The meaning of ResearchOps: Celebrating 5 years of community

9 min readMar 8


ResearchOps Logo. What has ResearchOps meant in its first 5 years? How has it made a difference? Framing, language, connections, global, support, mentorship, varied perspectives, up to date, tools, techniques, careers, volunteering…

It’s been five years since Kate Towsey launched our thriving ResearchOps community in a tweet. It’s been a busy, formative time. You can find our key outputs on the ResearchOps.Community website: global working groups, regular community calls, a toolbox, a conference, a podcast, Medium articles, and more.

Our Slack workspace has grown into a thriving community of over 15,000 from over 100 countries with over 400,000 messages sent, continuing to validate, support, share, and grow ResearchOps practice:

ResearchOps is the people, mechanisms, and strategies that set user research in motion. It provides the roles, tools and processes needed to support researchers in delivering and scaling the impact of the craft across an organisation.

Building from the early days of defining our field, we continue to promote conversation, connection, and new knowledge within our 8 pillars. And as we cross the 5-year mark, we wanted to check in with our members to gather their point of view on what it’s all meant.

How ResearchOps has made a difference

We asked our community to contribute a piece of this article by answering:

What has the ResearchOps Community meant to you? How has it made a difference for you?

We were thrilled by the response, and the following themes will inform the upcoming work of the ResearchOps Cheese board, which serves as the body that shapes and leads the community and the content it publishes:

  1. Central to understanding, framing, and language
  2. Meaningful connections around the world
  3. Supportive answers and mentorship
  4. Varied and up-to-date perspectives
  5. Input on specific tools and techniques
  6. New jobs and careers
  7. Volunteering that makes a difference (get started volunteering)

In this article, we let members’ own words tell the story of each of these themes.

1. Central to understanding, framing, and language

  • “It had a crucial impact on my career as it helped me understand more about Research Ops” — Senior UX Researcher (Research Operations)
  • “When the community started, I was working in ReOps, only it wasn’t called that at the time. My bosses didn’t understand what we did, or why it was important. The community gifted me with the language to meet those challenges. It created an authoritative voice I could call on any time I needed.” — Brigette, ResearchOps Lead
  • “The ResearchOps Slack group is an amazing resource for people in the UX research and operations field. I discovered it while looking for research operations frameworks, and the one created by ResearchOps is by far one of the best out there” — Nelson Taruc, Design Lead, Lextech
  • “At the start, it gave me a strong foundation of understanding how much goes into good research and research teams; then it gave me an understanding of how to organise research across teams and the business, and how to organise a research team; and now, as the team grows, it’s helping me recruit my first ResearchOps person, and being able to clearly articulate why we need that person, and the impact that person will have.” — Fiona Warner, Lead User Researcher, Hargreaves Landsdown
  • “The Research Ops community is a hive mind of brilliant people who are all working on similar or different parts of figuring out what research ops is and means — across lots of different contexts. Its made such a different to me in that its given me structure to think about things and also people to ask questions of and reach out to.” — Phil Hesketh, Founder, Consent Kit, Ltd
  • “The ResearchOps community has changed how I think about UX maturity beyond the idea of a linear model in order to help companies become user-centric.” — Principal UX Researcher

2. Meaningful connections around the world

  • “The community has provided me the space to explore new connections, inspire me with new ideas and most importantly it gave me the space to belong with like-minded folks.” — Christina Tan, ResearchOps Lead
  • “I’ve made many meaningful connections across different fields and countries. I absolutely love how it is powered by common good.“ — Mark McElhaw, Experience Strategist/Researcher, Independent Consultant
  • “This community has given me opportunities to network with people I would never have otherwise.” — Janene Batten, Academic Health Librarian, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library — Yale University
  • “It has really given me a strong sense of community. It has been an excellent space to learn and to grow and to share ideas with a global community of generous Research Ops practitioners.” — Will Edmiston, Digital Services Librarian, The New School
  • “ResearchOps has connected me with a caring, knowledgeable community of people passionate about the research operations space.” — UX Researcher

And for some of the members who shared responses, we heard a real sense of belonging:

  • “It’s my tribe. As quirky as it is, It’s perfect.” — George Jensen, ReOps Lead, Nationwide Insurance
  • “The leadership in the community allowed space for new voices and opinions, including mine. Not only that, it gave me many, many dear friends. The friendships carried me through deaths, and house moves, and job moves, and a divorce. The community changed my life.” — Brigette, ResearchOps Lead
  • “Although I am a very new Board member to ResearchOps Community, I have received tremendous warmth, support and love from the Board members of this beautiful community.” — Jhanshi Mishra, Research Ops Program Manager, Salesforce

We also heard how community membership can extended a team of one:

  • “I’ve been a team of one for many years, so the ReOps community is my team, and we help, mentor, guide, commiserate, celebrate, plot, and share the hottest of hot takes together in a way I don’t have access to in my job.” — Rohan, Research Operations Manager, Deputy
  • “I’ve spent a significant part of my career as the only one in my role. The ResearchOps community first and foremost has provided literal community, full of talented, generous and open-hearted people!” — Jessica Margolin, Strategic Research Operations
  • “Being freelance means it’s useful to have support, especially on teams that lack other researchers or are new to user centred design.” — Jonathan, Freelance user researcher, Story Prospects Ltd

3. Supportive answers and mentorship

  • “I turn to the ReOps community anytime I have niche questions about ReOps or UXR that I can’t solve through an internet search. The folks within the ReOps community have always provided amazing responses and resources to help me figure out hard problems.” — UX Research Lead
  • “The ResearchOps community provides the content and connections that give me confidence in leading a research ops team. As I work on trying to solve complex and nuanced organizational challenges, there’s an amazing number of experienced and generous people willing to share their insights.” — Michael Nguyen, Research Ops & Insights Manager, Figma
  • “The ReOps Community has been a vital source of knowledge — a great place to reach out when I am trying to solve problems and tackle ReOps challenges in my org.” — Lauren, ReOps Program Manager
  • “Being part of the ReOps community is incomparably enriching. I am not aware of any other community quite like this. Being one who asks questions, I can always rely on the community to give directions, provide me with tips, or direct me to valuable resources. Being the one who answers, I learn from different backgrounds and perspectives.” — Jan Seifert, Lead User Experience Design, UID GmbH
  • “The research ops community has been a place to grow and learn from other professionals in the field. I’m grateful I have [a] place to ask questions and connect with others who are a part of the research ops world.” — Researcher I

We also heard about the openness of our community’s sharing:

  • “It’s a place to share knowledge openly, which I’ve come to realize isn’t always that common.” — Rachel Miles, UX Researcher, IBM
  • “It’s provided opportunities to meet leading researchers and ops specialists around the world, collaborate with brilliant minds on initiatives to help advance the ReOps discipline, and learn from and with others facing similar situations as myself. It’s a beacon of open knowledge sharing, kindness, and solidarity that I’m so grateful to be a part of!” — Ian Hamilton, Sr. UX Research Manager
  • “I’ve been able to learn a lot from others on how to scale research at an early stage startup. The community here has been amazing! It’s really important to have so many experts who are open to connect and answer questions without judgment.” — Vic de Aranzeta, Sr Product Designer, NCX

4. Varied and up-to-date perspectives

  • “It’s been very useful hearing multiple perspectives and learning about different challenges folks are facing.” — David Krizan, Lead Research Partner, UserZoom/UserTesting
  • “… simply scrolling through and reading conversations gives you insight, thought and opinion that you might not get elsewhere; ultimately it helps you think in a more well-rounded way.” — Mike Jongbloet, Head of Product Design and Research
  • “It’s been incredible to know I can tap into the knowledge and experience of so many Ops and Research colleagues even in the moments when I haven’t had any.” — Marielle de Geest, Senior UX Researcher, Cogo

For some members, the Slack helps them to stay up to date on the latest ReOps thinking:

  • “It enables me to keep a finger on the pulse of the community — learn what’s new, hot, trending…” — Zsombor Varnagy-Toth, UX Researcher | UX Operations Manager, Emarsys in SAP
  • “Every time I check the community I learn a lot of practical cutting edge information. In my view, it’s really what a community should be.” — Jax, Founder — Experience Strategy & DesignOperations
  • “I’ve been a lurker for some years and used it initially as a source of useful information with regards to the wider industry, and to keep tabs of best practices. Since getting more involved though, I’ve made many friends for which I’m truly thankful.” — Ange Tonge, Founder, AddMaple

5. Input on specific tools and techniques

  • “It’s also a great source of information about various methodologies and tools. Just a very solid community.” — David Krizan, Lead Research Partner, UserZoom/UserTesting
  • “The community helped on tools. Recruiting platform I think, and methods for managing qualitative research.” — Alessandro Trezzi, Senior product designer, Motork
  • “The ReOps community is one of the most kind and supportive communities I’ve been a part of. As a product manager it’s helped me level up my research skillset.” — Ned Dwyer, CEO, Great Question

Several respondents spoke to the variety of in-depth knowledge on offer:

  • “Also the discussions on tools and methods, as well as the maps, conferences, and other artifacts that ResearchOps members have collaborated upon, have broadened and contextualized my perspective.” — Jessica Margolin, Strategic Research Operations
  • “The condensed knowledge around research is amazing.” — Jax, Founder — Experience Strategy & DesignOperations
  • “It’s been instrumental in helping me get involved in things like mentorship and in learning about a wide variety of topics like research repositories and career progression.” — Anna Loparev, Senior UX Researcher, New Relic

6. New jobs and careers

  • “…it led me to move from a Senior UX Researcher role to a dedicated Research Operations specialist.” — Senior UX Researcher (Research Operations)
  • “…the opportunities I’ve had from the community have helped me get new jobs, new perspectives, and been a source of motivation to draw on when I’ve had none.” — Rohan, Research Operations Manager, Deputy
  • “My involvement gave me a lot of confidence and knowledge to transition to a new design operations role at work.” — Andy Garber-Browne, DesignOps Program Manager, JPMorgan Chase & Co
  • “The ResearchOps Community has been a great support in my user research career. I learned about an opening at the company I now work for, in a role I really enjoy.” — Tara Tressel, Lead User Researcher
  • “I started studying Research Ops right when the community was created. It makes me understand more about my career and where to put my efforts. I was planning to move from Brazil, and the knowledge I got from the community members allowed me to make it.” — Lilian Rega, UX Researcher Senior — ReOps, OutSystems (OC by Hyphen Digital)

7. Volunteering that makes a difference

Anyone interested in volunteering on ResearchOps projects can get started volunteering here

  • “It also given me the opportunity to volunteer on interesting projects that I wasn’t able to contribute in my day job. I love the flexibility of commitment that doesn’t stress me out.” — Christina Tan, ResearchOps Lead
  • “I recommend volunteering or becoming involved in any of the focused conversations which are great ways to meet people, hear new ideas and take your practice to the next level.” — Will Edmiston, Digital Services Librarian, The New School
  • “We can share our amazing skills or learn new ones by participating in community-based projects. I participated in one called the Research Operations Toolbox.” — Andy Garber-Browne, DesignOps Program Manager, JPMorgan Chase & Co
  • “A great community and opportunity to do some impactful work while I was laid off.” — Sr. Design Research Specialist

More to come

There’s is plenty left to do as our community continues to grow and mature as a field. We’re just getting started!

Thanks to all the community members who contributed to this article! View spreadsheet of all responses

We are planning a more comprehensive ResearchOps member survey. Look for it in the #reps_announcements channel of our Slack.

Not a member yet? Apply to Join Slack

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The Writing Team from the ResearchOps Community

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