At the start of 2017 Enigma's Head of Product approached me about undertaking a company wide effort to improve UX research. Until that point research had been left to the discretion of individual designers. This lead to an uneven amount of research behind product decisions. I had demonstrated an ability and interest in handling research on my own projects, which the Head of Product now wanted extended to other product teams. My goals were to enable user research to happen at every stage of product development on every team while raising awareness company wide about our users and their needs.
I started by surveying the design team and product managers, to gauge their current understanding of our users, how they were using research to inform decisions, and what needed improvement. Based on their input, it was clear there was a need for more informative resources at every stage of product development. I spent several days researching existing resources, and compiled a small library from sources like the New York Times, Google Ventures, and Microsoft.
The library was organized by product stage, and consisted of how–to documents for things like drafting a user interview script, research exercises for group problem solving, and templates for documenting findings. Additionally I created a directory of people that were available for usability testing, along with draft language for outreach and follow up emails.
Having created these resources the next step was to work individually with each product manager—introducing them to the library and working together to find an area where they could begin doing some user research with their team. As a team we agreed on a centralized documentation process that would facilitate cross-team knowledge of users. The developments were presented at an all–hands meeting, and I wrote a post for the company blog.
While each product manager worked at their own pace, one in particular took quickly to the new resources. She and I worked very closely on developing a research plan for Enigma's consumer–facing app, and I coached her through executing it. The results were incredibly gratifying, as the findings directly informed her product decisions around priorities, features, and user acquisition for the upcoming launch.