At ClassPass, I was one researcher supporting five project squads. At the beginning of each research project, I’d sit down with stakeholders to turn loose, unfocused questions into a research plan.

Initially, I wanted to enforce that research wasn’t a stuffy and formal resource: the extent of the request “process” was sending a message on Slack. We’d immediately dive into the brain dump: a creative and meandering conversation, usually starting with a vague question like, “Is this confusing for people?” …

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