How Product Research Limits Uncertainty and Helps Us Face our Fears

Product research is a discipline that’s been transformed in recent years. The days of waterfall testing are over. Today, research is happening at every stage of a product’s life cycle, and there are more tools than ever before to help. But how do product teams stay focused on what truly matters? How do we single out real insights from an outpouring of data? Christian & Meghan unpack their lessons learned about product research and examine how the field has evolved. They’ll also explain why research isn’t actually about finding answers; it’s about limiting uncertainty. 

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Takeaways

  • Product research has evolved from a waterfall approach to a continuous approach; research is happening at more stages, and more often.
  • Research is about limiting uncertainty, and not finding the answer. 
  • It’s best to “measure twice to cut once” in product research.

Things To Listen For

  • [3:00] Icebreaker: what’s your best/worst research paper from school?
  • [8:30] The evolution of product research and how it continues to change 
  • [9:00] Research is what makes better products possible 
  • [10:00] From Christian: In the beginning, research focused on what happened after your product made it into the world 
  • [10:30] Now, research is happening earlier and contributing ideas
  • [11:00] The difference today: research is about insights, not just data 
  • [12:00] When stakeholders disagree on the importance of research 
  • [13:00] Overcoming the fear of research (and the ideas it might diminish) 
  • [13:30] “Once you know what the research tells you, you have to act on it” 
  • [14:30] Barriers to research in startups include time, the founder’s connection to the market 
  • [16:00] The shift from waterfall research to continuous research
  • [16:30] Who does research and the rise of digital products for research  
  • [17:30] “Measure twice to cut once” when conducting research 
  • [19:30] You need both good research products and research professionals (as we explored with Amplitude’s Justin Bauer in supporting PMs with data) 
  • [22:00] Let your product research be experimental 
  • [23:00] Don’t over-index the voice of your customer

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