Research Training

Skill theme: 
Amplifying Practice
Amplifying Practice

As the team better understands how research works, more Actionable Research Question will arise, more demand will be built into Product Roadmap, and Cadenced User Studies will demand more time than you can afford. Enable the organization to do their own research, spreading the gospel of informed decisions and allowing yourself the time to focus on higher leverage work.

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The challenge

As you gain skills in the practice, you can take on projects that are larger in impact and more flexible in scope, projects that take more time and care than those you're already comfortable carrying out. But the volume of questions that can satisfied with existing methods remains, and demand is even likely to increase.

These “simpler” studies, due to their smaller size, often carry a higher perceived urgency, even though they may not be as important as larger efforts. It’s often the case that a well-meaning researcher will take on a deceptively simple task and become unexpectedly involved in a new stream of work, dragging or delaying larger projects.

The approach

Instead of prioritizing and saying no to this work, you can delegate some of it to teammates, and offer to train them. Consider which work requires a rigorous approach and which tasks the team can take on and run for themselves. Interface-level evaluative work can be done exceptionally well, but “adequately” will also suffice—the scope of its ultimate impact is much smaller than generative work that feeds into a broader design or delivery process. The same for user interviews or IA tests around research questions with a simpler scope.

Therefore, increase your leverage and open up time for more impactful work by training your team to conduct their own testing. Start by finding a specific project where you can coach and train another team member to conduct the first sessions. Identify the core areas of support and collateral necessary for them to do the work, and create tools or training artifacts that will help other team members in their own work.

Test your tools and training format on the next few studies, ensuring teams have the right level of support to carry out the work on their own. Then, expand them to a larger audience as a training program. Outside of the scope of specific projects, send signals inside your organization that you are eager to increase the population of people familiar with carrying out research, and constantly be on the lookout for those who are curious to learn. A friendly invitation to observe or accompany your own work is the best onboarding to future training.

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Empowering others to take on the practice, and ensuring they understand the scope of its value, is a key practice in Research Evangelization. Your larger team will be able to engage with basic methods—Usability Test, User Interview, Concept Test—and require some degree of your support and participation as they do so.

Last updated:
May 18, 2020 13:05


Workshop Data:

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