Product Research Rules

Book description

Digital product research doesn't have to be difficult, take a long time, or cost a lot of money. Nor should it be a job solely for scientists or expert researchers. In this practical book, Aras Bilgen, C. Todd Lombardo, and Michael Connors demonstrate how your entire team can conduct effective product research within a couple of weeks--easily, cheaply, and without compromising quality.

Drawing from decades of experience in product development, the authors lay out nine simple rules that combine user research, market research, and product analytics to quickly discover insights and build products customers truly need.

  • Recognize and avoid common research pitfalls
  • Switch to the insight-making mindset that underlies all successful research efforts
  • Find out how to look at data, formulate the right questions, and pick the right research method
  • Learn interview techniques and research skills
  • Analyze for insights collaboratively while avoiding bias
  • Inspire action with your insights through powerful presentations and prototypes
  • Learn how to involve a wide variety of stakeholders in research, from developers to executives
  • Discover how you can make research a habit, not a one-off effort

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Table of contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
    1. Excuses for Not Doing Research
    2. When Do You Do Product Research?
    3. Building on Different Research Disciplines
      1. User Research
      2. Market Research
      3. Product Analytics
    4. A Set of Rules for Product Research
    5. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. Prepare to Be Wrong
    1. Ego Is the Enemy of Product Research
    2. Different Mindsets in Research
      1. Transactional Mindset: “How Can I Sell This?”
      2. Confirmatory Mindset: “Am I Not Right?”
      3. Problem-Finding Mindset: “How Can I Improve This?”
      4. The Right Mindset, the Insight-Making Mindset: “I Want to Understand”
    3. Steps for Good Insights
    4. Summing Up
    5. Rules in the Real World: Founders of Zeplin Were Very Wrong
    6. Key Takeaways
  4. 2. Everyone Is Biased, Including You
    1. What Are Biases?
      1. Types of Researcher Bias
      2. Types of External Bias
      3. General Biases
      4. What Can You Do About These Biases?
    2. Assumptions: What Do You Think You Know?
    3. Rules in the Real World: SME Interviews
    4. Key Takeaways
  5. 3. Good Insights Start with a Question
    1. What’s an Insight?
    2. It’s Too Easy to Start Research Without a Question
      1. The Vagueness Trap: “Let’s Do a General Check!”
      2. The Output Trap: “We Need Personas”
      3. The Method Trap: “Should We Do a Survey?”
    3. Going from Hunch to Research Question
      1. From Hunch to Problem
      2. From Problem to Research Question
    4. The Usage Perspective
      1. Event Tracking
      2. Segments and Cohorts
      3. User Voices
    5. The Business Perspective
      1. Your Business Model
      2. The Market
      3. Operations
    6. The Expertise Perspective
      1. Heuristic Analysis
      2. Existing Research
    7. Formulating the Question: Using the QFT
    8. Try It Out: Are These Good Research Questions?
    9. Rules in the Real World: How One Product Manager Deployed Data Science in Product Research
    10. Key Takeaways
  6. 4. Plans Make Research Work
    1. Picking a Research Method
      1. Required Skills Versus Available Skills
      2. Cost of the Method
      3. Cost of Recruitment
      4. Try It Out: Pick a Method
    2. Finding Participants
      1. The Easy-to-Reach Audience Trap
      2. Considerate Selection: The Screening Process
      3. Keeping Track of Participants
      4. Finding an Emotional Incentive
      5. Going Where Your Users Are
      6. Seeking Different Perspectives
    3. The Dynamic Duo: Researcher and Notetaker
    4. Preparing Guides for Your Sessions
      1. Example Field Guide
      2. Drafting Your Field Guide
      3. Try It Out: Fixing a Field Guide
    5. Creating a Communication Plan
    6. What If You Can’t Stick to Your Plan?
    7. Rules in the Real World: How Can You Tell If People Feel Connected in a Video Call?
    8. Key Takeaways
  7. 5. Interviews Are a Foundational Skill
    1. Conversation Styles
      1. Four Styles to Avoid, One to Foster
      2. Patterns of Successful Interviews
    2. What Is Interviewing?
    3. The Day Of: Preparing for an Interview
    4. During the Interview
    5. Conducting Interviews Remotely
      1. Tips for Video Interviews
      2. Tips for Phone Interviews
    6. Recording Conversations
      1. Structured Note-Taking
      2. Digital Tools
    7. After Each Interview
      1. Debriefing
      2. Starting Analysis
    8. Key Takeaways
  8. 6. Sometimes a Conversation Is Not Enough
    1. Going Beyond Conversation
      1. Collecting Material
      2. Draw It for Me
      3. Buy-a-Feature
    2. Card Sorting
    3. Field Immersion
    4. Diary Studies
    5. Usability Studies: This Is Not a Test
    6. Rules in the Real World: Rocking the World by Going Beyond Interviews
    7. Key Takeaways
  9. 7. The Team That Analyzes Together Thrives Together
    1. Analyzing Data in Product Research
      1. Analyze by Playing
      2. Analyze by Making
      3. Analyze by Counting
    2. Rules in the Real World: Doing Collaborative Analysis, Even When You Have an External Agency
    3. Key Takeaways
  10. 8. Insights Are Best Shared
    1. Presentations: Forget the Long Report, Get Buy-In
    2. Narrative Prototypes: Show and Tell
      1. Navigation
      2. Personalization
      3. Distribution
    3. Managing Feedback
      1. Expressive Feedback
      2. Directive Feedback
      3. Inquisitive Feedback
    4. Distributing Your Findings More Widely
    5. Storing and Archiving Your Research Results
    6. Driving Your Audience to Action
    7. Key Takeaways
  11. 9. Good Research Habits Make Great Products
    1. Build a Habit Cycle Around Research
    2. Share Findings Liberally
    3. Enable Others to Conduct Product Research
    4. Research in Agile Software Development
    5. Developing Research Muscles
    6. Teams That Made Research a Habit
      1. How a Centralized Team Can Take Responsibility for User Research
      2. How Centralized Market Research, User Research, and Multivariate Teams Can Work Together
      3. How Researchers Can Make Research a Habit
      4. How to Make It Easy to Create Research Questions Across the Organization
      5. How to Make an Impact as a Research Team of One
    7. What’s Next?
  12. Index

Product information

  • Title: Product Research Rules
  • Author(s): C. Todd Lombardo, Aras Bilgen, Michael Connors
  • Release date: November 2020
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781492049470