In this post, I want to share my notes from the talk How to Fail at Building an In-House UXR Practice by Stephanie Pratt at the UXinsight festival in April 2021.
Stephanie talked candidly about how she failed at building a UXR practice as the first UX researcher at a company, which resulted in her having to leave the company. She then described her concrete learning from this failure and how it helped her succeed in her next role as a first UX research hire, where she built a successful research program from the ground up.
“I had failed. I had failed to show my value….value of user research…after reflection I started to understand the mini failures that led to this large failure.”
For her next role, she took the time to ask questions and see if she was a match for the organization. And she broadened the type of research she was doing, and the stakeholders she was communicating with and built partnerships across the organization rather than being pigeon-holed into a certain type of research and tasks. Here are some details of her failures and the lessons she learned:
Build a research cadence and balance strategic and tactical efforts
For her first role, she was focused on strategic research, instead of doing different types of research for varied stakeholders and purposes. This resulted in not getting buy-in because she was not doing something immediately actionable for her stakeholders.
The next time around, she balanced the tactical and strategic needs. And conducted regular user tests to help the team address their burning questions. This helped her build trust and show the immediate value of research.
Stephanie ended the talk with a quote by Brene’ Brown,
“There is no innovation or creativity without failure. Period.”