Development Cycle Coupling

Skill theme: 
Integration with Delivery Cycles
Integration with Delivery Cycles

Leveraging past projects for Research Evangelization or in building a Design / Product Strategy, you gain more freedom to shape how the research process works in the organization. To maintain the impact of your work, take care to give research the right amount of time to succeed, and schedule the work with a tight coupling between when you learn and your ability to act on it.

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The challenge

In iterative work, research that isn't well-coupled to the larger design/development process sees its pathway to impact lengthen, and the excitement around its possibilities goes stale. Longer research efforts, aligned to calendar cycles, are often planned to deliver results at the same time the plan is just finished for the next long cycle.

The approach

Consider how much time it takes to move from insights to real potential action: designed experiences, technical / development approaches, experiments, or operational changes. Identify the distance from output to desired outcomes, and the types of follow-up activities that must be complete before the work can be offered for implementation. You can work with cross-functional partners to understand this timeline and backfill the best timeline for research projects or program work.

Therefore, plan the research starting backwards from where there is organizational capacity to deliver in it. In fast moving organizations, keep research limited in scope, break larger activities into sprint-cycle efforts that will progressively deliver value. For larger environments or foundational work, start from the next longer-term planning cycle. Identify the duration of dependent activities and scope the work (all of it) to deliver before the planning cycle begins. Keeping your results off the shelf so you can use them right away requires a clear understanding of who is consuming them, how, and when they will be hungry.

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You may find Cadenced User Studies a useful pathway to alignment. Good longer term and foundational insight unlocks the door to higher impact, and may be your path to shaping the Product Roadmap

Last updated:
Apr 26, 2020 19:16


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Data from our 2019 workshops - 486 research practitioners voting on their top three useful skills / top three desired skills.
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