"Building a Culture of Success: Managing Expectations and Design Principles for Product Managers"

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Jul 09, 20233 min read


"Building a Culture of Success: Managing Expectations and Design Principles for Product Managers"


Creating a successful company culture involves managing expectations and implementing effective design principles. Expectations can be seen as a debt that must be repaid before experiencing true satisfaction in our work. Similarly, visual design principles play a crucial role in product management, ensuring that important elements are prioritized and user-friendly. In this article, we will explore how managing expectations and incorporating visual design principles can contribute to building a culture of success within organizations.

Managing Expectations:

Expectations Debt:

Expectations play a significant role in our perception of success and happiness. When a company is thriving, employees feel a sense of fulfillment, recognition, and monetary rewards. However, these expectations can become a burden if they are not grounded in reality. For example, experiencing a surge in portfolio value, hitting a high valuation as a company, or negotiating an inflated salary can lead to a temporary sense of accomplishment. But eventually, reality catches up, demanding repayment for our delusions. This repayment often comes in the form of increased pressure, higher performance expectations, and additional responsibilities. It is crucial to manage expectations and ensure that they align with realistic goals and achievements.

Design Principles for Product Managers:

Hierarchy and Contrast:

When designing new landing pages or features for a product, it is essential to establish a clear hierarchy of elements. This involves determining what is most important and ensuring that it stands out visually. By using high contrast, product managers can illuminate key points and guide the audience's attention to the most critical information. Whether it is presenting in a workshop or writing on a whiteboard, incorporating contrast can enhance communication and make it easier for the audience to grasp the main ideas.

Proximity and Color Coding:

The proximity principle in design emphasizes grouping related elements together. As a product manager, applying this principle can help users navigate and understand the product more efficiently. One practical approach is to color code elements based on their categories or the tasks they perform for the user. By grouping similar tasks together and visually differentiating them, users can easily orient themselves and find what they need. This not only enhances user experience but also contributes to a more organized and intuitive product design.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Set realistic expectations: Instead of chasing unrealistic goals or inflated achievements, focus on setting achievable targets that align with the company's capabilities and resources. This will help avoid the burden of expectations debt and promote a healthier and more sustainable work environment.
  • 2. Prioritize clarity and contrast: When presenting information or designing product features, prioritize clarity and use high contrast to highlight important points. This will ensure that your audience or users can easily understand and engage with the content, leading to better communication and user experience.
  • 3. Embrace organization and categorization: Incorporate design principles like proximity and color coding to organize and categorize elements within your product. This will make it easier for users to navigate and find what they need, resulting in a more seamless and user-friendly experience.


Building a culture of success requires managing expectations and implementing effective design principles. By understanding the concept of expectations debt and setting realistic goals, companies can create a healthier work environment. Additionally, incorporating visual design principles, such as hierarchy, contrast, proximity, and color coding, can enhance communication and user experience. By following the actionable advice provided, product managers can contribute to the overall success of their organizations and create a culture that fosters growth, satisfaction, and achievement.


  1. "Expectations Debt", https://collabfund.com/blog/expectations-debt/ (Glasp)
  2. "5 Visual Design Principles for Product Managers - Department of Product", https://www.departmentofproduct.com/blog/5-design-principles-for-product-managers/ (Glasp)

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