Understanding Experiences

Understanding Experiences: When you have to do more than work
Holly Cole, Senior User Research Analyst, iCIMS

From the Design Operations Summit website:
All of us work as part of something bigger, and we have a set of processes that allow us to make sense of our day-to-day work and its value context. What happens when you need to quickly grow and change, how to you understand those processes? How do you grow your understanding, internally, to improve your teams? First things first, you have to understand the processes and experiences that are going on right now. That takes research.  So, let’s get meta.

They call her the Holly Llama, because she likes to understand people and their experiences at work.  Are you really doing user-centered TEAM work?

She is going to tell a story about a place she used to work that cemented how she works today.  She was at a SaaS company, and it was their first foray into UX.  They had 20-30 designers and needed to double that amount.  At lunch, they discussed how to help the organization.  They collected data about those designers’ experiences of doing their job, as a way to improve their job experience.  This is something we can all do.  Do you have personas and journey maps for the people that work for you?  To define how your internal processes should work?

Research your internal UX; talk to them about the actions and decisions they are making every day, the emotions they feel.  Make sure they feel comfortable, using traditional design research methods.   Use a script, take notes – or do mental maps with you.  Then define and map those experiences.  It seems small, but it’s still BIG.  She made a service map, and it has been especially hepeful when she needs to grow a team fast.  What is the detritus they have to make to get their jobs done?  She has created personas for designers, developers, and product managers.  What constraints did the contract designers experience?  Why are there gaps?  It can be political, so she always does it in public.

She can fix things.  The secret is that she uses this to define who they should hire next, so they can effectively address the gaps they’re found.  In that way, you’re growing your team with the right people.   She uses the insights from that research to inform the script for their interview process, too.

The first time she did this, they had all the new people do diary studies, and combined with contextual research and service mapping.  What came out of that was a series of operating proceses, documentation, as well as better mentoring and knowledge sharing. It ultimately identified that the true problem was that the two companies were not communicating.

So, get back to your roots.  She does love getting people together who are empthathic, to talk about what matters to them, so that they can hire the right talent, have the right discusisons with Procurement.

That team has build positive, longstanding relationships.  They go on vacation together, they share each other’s successes.  They work for many different companies now, but they are in each others’ weddings, and they still share their lives, their apsitations.  They still have a family that they created by interaction and sharing their problems and trying to solve them together.

cole-01

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