Research Ops at Barcelona

On June 19, a group of UX met at InfoJobs to explore together what is Research Ops. It was not an isolated initiative, #ResearchOps is an international community leaded by @TeamReOps with local teams that now operate in 30 cities on 5 continents.

What is Research Ops?

Research Ops seeks to operationalize research. The objective of the local teams is to explore what is to be operationalized.

UX Designers, Researchers, Heads of UX, Project Managers and one Data Analyst.

The workshop began by exploring the barriers of research tasks.

The challenges: What research operational challenges have you experienced?

User recruitment, lack of time, having the support of the organisation or communicating the results of the research are the most common challenges for User Researchers.
  • Recruitment: finding the right users, having access to the needed user profiles, having a sufficient sample or depending on external companies.
  • Lack of time: contemplating the time to do research in planning, not having enough time to do research or sharing the results in an agile way in a very short time.
  • Support of the organisation: selling the benefits of research, confidence in the work done or celebrating the user’s day to get visibility.
  • Communication: adapting results to different audience profiles, sharing information in the short and long term or communicating results effectively.
  • Return on investment: reaching an agreement on what should be researched, triggering the results or to delimiting the objectives to focus on the business objectives.
  • Logistics: taking notes while moderating, having simultaneous translation or solving sound problems in the recording sessions.
  • Teamwork: involving other teams in the sessions, improving the communication with developers or communicating what has been learned to the team.
  • Dedicated space: setting up the lab, having an adequate space to do tests with users or having an observation room.
  • Access to data: difficulties in drawing conclusions due to lack of data, not having the information collected or not having access to the tools that have the data.
  • Integration of knowledge: having tools to organize the information, connecting personas, insights, roles and environments or integrating knowledge from different sources of information (qualitative and quantitative).
Explorando ideas by teams.

The next question to explore was about the successes achieved in the research.

The achievements: what are your operational successes, if any?

Drawing conclusions as a team, validating hypotheses through experiments, achieving KPIs thanks to research or changing the perspective of stakeholders are the most sought after successes by User Researchers.
  • Teamwork: integration of the researcher into the product team, participation of the team in the investigation or drawing conclusions as a team.
  • Protocols: having a script and a template to analyze the results, making pilots of the sessions or making experiments to validate hypotheses.
  • Return on investment: dedicating time to set objectives, achieving KPIs thanks to insights obtained during the research or understanding who the project is for.
  • Value of the research: listening to the users, changing the perspective of the stakeholders or obtaining knowledge that helps improving the product.
  • Agile: combining long and short term, reducing revision cycles or doing more cycles with fewer users.
  • Integration of knowledge: combining qualitative and quantitative data or having a good coordination with the data team.
Of the four in the photo, who is the data analyst?

Then we explored the points we need to improve in our respective organisations.

Where do you see opportunities to improve research operations in your organisation?

User Researchers want to change their organisations to place the users in the center of the business, participate in the strategy, get the involvement of the Scrum team or have the necessary resources to do research.
  • Value of research: users in the real center of the business, weight of the insights in business decisions, participation of UX in the definition of the strategy.
  • Teamwork: involvement of the scrum team in getting to know the users, participation of the stakeholders, real-time communication of the progress of the research to the team.
  • Budget and time: having more people and software resources, having full-time dedicated researchers or more time to analyze the results.
  • Education: celebrating activities to give visibility to UX, evangelizing about UX in the organisation or having developers asking why more or thinking more about users.
  • Integration with data: easier access to web analytics, sharing and crossing data or integrating data teams into product.
  • Library: having a platform with success stories, having a space with insights and shared knowledge or a common organisation of documentation.
  • Protocols: having a more standard activity for the analysis of insights, sharing and using the same documentation scheme or having a well-defined work method.
  • Agile: having less interest in creating prototypes and more in user research, making shorter cycles, simplify reporting, improvising and acting.
  • Tools: having more specific tools for taking notes during research, having more free tools or more resources for tools and logistics.
  • Value of research: not hearing again “I believe…” without a “let’s find out”, getting more confidence from the stakeholders to do research or providing value to the research.
Sharing ideas with the team.

And at this point of the workshop came the million dollar question.

What do you think ResearchOps includes?

If you were to implement a ResearchOps function in your organisation, whatever size it is, what would you include in the list of things to build/make/get/do?
The tasks of Research Ops include facilitating the communication of results to managers and the team, taking care of the research processes, choosing the most appropriate research tools and training and guiding the researchers.
  • Evangelize: educating management about research, providing an organisational structure that facilitates the communication of results to stakeholders and the team.
  • Protocols: taking care of the research process, defining the methodologies and the framework of the work or providing best practices and standards.
  • Tools: choosing the tools to automate tasks, selecting the tools that fit the research process, discovering new tools and manage licenses.
  • Professional development: training and mentoring of the researchers, personalize training, elaborating the capacity and maturity matrix of the researchers.
  • Logistics: coordinating of the research, sorting out the logistics of the tests (rooms, recruitment, agenda, transcriptions, etc.).
  • Library: organizing research information, getting a shared platform of insights and knowledge; or sharing, maintaining and disseminating the library.
  • Research leadership: being aware of new trends and recommending research methods relevant to each situation.
  • Staff: finding new team members and managing the team.
Concentrated on the workshop tasks.

After this question, we gathered ideas to assess whether to give continuity to the community and concluded the workshop.

The results of the Barcelona workshop have already been shared with the organizing team. If you want to be aware of the progress you can follow TeamReOps on Twitter, or TeamReOps on Medium.

And if you want to participate in the meetings that the Schibsted UX team organizes at Barcelona, you can join the meetup group UXer Team.

Thank you very much to all the attendees for sharing your knowledge and time. 🙌

Este artículo también fue publicado en castellano.