I'm Moving Back to UX Research

This week, I’m temporarily shifting from Research Ops back into a UX Research role.

My manager — Zapier’s Head of UXR — is off on parental leave, so I’m stepping into her role for a few months.

I’m roughly 75% excited and 25% nervous. 😎😬

How This Change Happened

  • When I joined Zapier at the start of 2020, one of my goals was to explore management.

  • I shared this with my manager (Jane) during the interview process and early on in our 1:1s.

  • I expected to hire 1-2 Research Ops folks this year, but we had to adjust headcount planning after COVID. This delayed my shift in a manager role.

  • After Jane announced that she was pregnant and would be taking parental leave, she asked me whether I wanted the role. Of course, I said yes!

In this position, I will support our brilliant research team and get practical management experience before (hopefully) hiring one or two ReOps roles in 2021.

What Happens to Research Ops?

I won’t run any Research Ops projects while leading UXR. I want to focus nearly 100% of my time on supporting the research team.

The team is running projects that will guide strategic decisions at Zapier. We’ll also need to navigate different working styles in the new year.

And did I mention that I’ve never done this before?! 😅

Fortunately, Zapier provides new managers with a lot of support. But trying to run ReOps projects as a newbie leader of a senior-level team would be unwise.

Setting Up Research Ops for the Long Term

Temporarily heading up UXR is an excellent short-term opportunity, but it also provides some benefits for Research Ops in the mid to long-term:

  • I temporarily report to our CEO. In our weekly 1:1, I’ll share more context about how ReOps is a multiplier for research across the company.

    I’ve been more involved in 2021 annual planning. This gives me a lot more awareness about the dynamics and considerations at the company leadership level.

  • Stepping back from daily Research Ops work will help me reflect on what’s worked, what hasn’t, and where I can make changes in 2021.

Do You Have Advice For a New Manager?

Have you ever been an interim manager? Do you have any advice on how I should make the most of these next few months?

I’m looking for any and all advice. Share away!


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