If I look back at the customer research and user studies I’ve performed over the last 15 years, every one shares a common trait: we learned something significant that neither I nor my client understood about the customer.
Tools like mixpanel or SurveyMonkey provide insight into what end-users are doing within your app or service. These tools may even help gauge overall customer satisfaction, but that’s the not the critical part of the story. A well-executed user study will drive impactful user experience design (UXD), leading to beautiful things that engage your customers and create competitive advantage.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure. To avoid team dysfunction, I have learned to do two things:
1. Push decision responsibility far down into an organization by creating many small teams, even as small as 2-persons, with a dedicated team leader;
2. Carefully separate the roles of Team Lead from Manager and communicate expectations for each role.
I am asked by clients: “…how did you get started in UX design, coming from a background in development?”
Maybe a better question is: “…how are you a UX practitioner without a background in sales?”