I share your passion and tend to use a mix of quantitate web analytical and survey research mixed with qualitative research from interviews. I’m lucky enough to design for workforces in the workplace, so have users readily available to speak to without any cost implications. I too complete research from the very beginning to the very end of the product’s lifecycle to test out hypothesis and hunches to guide the team.
I tend to use the synthesised research to then inform the backlog and roadmaps of products. This comes in many forms:
- Refining stories before sprint to ensure they are validated and optimised before code is written
- Refining previous stories that have been released, so that it works better in the wild and to optimise around user needs
- Creation of new stories to solve either shoulder problems or new problems that have previously not been unearthed in previous research.
From all the previous research we already have quite mature personas, so use those to help teams empathise with the users and their needs. But we also approach research as a team sport, meaning that we involve the whole team a key parts to share understanding and ensure the whole team see and understand how the tool is being used (and not used, or used in different ways) in real life situations.