🔍 Research! That will fix things!

  • At the expanded points of the two diamonds, you may feel overwhelmed. That’s because you’ve gathered all the data but refrained from processing it. Once you start processing it, the feeling will dissipate. Trust in synthesis.
  • Synthesis uses a different part of the brain (”right brain”). It requires you to step away from the detail and see the pattern. It also requires a bit of processing time, sometimes via sleep, walking, exercise, reading, movement, or meditation. It’s less verbal, and can be facilitated by other modes like post-it notes, drawing, etc. Designers get you to do this stuff because it helps you make connections you couldn’t make in a more verbal/analytical “left brain” mode.
  • The right amount of research is the amount that allows you to decrease risk to a point that is tolerable for the team.
  • Doing the research is important, but making sure the research gets acted on is more important. Research theatre is an expensive, useless virtue signalling practice that will no only devalue research over time but will harm the organisation by creating inventory buildup.

ResearchOps: also not a silver bullet, sorry

  • ResearchOps (see: DesignOps) submits itself as the most important new practice of the current era.
    • Identifiable through:
      • Research repositories
      • Participant management systems
      • Templates and playbooks
      • Guilds and regular practice meetings
    • In particular, research repositories attract a level of respect that possibly they do not deserve considering that many of them are disorganised and impenetrable, simply acting as a trophy cabinet to all the research missions that the team managed to complete but not regularly used by the team as a source of input on decisions throughout the implementation process.
    • As Eliyahu M. Goldratt describes in The Goal, systems can be described as having buildups of inventory.
      • In an org with low research maturity, research activities are not happening.
      • As orgs approach higher levels of maturity, research activities start to become more common, and research itself may start to form as a department. At this stage, research findings start to build up as inventory, as the org isn’t yet set up to value research and implement research, simply conduct it.
        • Sadly, research has a half-life, and over time inventory buildup gets more and more stale. What could have been extremely expensive projects end up filed away, and eventually the stakeholders involved in the research are no longer around to advocate for its implementation, and inevitably the org repeats the research with new stakeholders. I call this rediscovery.
      • Once an organisation has effectively grown to a higher level of research maturity, research outcomes are regularly being put into action by teams, and roadmaps not only rely on research for evaluation but have space for emergent findings to influence delivery activities.