ResearchOps 101

October 11, 2019 posted by

There’s a common misconception that ResearchOps is equivalent to recruiting participants for UX research. In reality, participant recruiting is only one component within a research ops practice. A specialized practice of design ops, ResearchOps is the orchestration and
optimization of people, processes, and craft in order to amplify the value and
impact of research at scale. The first building block of ResearchOps practice,
but not the only one, is participant management. This includes processes for finding,
recruiting, screening, scheduling, and compensating research study participants. It’s often low-hanging fruit, because
it’s often the most apparent and immediate need of overloaded research teams. Now if we have research participants, we have governance needs. We need consent templates, documented guidelines for obtaining and storing personal information and overall governance for participant
communication and privacy. As data begins to accumulate from our studies we need processes for managing all of the
research insights that we’re gathering as well This piece of ResearchOps is focused on collecting and synthesizing data and ensuring that data is findable and accessible to others on the UX team and beyond. The fourth area is tools. What software do we use to manage
our participant information? What programs do we use to house
all of our research findings? And what tools do we use to actually conduct research? Remote usability testing platforms, analytics or survey platforms, or video editing and audio
transcription tools to name a few. While autonomy and choice can be valuable,
auditing the research toolset to create some level of consistency across the team creates efficiencies and sharing and collaboration. Now as research scales, it’s increasingly
critical to scale research capabilities and skills. Here we’re concerned with enabling more
people to understand and do research. Tactics might be creating a playbook or
a database of research methods to onboard new members or educate
others to perform research, formalizing training or putting
mentorship programs into place. The final component to consider is advocacy. How do we define and share the value
of user research to the rest of the organization? Does the team socialize success stories and demonstrate the impact of user research? To come full circle in this, proper advocacy helps ensure resources for all
of these other building blocks. This is an ecosystem where every component both affects and is affected by the other factors. The first step and figuring out where to
start is understanding where the biggest pain points for your organization are. Are researchers overwhelmed with logistics, recruiting, and scheduling participants? Maybe participants is the starting point for you. Or is research data scattered and inaccessible to new team members? Well maybe perhaps insights
is where you should focus. Just remember when it comes to scaling research
we’re working with multiple building blocks. Evolve and expand your focus within
ResearchOps as needs shift. to maintain a balanced practice.

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