Reduce project overhead
Support multiple teams and agile product development
Fulfilling research requests from numerous teams, balancing timelines, and planning for iterative testing can pose challenges, such as avoiding down time and unsustainable schedules. With rolling research, you can rotate between teams with each study to efficiently address design dependencies and allow time for adjustments between rounds. The outputs of one study can inform the inputs of another without a hiatus in research. For example, running Study 1 with Team A and Study 2 with Team B gives Team A time to iterate and prepare for Study 3 without pausing research efforts. By rapidly alternating between teams, you can cover more ground in the same number of calendar days than you could working with a single team. You can also combine and cover different and even unrelated research questions within the same study to further service multiple teams.
Develop deep collaborative context with an embedded researcher
Ensuring team members have appropriate context, open collaboration, and clear communication are key components to the success of any project. When conducting rolling research, a researcher is embedded in a team or product area for much longer than a standard study. In my experience, this context and continuity from previous studies allows researchers to have a deeper understanding of the product nuances, challenges facing both the user and product team, and further insight into the marriage of user and business needs. This deep collaborative context also facilitates stronger communication with the team and stakeholders. With this continuity comes the ability to identify meta, cross-study findings. Working with multiple teams, researchers can begin to identify where there are disconnects in the user experience that span across separate projects, teams, or product areas. This empowers teams to unpack underlying issues and offer holistic recommendations.
Build buy-in from stakeholders
Communication with stakeholders is important to enabling execution of a project. Earning their trust and buy-in, however, crescendos the findings and impact of a study and can prompt further research.
With each user interview or usability test, you are not only learning about people’s reactions to a specific design idea, but about them as a person–their circumstances, use cases, and attitudes. All these research touch points add up to a grounding, first-hand sensibility about your users as a population for your teams and stakeholders. Continuous exposure to this paired with actionable reports builds trust in the value of research with stakeholders. I have observed that the steady, cyclical value generation that happens in rolling research can play a unique role in increasing ideation, perspectives, and actionable next steps.
Through rolling research, stakeholders become engaged and even excited about the research process. Steeped in insights and with diverse perspectives, this also surfaces new questions and innovations that may not have come to light previously.
Increased insight absorption
Keep research top of mind within your organization
If you need to support fast-moving product development, multiple teams, or are looking to build buy-in from stakeholders and establish research as a regular practice, your organization may be ready to evaluate if rolling research is a good fit. Keep in mind you can start small and customize the pace and volume to optimize for your team’s capacity, needs, and deadlines while building a sustainable cadence.