Defining Research Ops Models

How Should You Structure and Run Research Ops?

A Missing Piece

The Research Ops practice is at a juncture where we need to better articulate frameworks for how we do this work inside organizations.

Over the past couple of years, the ReOps+ community has created and shared invaluable Research Ops resources. Their work equipped me for my current role:

I’ve also benefitted from my conversations in the ReOps+ Slack community. However, I keep returning to a lesser mentioned piece in the Research Ops conversation: designing the Research Ops function.

Design Ops Inspiration

Part of my fascination with Research Ops models comes from reading more about Design Ops. There seem to be two prominent models in that practice: operations support and project support.

I assume these two models might be compatible with Research Ops, but I’m unsure for several reasons:

  1. UX Research and Design are different practices.

  2. How much does a company’s UX research model impact their Research Ops model? Do particular UX research models better align with particular ReOps models?

  3. Part of Research Ops design is determining the required skill sets at different stages of a model. These skills likely differ from requirements in Design Ops.

The last point touches on what I think could be the most helpful component in Research Ops models: what type of operator is needed at which stage of Research Ops, and how does that vary based on the UX research model that’s in place?

I think most people leading a Research Ops practice have answers to these questions. We need to share and formalize this knowledge so that others can benefit.

Speaking of Learning From Others…

Someone might have already defined Research Ops models. If so, let me know, because I somehow missed that! For now, I’m continuing to learn from others in this field.

Later this month, I’m launching a podcast called Research at Scale. It’s all about how Research Ops runs in different companies:

  • What to know when establishing a Research Ops practice

  • How maturing teams differ from launch teams

  • The internal dynamics of serving different groups and functions

  • Current working models for Research Ops

As I build out ReOps at Zapier, I want to understand how my decisions around team structure, skills sets, and more will impact the Research Ops function. Through these conversations, I hope to learn and share valuable lessons that others can apply to their work.

Over to You

Do you have a working model for Research Ops?

Even better, do you want to share this knowledge with others on the Research at Scale podcast?

Leave a comment or email me: I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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