Discovery on Demand - Creating a Pipeline for Weekly User Research

We all need to place customers at the heart of product strategy, design, and execution. But it's too common that we find excuses to not engage them: difficulty, time, urgency. Learn how Rally Software used Pendo, Calendly, AirTable, and Zapier to drastically reduce barriers to discovery and make a repeatable process for customer research via one-on-one feedback and ideation sessions. In this session, we'll share the process and lessons learned so any team can create a discovery pipeline to make customers the driving force in product development.


Outline/Structure of the Talk


  • Where we were [5 minutes]
    • The culture at Rally really was customer-first. Product managers flying out to customer locations, product owners responding one-by-one to feedback from the app, sales bringing customers on site to experience our PI planning, UX research surveying and interviewing customers
    • Lots of activity, but unorganized and producing insights based on anecdotes, rather than a collective understanding of the data
    • Development teams are hearing different things from different authorities, which leads to the perception of sudden pivots and an erosion of trust in the product-engineering relationship
    • Bias seeped into our decision-making due to the lack of actionable, timely customer feedback
  • Our Vision [5 min]
    • We wanted to have frictionless, consistent access to customers
    • We wanted to match our earnest heart with discovery muscle
    • Discovery that was open to all - anyone could join
    • Accessible and sustainable customer records
    • Our vision - Have weekly customer interactions around a research topic to create conclusive, data-backed decisions to each week’s question
  • Easy for Us, Easy for Customers [10 minutes total]
    • Calendly eliminates the hassle of scheduling by giving customers not only the ability to view your ability, but to book a time slot directly!
    • We used Pendo to increase our research funnel and talk to more, varied users
    • AirTable gave a sustainable way to record research results and give access to all
    • Zapier connected these systems to reduce time
    • We created a research team to steer and utilize this new engine for great research results.
  • Our Results [5 min]
    • Great learnings with more customers and more variety
    • Greater confidence in decisions and greater decision velocity
  • Getting Started & Lessons we Learned [10 min]
  • Q&A [10 min]

Learning Outcome

  • Inspiration for how continuous discovery builds a customer-first culture
  • Empowerment to improve your discovery processes with our example solution of Pendo/Calendly/Zapier/AirTable

Target Audience

Product Managers, UX Designers, and Researchers

Prerequisites for Attendees


schedule Submitted 10 months ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Shiv Sivaguru
    By Shiv Sivaguru  ~  9 months ago
    reply Reply

    Good to see that you are sharing your experience and the use of multiple tools in a connected manner

    While this talk is about shortening the discovery cycle, would you also touch on how this improved discovery approach effects the downstream practices of the dev teams?

    • William Kammersell
      By William Kammersell  ~  9 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hello Shiv! We do talk about the challenges incurred by not having continuous customer feedback - such as lack of developer motivation, poor decision making, and a lack of trust between devs and product. We then talk about how implementing continuous customer feedback fixes those issues.

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