Empowering Dev Teams Through User Research

Product Owners can't make every decision. There are always times a development team needs to make choices, but how can they get enough context to make choices which are great for their users?

Decision-making and developer engagement were problems for Redgate Software two years ago, when UX and product management were the Keepers of the Customer. Since then, they've switched to a model where product development teams themselves are responsible for the research that powers their decisions. Not only has this improved developer engagement, it's also delivered for the business through products that are much better aligned with users’ needs.

We haven’t stopped there, though, because the whole business needs to rally around that shared insight. Other organisations have used personas to great effect, but we have found it more effective to bring the actual experiences of our users (and non-users) to the discussions.

This talk will explore the challenges of bringing customers’ experience into everyday decision-making, including making the time and space to learn. We’ll talk about some overall strategies that have worked for us and some that didn’t!

In particular, we'll go through examples of:
4 proven approaches to help whole teams really engage
4 ways to ensure customer knowledge flows through to business stakeholders

You will leave this session with a bundle of ideas how to make your customer research really deliver.

 
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Outline/Structure of the Talk

***Preamble: 5 minutes telling the story
Before: product managers did all the business research, UX did usability research, often separately, just gave results (business case or designs). Some teams got none, dev teams grew passive.
As part of an ‘autonomy’ restructure, teams gained responsibility for their backlog, and not all had the UX/Product Management support they expected.
But now it works well.. How did we get there?

**Laying the ground work (10 minutes)

8 minutes on Establishing the need with the team.
Addressing “it’s not my job”, “it’s not my priority”, “they won’t let me”, “I don’t know how”, and “I’m no good at this.”
Handling objections of Management, Sales, or Marketing.

5 minutes audience pair conversation to clarify their challenges - if any - with supporting others in user research and ensuring that research has an impact.

**Helping the team engage (15 minutes)

(Each of these has a “What happens if you don’t do this,” a “Here’s an example that worked for us” and a “what’s the minimum you might get away with” component)

Overall this follows established L&D practice.
Number 1: What matters NOW. Plan the research from existing priorities.
Number 2: No more UX virgins.
Getting started with logistics support and cheat sheets you can use, and the importance of watching others.
Number 3: Everybody’s active. Taking on more responsibility for user conversations, one level at a time. Identify confidence levels and support needed, remembering it’s really stressful for some.
Number 4: Move the post-its. Some options for mapping what you’ve heard.

5 minutes for audience to reflect on their challenge and pick a thing to try.

Bonus tip - Beer!

**Help the knowledge have impact (15 minutes)

Follow through, using organisational influence techniques.
Number 1: The basics. For goodness’ sake, make sure results are visible.
Number 2: Customer-of-the-week. Show ’n’ tell the user’s story with a punchline they care about.
Number 3: Offer your sessions. Stakeholders may have burning questions too. Use theirs.
Number 4: The user name-drop. (including “why not to use personas for this”)

5 minutes to pick a technique to magnify UX impact.

Bonus tip - Celebrate your Success (i.e. More Beer)!

10 minutes wrap up and questions

Learning Outcome

  • Understand a model of change to embed the users at the heart of products and services
  • Identify the time and skills challenges that prevent the ‘right’ people from doing research
  • Get fresh ideas for supporting teams in taking on customer research
  • Gain tools for working out how to maximise business benefit of customer contact

Target Audience

Agile leaders, Agile coaches, Developers interested in growth

Prerequisites for Attendees

Awareness of user research concepts

schedule Submitted 4 months ago

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