Discovering and delivering innovative products that meet user needs is a top priority for businesses.
Continuous Discovery (CD) is catching on and it has emerged as a powerful methodology to drive iterative and user-centric innovation.
However, organizations often encounter challenges that hinder the effectiveness of their discovery efforts, especially when teams don’t have enough experience in research or the company doesn’t have a dedicated Researcher or Research Ops (ReOps) specialist to build the right infrastructure.
In this article, we will explore five infrastuctural problems faced in Continuous Discovery and discuss how Research Ops can be leveraged to overcome these obstacles, ultimately igniting the engine of product discovery.
Sourcing Participants: Playing by the rules and getting the right participants
Continuous Discovery works on the premise that teams should be talking to customers every week. This means organizations must have a reliable and scalable method for sourcing participants.
But it’s not just reaching out to people, there’s also legal compliance. You cannot simply blast emails like it’s 2005 anymore. There are rules you need to follow. Laws like GDPR, CCPA or HIPAA shape the way you contact customers, store and delete their data. And you need to comply.
Most teams are not aware of this and jump right into it. This might have unforeseen consequences in the future that might go from a fine to a lawsuit. Proceed with care.
Another important point is diversity. Without a diverse and representative participant pool, the insights derived from interviews and research activities may not accurately reflect the broader user population.
Last, we also need to compensate participants and track those incentives accordingly somewhere. People will ask, Accounting will ask. Everybody will ask.
ReOps offers a solution to these challenges. By implementing effective, compliant and scalable participant recruitment processes, organizations can access various channels and tools to engage with the right participants, the right way.
Minimizing Bias in Interviews: Please don’t ask that question
Bias in interviews can significantly impact the validity and reliability of research findings. It is crucial to minimize bias during the interview process to ensure authentic user insights.
Unfortunately, teams often introduce unintentional bias through leading questions, preconceived notions, or inadequate interview techniques, compromising the integrity of the research. This is particularly evident with teams that haven’t had enough research exposure.
I lost count of how many times I heard those questions that make researchers cringe. “Would you pay $5 for this?” or “So is this the feature you want?” are all-time hits.
Research Ops can provide adequate guidelines and train the team in research techniques. This ultimately helps teams conduct interviews effectively and impartially, leading to unbiased and meaningful conversations that might land reliable insights.
Triangulating Insights: Strengthening Decision-Making
Triangulation, the process of cross-referencing multiple data sources, is essential to validate and strengthen research findings.
In Continuous Discovery, teams often struggle with triangulating insights properly, relying on a single source of information or failing to integrate data from different research methods. This can result in incomplete and potentially misleading conclusions.
I know, you want to move forward fast and you might think that talking to a couple of users is enough (which ironically, it’s the first thing most product managers point to researchers when they disagree with their findings). But hey, you’re missing out.
Triangulation can take those insights to the next level.
ReOps can help you connect data from various sources and teams to enable triangulation. It can be the catalyst you need. This ensures that decisions are based on a foundation of diverse and solid insights.
Tooling: Get the Swiss-Army Knife for Success
Having the right tools is essential for streamlining operations and help you achieve better results.
On one hand, having a broad toolkit can make your life much easier and your results juicier. Unmoderated testing? Here’s a tool. Sessions recording? Here’s another one. Interview transcription? Here you go.
This can help you be more efficient: for example, you could send out an unmoderated usability test while you do other tasks. Plus, the better equipped you are, the more you can have different sources and type of data and the easier it will be for you to triangulate (see section above).
Research Ops can be the owner and the enabler of such toolkit. Not only assessing and providing the tools your team actually needs but also training you in how to use such tools.
Recording and Preserving Findings: Preventing Knowledge Loss
A significant challenge in Continuous Discovery is the inadequate recording and preservation of valuable insights.
Teams taking notes in different places, cherrypicking when putting findings together, no centralized way of storing the output.
Without a proper hub, important research findings can be lost, hindering future decision-making and potentially repeating past mistakes. This knowledge loss can delay product development and impede progress.
In her book Continuous Discovery Habits, Teresa Torres uses the Opportunity/Solution tree as a way to centralize this. The tree is amazingly useful. The problem is what makes it to the tree and what doesn’t. And from what I’ve seen so far, half of the output gets lost in the way.
By creating lightweight, searchable and accesible research repositories, ReOps ensures that insights are systematically captured, stored, and made accessible to relevant stakeholders.
This prevents valuable insights from being overlooked or forgotten, enabling teams to make informed decisions throughout the product discovery process.
To drive effective Continuous Discovery and ignite the engine of product discovery, organizations need the right infrastructure.
That’s why they should invest in Research Ops.
By crafting a scalable participant sourcing process, helping minimize bias in interviews, triangulating insights, recording and preserving knowledge, and fostering continuous ideation, businesses can make the most our of a Continuous Discovery practice.
What are you waiting for to start working in your ReOps?