All new Product Managers and Product Designers should go through this research shadowing process as a part of their onboarding before completing any independent research work.
This research shadowing process is intended to ensure that stable counterparts have sufficient understanding to be able to undertake UX research independently. Counterparts will read through training materials and observe the execution of a UX research study all the way through from planning to analysis. They will be paired with a UX Researcher that can answer any questions they have and provide support during this process.
Identify the UX Researcher assigned to your stage group. This person will be your contact during this shadow process. Reach out to them and introduce yourself and let them know you’re starting research shadowing.
Once you start the shadow process, the researcher will identify an upcoming research study they feel will be suitable for you to shadow. If the researcher won’t be conducting any suitable research in the near future, they may coordinate for you to observe a study being conducted by another researcher.
Once your researcher has identified an appropriate study, they’ll start including you on each part of the research process. This will include things like the research plan, discussion guide, etc. Read through these materials as they’re created, and ping the researcher with any questions you have.
You’ll be added to research sessions as they’re scheduled. You’ll observe, take notes, and participate in any debrief that happens. Let the researcher know which sessions you’ll observe. You should attend at least two sessions. If you want to observe more than that you can work it out with the researcher.
The researcher will include you on any analysis of the research and send you the final insights document.
Once the study has concluded, the researcher will reach out for a final check-in. Use this time to ask any remaining questions you have. At this point, you should have enough understanding to conduct research on your own.
UX Researcher process
When a new hire reaches out to you to start the research shadow process, start thinking about what upcoming research study would be suitable for the shadower to observe. If there are multiple new hires coming on around the same time you can batch them together to optimize your time and effort. The study you choose for shadowing should be somewhat “standard,” with as few atypical elements as possible. If you don’t have any suitable studies happening in approximately the next month and a half, you may need to transfer responsibility to another researcher. Ask your manager if you’re unsure.
Once you’ve identified the study, start including the shadower on each part of the research process. Tag them in issues and share documents like the discussion guide with them. Be available to answer any questions they may have. The goal is that they have a clear idea how to execute each phase of the research process.
As you schedule sessions, include the shadower on the invites. They should let you know what sessions they plan to observe, with a minimum of two.
Be sure to include the shadower on any analysis documents as well as any findings produced.
Once the study has concluded, reach out to the shadower for a final check-in. This is their last chance to ask whatever questions they still have. After this point the shadower will be considered ready to execute research on their own.