UXR Team of one in Agile Environment

We write our research plan, recruit the right participants, planning the timeline, using the best tools. Sounds like the ideal UX research isn’t it?

Working as a UX researcher in agile workplace can have a different challenge especially if you’re the only UXR chances are the company might not be familiar with UX. A distinct approach can be an obligatory in such circumstance. In this current state, the company most likely has no time and budget to conduct ‘user research’. Thus, acting as a creative problem solver is critical. So, here are some points that might be useful when you’re the only UXR in your organization.

Learn the process on how the company build their products. Who are involved? What are the steps? Do they test the product to the targeted users prior to launching? This type of information will guide you how you are gonna carry your research. From here, you can determine which methods to use, what sort of equipment you need to conduct the research. Usually you can get these details during the interview process which will guide you where you stand as a UXR in the company.

As an illustration, if the company has ‘limited resources’ then why not use internal users or conduct guerilla testing instead? I managed to find participants in some co-working space who are willing to volunteer to conduct guerilla testing (it’s quick and relatively low at cost) I gave them one package of Pocky thereupon as a ‘gift’.

Likewise, don’t forget to identify the product development cycle (of course this applies both for startups and non-startups). Is the product you are working at already launched in the market? Or your team just getting started to develop a product but need to learn more about the targeted users?

In some startups I worked for, I had to research on the products that already being released, so the objective and users tasks are clearly different compare to build and discovery phase. Discuss with your product team regarding this matter, this helps to build credibility and gain more support as a UXR in the future.

Most stakeholders are tight with their schedule, so make sure you don’t waste their time. Chances are if you’re the only UX researchers then you need to ‘demonstrate’ what UX is. Depending on the stakeholders, you will need to emphasize different things. For instance, when you’re meeting with the product team explains how research can help to uncover what kind of feature users really need and how the insight can help them to prioritize. Whereas, you can point out how doing user research can save development time when meeting with the engineering team.

Being the only UX researcher in a company can be daunting, but this is also an opportunity to learn about how people work in the organization. As a UXR you are obliged to work with people from different department to uncover useful insights and as a bonus this can make things easier if you need internal users to conduct a usability testing.

Your report should be concise and understandable. Stay away from making that long-winded 20+ pages report that take some times to read, keep in mind to tell a good story in your presentation, You may start by explaining the objective then break down the root cause (for instance, you can use fishbone diagram to present your research report as its clear enough to identify the cause).

Building rapport takes time, especially if the organization is still new to UX research. As well as being versatile, you might need to handle multiple research requests from product managers. Overall, being the only UXR can seems discouraging but don’t give up as this can be a rewarding experience.

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Grahani Garibaldi

I am highly inquisitive and still trying to master the art of deduction. Follow me on Twitter @officialgrahani