Caveat: Yes, this is absolutely true for freelancers — they’ve always been the all-in-one package. That’s always been true and is not new.

For in-house/agency designers — Yes, this article describes my experience pretty perfectly. (I rarely have a dedicated project manager and have never had a business analyst), but I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing. It just shows that project managers and business analysts are undervalued and designers like me end up picking up the slack. It makes sense–when you’re doing the design, you have the fullest picture and can most easily pick up the work.

But, as I’m finding, especially in medium-large projects, I just can’t bear the load of everything. I had a project recently where I threw the white flag and asked our project management team to assign someone to it because I was spending way too much time handling the management and not actually doing the design work. PM and Business work is not to be trifled with.

Should designers pick up business and project management skills and grow in them? Absolutely. I fully believe that the more skills we pick up in areas tangential to our own, the better co-workers we are. You need to have a good understanding of the business. You need to be able to identify dependencies since you’re creating them in the design. But we as an industry don’t need another whole job function to be tacked onto an already huge expectations list.

In short, it’s a huge relief when I do have a good project manager and business analyst to work with. I think I’ll go send a thank you email to them right now.

Digital Designer

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