For this case study, we spoke to:
During the 2023 ReOps Conference, Rally’s CEO Oren Friedman, caught up with Wyatt Hayman, Research Operations Manager at Faire, to discuss ReOps at Faire and how Rally is helping make research at Faire more streamlined, efficient, and accessible.
Wyatt Hayman joined the team at Faire nearly two years ago as the first ReOps hire. Before joining Faire, Wyatt worked on the ReOps team at Adobe and helped form the ReOps function at Airbnb. Wyatt’s background? “Naturally I was a biology major, which you know, led me to Research Operations.”
Why is ReOps important at Faire?
Our customers include local, independent retailers, as well as the brands and artisans from whom they purchase products to stock their shelves with the best goods. While our customers share many characteristics, there are many different types of retailers and brands on our platform and we need to understand and account for the different ways they work and use Faire. Additionally, they are often occupied with the building and starting of their businesses.
At Faire, we employ a democratized research approach, supported by a small yet very ambitious research team. Our CEO places a great emphasis on research, and personally conducted a round a few months ago. Research is a fundamental aspect of how we think about product development at Faire, and ReOps is vital in enabling this process. It underscores the need for strong ReOps to support Faire's extensive distributed model.
What are some of the goals and priorities you have for research at Faire?
A major goal for us at Faire is to significantly increase the ease of conducting research. This involves enhancing our research tools, procedures, and systems to not only level up their effectiveness but also to ensure they integrate well both within our research toolkit and across the company as a whole.
Up until now, much of our focus has been on stabilizing our operations and addressing immediate needs, alongside introducing new, core capabilities. However, moving forward, we aim to elevate our approach.
One of our priorities is to maintain a highly engaged and reliable participant pool. We are keen on simplifying the process, making it easier for individuals to participate in research on a self-serve basis. This approach will not only benefit our small ReOps team but also allow us to progress beyond mere participant management. By facilitating safe and effective self-serve research, we hope to be able to tackle more complex challenges.
What is the biggest challenge you’re trying to overcome at Faire?
We’re currently facing a few challenges:
- Forecasting and planning: On the ReOps team we often learn about studies with less lead time than is ideal, which can create a sense of urgency and hinder our ability to plan and allocate resources effectively. We're trying to be more aware and of what's going on and solidify ourselves as a partner earlier on in the planning process for projects and initiatives.
- Multilingual research: Conducting research in multiple languages is tricky. The need for interpretation and translation extends timelines, increases costs, and heightens risk.
- Enhancing research knowledge and expertise: With a distributed model, we have a lot of people engaging in research activities — some do so frequently, while others only occasionally. The challenge lies in bridging the familiarity and expertise gap between these groups. Our goal is to elevate the expertise of those who participate in research infrequently, ensuring they possess a level of understanding and skill comparable to our more seasoned researchers.
Implementing a democratized approach means research isn't always someone's primary responsibility; rather, it's just one part of their role. This creates a desire for the research process to be as straightforward as possible, which wasn't the case initially.
At Faire, there's a strong and healthy desire for research, but the tooling and processes initially resembled the wild, wild west. There was a lot of unnecessary emailing and a lack of tracking.
We tried to introduce more structure, but this made things more challenging for people because it created numerous hoops to jump through. We needed to coordinate more effectively as a company. The desire for research is undoubtedly there; people are genuinely bought in and eager to conduct research. However, this enthusiasm was met with the challenge of streamlining the processes and securing the appropriate tooling, ensuring that everything is executed in the best way possible.
For a long time, I've been in search of a tool that would finally cross the threshold, allowing me to feel confident that we had a solution in place that wouldn’t require us to patch together a dozen other tools.
I was keenly looking for a tool that could help us unify everything and support our democratized approach to research. Previously, the processes and tools advocated by ReOps were distinctly separate from those used for DIY, self-serve research. My goal was to bring everything together, to unify and integrate all aspects seamlessly.
I learned about Rally early on in their development and I felt Rally was now at the point where they could be the perfect User Research CRM to match the vision I had for Research Operations at Faire as a unified and integrated solution for our participant management and recruitment process needs.
How did you make the case for Rally?
To be honest, I went a bit overboard, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. I created an infographic that compared the processes of DIY, self-serve research, research with ReOps support, and research utilizing Rally. I detailed out the participant management journey for each scenario.
The most impactful takeaway from my case for Rally was the possibility of reducing our dependence on multiple tools. I presented this to my manager, our head of research, which led to organizing a meeting with our head of design and chief product officer. However, the meeting turned out to be unnecessary as it was so clear to our head of research that adopting Rally was the correct decision.
If I had to do it again, I would opt for a more conventional business case that clearly outlines the challenges we face and how the proposed solution effectively solves them. Nonetheless, it was still a fun project for me to complete.
What are your goals for utilizing Rally?
- Simplify self-serve research: My biggest goal is to make self-serve research so easy and efficient that individuals find it faster and simpler to conduct research themselves rather than partnering with our team. This would allow our team to redirect our focus toward addressing a different set of challenges that we are eager to tackle.
- Enhance customer profiles with the Snowflake integration: One of the greatest features in Rally is its integration with Snowflake. This integration enables us to further refine and enhance our customer profiles.
- Centralize customer outreach: Another aim is to ensure all customer outreach efforts across the organization are more aligned, coordinated, and effective.
- Strategically engage customers and build awareness: Rally also aids in our efforts to engage more strategically with our customers and enhance the visibility of our research activities, fostering a deeper understanding and connection with our customer base.
What has Rally unlocked for your team?
Having a single tool to focus on has made it more manageable to optimize our systems and onboard new team members. Rally has been a light at the end of the tunnel for us, signifying a substantial shift away from the extremely chaotic and stressful process of owning research that previously burdened the ReOps team. Introducing Rally into our research function has felt like the start of a new chapter for us.
Additionally, the automations and integrations that Rally enables have been huge for our team, enhancing our operational efficiency significantly. I was most excited by the ability to set up Google Calendar events, with Zoom meetings and the desired attendees, as well as the ability for participants to schedule their own time. The automated reminders have also saved us a lot of time.
The product development capabilities of the Rally team are really exciting and give me confidence that they are going to continue developing their User Research CRM and implementing new features that support my goals and needs.
What’s your strategic vision for ReOps at Faire?
My strategic vision for ReOps at Faire can be summed up into three areas:
- Ensuring the research system is both efficient and user-friendly, allowing individuals to set up and manage their studies with ease, whether or not our team is directly involved.
- Enhancing support for more complex study types to enable individuals to fully leverage research methodologies and ReOps resources for their research.
- Expanding our offerings to include panels and educational programs, aimed at improving overall capability, quality and efficiency of conducting research.
Rally is core to this vision. Without an efficient and reliable self-serve research process, our ReOps team would be stuck supporting individual research studies rather than building out new capabilities and programs to level up the research efforts at Faire.