an instrumental aspect of how a product is successfully engineered. For example, we help our clients build and leverage business intelligence (BI) tools to provide data insights and storytelling through visual analytics. The challenge is that often, end users can’t describe what they need or don’t even understand “the art of the possible” of how things can be accomplished with BI tools. Instead of building a working end product or dashboard and then soliciting feedback, companies can better understand end user needs by rapidly putting designs or prototypes in front of them to quickly receive feedback on what would provide value and what wouldn’t. These types of techniques are just some of what are called “Design Thinking.” What this means for engineers is that they can then determine the right thing to build prior to actually investing or spending time on building it.

Get Engineers Involved Early

It’s important for engineers to be involved early in the design thinking process, which enables them to influence the product design. So, as product and user experience designers focus on how they may solve a particular problem, engineers can join that process to help guide the group to a solution that not only provides a great end user experience but also is efficient in developing/manufacturing, is performant, and is maintainable. This triad of product, UX (or HX), and engineering is crucial in working together to design solutions that balance these variables, which is both an art and a science. 

Test and Learn

Product teams that are able to get new products and/or features out to end users quickly in an iterative fashion benefit from customer reaction, feedback, and added proposition value. This is called a test and learn approach. It can be done via a number of different methods, depending on how early feedback is desired, ranging from putting early-stage designs in front of customers, to rapid prototyping, to multivariate testing in production software. Engineers should be a part of these types of sessions and/or understand the analytics coming from usage data to better understand what is resonating with customers, what provides value, and how to pivot accordingly. 

And when it comes to incorporating user feedback, engineers should be encouraged to raise their hand as a volunteer for user testing sessions. Often, these sessions typically only have one Tech Lead or Senior Engineer that is part of those conversations. With an engineer on board, the engineering team will glean first-hand accounts of what the end users want and need. This will only help the design be better and more targeted.


It’s important to ensure that engineers are involved in the entire product design process from the start. Whether it’s through testing to verify that solutions are performable and maintainable, or ensuring the triad of product UX and engineering are working in complete harmony, utilizing engineers actively throughout is essential to promote efficiency moving forward.

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