Scoping a project’s user-research phase is a classic Catch-22 situation. Before a project even begins, you must plan the research activities and the time necessary to perform them, but you’ll rarely have enough information to make these decisions optimally until after the project begins. If you estimate too much time and money, you might scare clients away. Estimate too low, and you’ll either go over budget or won’t have enough time to do the research properly.
To accurately scope user research, you must have a somewhat detailed understanding of the project’s business goals, the users, and their tasks. While you can usually get an overview of this information by talking with your clients, it’s difficult to obtain accurate, detailed information until after a project’s kickoff meeting and initial stakeholder discussions. At that point, you might realize that the research methods you’ve planned aren’t the ones that would let you best understand the problem. You might need more or different participants, and there might not be enough time to conduct and analyze the research. In this column, I’ll discuss some of the problems you may encounter when scoping user research and provide some advice about how to make scoping more accurate. Read More
This is a sample chapter from Brett Harned’s new book Project Management for Humans: Helping People Get Things Done. 2017 Rosenfeld Media.
Chapter 11: Facilitation for Project Managers (PMs)
I worked in retail when I was a teenager. Yup, I was a mall rat for a summer or two. I sold expensive sunglasses. Looking back on the experience, I can say that it gave me the perspective to understand how people make decisions when spending a lot of money on an item that they could get for much cheaper elsewhere. It was interesting to see what would drive someone to make a final decision to purchase a $200+ pair of sunglasses. As the salesman, I was incented to make sales for a commission. But I was also paid a base hourly wage, so I wasn’t a viper. I like to think I helped people make decisions on their purchases. Read More
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”—Ben Franklin
How many of you spend adequate time planning your UX research projects? Taking the time to plan your UX research saves you time in the long run. When you’re gearing up for your next UX research effort, it really pays to spend some time figuring out what you’ll need to do. In this edition of my column Discovery, I’ll examine the value of planning your UX research projects and explore what sorts of things you can do to ensure that your next research endeavor has a smooth takeoff and a successful flight rather than a crash landing. Read More