4 Signs it's Time to Hire ReOps

Research Ops is a great and often essential addition to any User Research function. Here’s what happens when you add a Research Ops professional to your team:

  • Research scales. 📈
  • Researchers do more research. 🧑‍🔬
  • Research value and impact is amplified. 🔊
  • Researchers are supported by new tools and processes. 🛠
  • Research is connected to the rest of the organization. 🤝

Lindsay Boylan, Global Product Lead at Xplor, put it great when she said, “If the process around research is chaotic, then the research will be chaotic.” Dedicating time to Research Ops paid off — and continues to pay off — for Lindsay and her team at Xplor.

“I learned early on that Research Ops is critical to the success of any research practice,” she said. “It matters as much as actually completing the research.”

How do you know it’s time to hire a Research Ops professional?

There is no set time when Research Ops should be hired. Some teams add Research Ops early on in their research practice whereas others add them after their team has grown a lot.

Crystal Kubitsky, UX Research Ops Lead at MongoDB, in a recent webinar offered 4 indicators that it’s time to hire Research Ops:

  1. Non-researchers are asking to do research themselves.
  2. Non-researchers are conducting their own research on a regular basis.
  3. The number of projects requiring research frequently exceeds the capacity of your team.
  4. Evaluative concept research is getting less attention or forcing the team to not give attention to other generative topics.

“Having an operations function will help protect and enable good research to happen with the impact and quality it needs,” Crystal said.

How to build the case for hiring Research Ops

  • Identify your needs. Are you seeing the indicators Crystal mentioned above? Other things to consider are the quality of the work your team is producing, the amount of work they are doing and the time it takes, and the growth of your organization.
  • Be specific about the type of solution you need. What type of person do you need to fill this role? Think about skills/knowledge, industry experience, specific background, and even personality traits you and your team need.
  • Gather evidence. Put numbers behind the indicators above. Try to describe the impact on company and team goals that hiring this person would have. Also illustrate the negative impacts of not hiring this person. Describe your current state and then compare it to the ideal state with Research Ops added.
  • Choose the right time and people to propose your case. Timing is everything. Look to the performance of the company to know when a Research Ops hire may be within budget. Try to identify if the time of year will affect the reception of your proposal. And make sure to set up 1-1 calls (when possible) with the most important decision-makers.

What to look for in a Research Ops hire

The characteristics you value in your Research Ops hire will be mostly unique to you and your team. Consult with members of your team to determine the type of person you want to hire and the characteristics you want. Here are some characteristics to consider:

  • methodical
  • organized
  • patient
  • collaborative
  • detail-oriented
  • focused on the future
  • innovative

Ultimately, Lindsay recommends you “prioritize someone you can trust to be your right-hand person as you grow and scale." She also said to prioritize how a person feels to work with over their skill.

To learn more about building and integrating Research Ops into your research function, check out this recap of Crystal’s event, Building Research Ops from the Ground Up.

And for more great content on Research Ops, follow us on LinkedIn.

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