The following techniques seem to integrate good research into agile teams more successfully.
- Dedicated researchers for each team …
- Test designs at least every fortnight …
- Everyone in the team should take part …
- A varied toolkit …
- See it through from analysis to action …
- Sharing what we learn …
Any researcher who wishes to become proficient at doing qualitative analysis must learn to code well and easily. The excellence of the research rests in large part on the excellence of the coding.
Notes taken during or before an interview are filled with inaccuracies. It’s just beyond human capacity to fully capture everything. You need an audio or video record. Whether you later transcribe those (my preference) or just watch them again is up to you, but notes are not the same as the definitive recording of the interview.
All too often web startups become virtually held hostage by a community that does want to see them grow. Sometimes, the result is Startup Stockholm Syndrome. Web startups are essentially held captive by their community and begin to think that they should, against their better judgement, listen to their current userbase.
This brings us to a very crucial point. The users help a web startup get from A to B are often not the ones who will help the company go from C to Z. It’s important to be clear to yourself what your ultimate target market is before you build for them. More important than what the customers want is who the customers are and whether they are the customers you want.
Renren Games has donated 10 million RMB ($1.6) to China’s prestigious Qinghua University to set up a joint research lab under the wing of Qinghua’s psychology department.
The new lab will be called the BBD lab (short for Behavior and Big Data) and will focus primarily on researching psychological behavior relating to virtual communities, much like those that spring up in massively-multiplayer games from World of Warcraft to Happy Farm.
Renren Games CEO He Chuan explained (our translation): The world of games is a virtual society, and there are many issues relating to the psychological behaviors [observed] therein. Renren Games already has a professional “big data” team, but we’ve found that the problems above can’t be resolved only through data analysis, we need to integrate psychology and sociology (too).
One of the most prevalent mistakes I see in identifying people’s needs is the assumption that attitude predicts action. Just because someone says they need a certain product feature does not necessarily indicate that they would need or use it.
the first major redesign of its popular News Feed … was the culmination of one long year of work by 70 engineers and designers.
The social network surveyed hundreds of thousands of users, and many responded with the same request.
Jane Justice Leibrock and her team of researchers also conducted dozens of face to face interviews on the Facebook campus to get feedback from users.
The more sustaining your innovation, the more the market is understood or, at least, understandable. The problem and solution are knowable. Why? Your customers are smart. They understand the problem and solution and so are believable. The features they ask for likely represent their true needs.
The Twitter User Research team is looking for Twitter users to participate in an upcoming research study.
Details of the study:
* The study will take place in January via phone and web screen sharing
* The duration of the study session is about 1 hour
* You’ll receive a $100 Amazon.com gift card as a token of our appreciation
What is really confusing to the world is that engineers, and most product people and actually most people in business get trained on the development half of things. We actually don’t know a thing about research; we do it completely wrong. Development is all about narrow and deep; I want to be as efficient as possible with the resources that I have to build a specific thing in the shortest time possible. Let’s not waste a bunch of time. Research is the opposite. It’s broad and shallow. And if you go narrow and deep too early, you’re effectively wasting time.
Most of the processes that we learn as product managers are actually pretty detrimental to the research side of things. So if you want to make a breakthrough, you need to create a space for something like this.
People think they can learn what to build from our customers, but of course, you can’t, in technology especially. Number one, because customers don’t know what’s possible because technology moves so fast. […] Number two, and this is more profound, because it applies to all of us: none of us know what we want until after we see it. […]
That’s not to say we don’t talk to our customers; just the opposite. The way we overcome this is by talking to a lot of customers. Most teams I work with are talking to more customers in a week than some do in a year. But unlike the marketing mindset where you ask the customers questions, we’re testing on them; we’re seeing if our ideas actually work.
In most Agile teams, when you mention commitments (like knowing what you’re going to launch and when it will happen), you get reactions ranging from squirming to denial… the root cause of all this grief about commitments is when these commitments are made. They are made too early. They are made before we know if we can actually deliver on this obligation, and even more important, if what we deliver will actually solve the problem for the customer.
In a Dual-Track Agile environment, the Discovery Track is all about answering these questions before we spend the time and money to build production quality products… So the compromise is simple. The product team asks for a little time to do product discovery before commitments are made, and then after discovery we are willing to commit to dates and deliverables
Don’t listen to users
I don’t listen to users because of the psychology of attitude & behavior
Many studies found no relationship between attitude and behavior
Don’t ask what people need
Instead observe what they do
Don’t ask for feedback
Instead watch them use it
Human beings have two systems in their brains — an empathetic social system that allows us to simulate other people’s experiences, and an analytical system that allows them to solve logical problems.
In an experiment at Case Western Reserve, it turns out you can’t run both systems at the same time. After watching test subjects alternate between empathetic and analytical problems in an fMRI, they noticed that one would turn off when the other turned on.