Sep 14, 2023

Let's kill the Research-to-Development Waterfall



Ronny Röller

"Use Video Evidence in your Product Backlog to resolve challenges during story implementation"

Picture this: Your UX researchers have dedicated weeks, perhaps even months, to intensive product discovery. They’ve dived deep into user behaviors, needs, and pain points, meticulously compiling their findings. Once passed onto the product team, however, these summarized insights lack the rich context of their origins.

Challenges in product development aren’t confined to the beginning of a story. As the story evolves, new technical intricacies, feasibility concerns, and broader app integration issues often arise. Abstracted insights or summaries can only provide so much clarity. This is where the true value of video evidence from UX discovery steps in, serving as a guiding beacon in times of uncertainty.

From Insights to Actionable Implementation

Relaying insights without their source is akin to sharing a thrilling novel but omitting its most atmospheric chapters. The core might be understood, but the ambiance and subtler cues are lost. Let's delve into the profound impact of including video evidence from discovery:

  • Holistic Understanding: Videos provide the product team with an unfiltered, firsthand view of the user's environment, expressions, and frustrations. Such immediacy can't be replicated in text. For example, it can reveal if a user's suggestion is spontaneous or if they already validated it by "hacking your product".

  • Reduced Ambiguity: Video evidence dispels any vagueness or divergent interpretations from summaries. A unified understanding amongst the team emerges, minimizing the chances of misdirected efforts.

  • Creative Collaboration: With raw data at their fingertips, product teams can better empathize with the user. This deeper connection fuels more innovative brainstorming sessions, not limiting them to the one-and-only interpretation provided by the researcher, but encouraging the fusion of user needs and technical feasibility.

  • Cost-Effective Solutions: Direct exposure to user interactions equips the product team to sculpt solutions that cater precisely to those needs. The result? Solutions that are both user-centric and budget-friendly.

Empowering Product Teams with User Voice

Integrating UX discovery's raw data into the product development process means perpetuating a continuous loop of user feedback and insights. It demolishes the traditional waterfall approach where discovery ends and development begins in isolation.

By embracing this integrated strategy:

  • The voice of the user is perpetually present in every product decision.

  • The product team is no longer just an implementer but an innovative collaborator.

  • The lines between discovery and implementation blur, leading to seamless product evolutions. This elevates “agile” from implementation-only to the complete product development process.

Conclusion: Embracing an Iterative Approach

UX discovery shouldn't conclude when findings are passed to the product team. By making raw data, especially videos, accessible to the complete product team, we ensure that the discovery’s richness permeates throughout the development process. This iterative approach not only honors the hard work of UX researchers but also ensures that our products remain deeply rooted in genuine user needs. So, let’s evolve from mere handovers to inclusive collaborations, shaping products that truly resonate.

Photo: Erica Zabowski