picture of a maze

Setting-up ResearchOps: Moving the needle, one insight at a time


How might we shape and optimize the way we do UX Research within the team and the whole organization?


  • Startup within the FinTech industry (Real Estate Investment market)
  • UXR team of 1 growing to 3 people
  • Shift from embedded to hybrid team set-up


  1. Scattered insights generated by multiple UXR over time
  2. Undocumented insight collection process
  3. Product team missing simple access to generated insights

Expected Outcome

  1. Establish a sustainable and scalable research process
  2. Create a single, directly accessible insights repository
  3. Make it accessible to the whole company

How I optimised our Research Operations in 6 steps 

1. Fall in love with the process

description framework by nielsen normann group

How does NN/g defines ResearchOps?

  • Participants: define and optimise the recruitment process
  • Governance: define data protection, consent and privacy guidelines
  • Knowledge: define process for insights gathering and sharing
  • Tools: pick the right tools for our team and context
  • Competency: enable other teams to join research effort
  • Advocacy: share the love for user insights

2. Optimise user recruitment

Working for company developing solutions for a niche market within the FinTech industry, we had a major issue recruiting qualified users for our user research studies. Resourcing to traditional recruitment agencies, we encountered the following issues:


  • difficulties filling a lineup for a specific screener
  • large amount of unqualified test participants and “professional” testers
  • high no-show rate

Since we could not solely rely on traditional recruitment agencies to reach out for High Net Worth Individuals, we started a broad user recruitment campaign:


The whole process of creating an internal user pool, a landing page for recruitment and have it running and optimised for our needs took approximatively a year. After 1,5 years, we could already register significative improvements:


  • build an internal user pool of over 150 participants
  • systematically target the right user pool for each study type
  • considerably reduce the amount of no-shows
  • save 40% recruitment budget on average per study

3. Establish governance guidelines

screenshot crowdhouse research nda

How do we define and approach governance in UXR?

Our focus was to establish a legally conform and transparent user research process. This process had to:

  • be GDPR conform
  • guarantee the anonymity of our users and test participants
  • allow systematic user consent collection (also during online studies)
  • be compatible with a company wide insights sharing process
  • be scalable and manageable by the UXR team

4. Document the process

Over the year, several UXRs had been working for different squads, using different tools and approaches. This resulted in the following issues:


  • low findability of research insights
  • limited impact within the organisation due to lack of visibility
  • high risk of repeating research activities
  • low scalability

Once I had identified the main pains of the team and issues with the current process or lack of it, I could move on with the establishment of best practices for our organisation and team. My process covered the following steps:


  1. identify all potential insights available
  2. clean, classify and organise the data
  3. establish a new tagging taxonomy
  4. set-up an insight gathering and sharing process

Within a matter of months, I focused on testing and establishing the best practices to address the identified problems. My work was closely tight to the responses of the Product, Business and Management teams. The new process was:


  • transparent and easily accessible
  • GDPR conform
  • scalable and adaptable to each squad
  • allowing UXRs to be more efficient and focus on the insights, not on the process

5. Build the toolkit

Which tools help us be more efficient?

Once we had established our working process, it was time to make the process scalable. I started from one assumption: the insights we gather today must be findable by anyone in the organisation in 2, 5 or 10 years.

Following this assumption, our tolls should allow us to:

  • be more efficient
  • make our insights impactful for the context of the study
  • and available to any researcher in the future

By the time we were mature enough to widen our toolset, it became clear that qualitative and quantitative researchers had different needs. My focus was on:


  • developing a complete and well structured research repository for qualitative insights
  • optimising the recruitment process and reduce the manual workload
  • adopting tools that would allow us to run remote unmoderated research sessions
  • all this within a delimited budget

Since we had opted for Dovetail as our research repository in the early days of the Research Team, we decided to:


  • explore the whole potential of the tool
  • automate user recruitment with Calendly
  • make the most of our internal communication tool

6. Share the love for insights

An insight in isolation has no impact: how storytelling turns insights into projects

Reaching a certain UX maturity does not solely relies on the ability of the team to run proper UX Research activities but in its ability to make the insights impactful. In this context, I developed a process to:

  • give full transparency on the UXR team efforts and activities
  • invite team members, stakeholders and other teams to join usability testing sessions
  • turn the insights into stories our colleagues could identify with
  • make users pains and frustrations palpable
  • and successes a team celebration