Product Makers Product Talks

Boosting user research impact

Steve Portigal

On April 6, 2023 Steve Portigal joined us to talk about how organizations can operate user research programs with greater maturity, engaging stakeholders to maximize influence and impact.

Key takeaways

  • It’s important to have the conversation about what we do before research is conducted, what we do during, and what we do after to maximize the impact of our user research work and to shift our organizations towards more mature research practices
  • Steve touched on some best practices that he’s seen and used before, during, and after, including:
  • Before:
    • Defining your research objectives — so you’re clear on what you don’t know
    • Tracking what you do know from your various research work and findings so everyone has the historical information they need and to help with onboarding new team members
    • Asking questions before thinking about how you’ll store your research — needs of your users, reporting, what will be stored, and how things will be used.
    • Leveraging kickoffs to get aligned on what you’re going to do, what you aim to understand, and what decisions you need to help with
    • The value in having a research guide that your teams can use to assist them in being helpful research collaborators and interviewers.
  • During:
    • Establishing systems and connecting tools to make your research activities efficient
    • Making time to debrief post interview and find space
    • Sharing field highlights and communicating outward about what you are learning
    • Summarizing work — what you’re thinking about and hearing
    • The importance of prioritizing knowledge transfer and ownership to make your research actionable
  • After:
    • The value in sharing perspectives and learnings that have come from the users we spoke to in our user research
    • Effectively marketing the research we do — making others aware of the outputs and  learnings, setting the stage for the future, and ensuring the work we do is visible and that others are aware
  • Structural
    • Worth the time for teams to consider their stakeholders and have strategies for each — Steve shared a simple stakeholder mapping 2×2 based on their influence and interest and also RACI and DACI frameworks to help teams navigate and successfully support different stakeholders.