Our WebExpo Talk: Why We Believe Product and Research Must Be Partners in Crime

Michal Pour

Romana Trusinová

With a million ways to implement UX research within product development, there are three most common models: the centralized research agency model, the embedded team model, and the democratized approach. In our 2023 WebExpo talk, we delved into these models and argued for our own way on the verge of the last two mentioned. As we believe in sharing know-how and inspiration, we also crafted this short blog post with the insights we hope to be inspirational in your UX design process. So let's dig in and find out about the benefits the cooperation of researchers and product managers brings to our product development efforts. 

You must have heard that UX research is crucial to product development. Have you tried to build the process in the way it suits your company? There are many ways to sprinkle it. Test them and choose for yourselves.

The three models of cooperation of UX and Product

To simplify it, there are three most common ones. And we will delve into them one by one. They are:

  • The centralized research agency model, where high-quality insights are generated.
  • The embedded team model fosters close collaboration between UX and product teams.
  • The democratized approach empowers decision-makers.

Each of these models has its unique strengths and challenges as well.

You can picture the 'Centralized' model as if you had a dedicated internal research agency. So you would have a team of professional UX researchers whipping up high-quality insights based on the briefs from the Product team. It sounds professional and all good. But, there's a catch – sometimes the insights don't get the decision-making action they deserve as the research is done far away from the product itself, and product managers do not get to see the users, just the research findings. How motivated would you be to accept suggestions to improve your beloved product from someone you have never met before?

On the other hand, the 'Embedded' model is all about close-knit teamwork, with researchers and product teams working together. In this case, the research team directly influences product decisions. It sounds great until you find out about the cost. For example, this model would mean a company of our size would need to expand the research team significantly (from 4 to 16 people for a company of around 150 people in product and development). Ask your bosses to hire 16 new researchers immediately. We bet it will be hard for you to persuade them. So even though perfect on paper, in reality, this model is often put off the table. 

So are you waiting for the final of the three? Do not get fooled. Not even the 'Democratized' model is perfect. It means anyone can and should do their own research. Professional and skilled UX researchers use their skills not to conduct research, but to guide and help decision-makers do the research themselves. So even if this model means every product manager and decision maker knows how to conduct their research and that they should, you cannot control the quality of the research. And thus, even though every product manager is running one, you cannot be sure it is for the best of the product. Are you ready to hear arguments for features like: „Yes, we tested it. Usability testing proved high value for users. 3 out of 5 users said they liked it!“ If this is not enough for you, do not even think about this model.

The Heureka way

We have reviewed all of these cooperation models between UX Research and Product Teams. And we found out none of them met our needs. Our model is somewhere on the verge between embedded and democratized models. 

What does it mean in practical terms? There are 4 UX researchers, 9 Product UX designers, and 20 product managers in Heureka. Thus, each research cooperates with approximately 6 product teams (from a closely related product area). Before every project, we set the stage by defining everyone’s roles and responsibilities. The researcher is part of the discovery process and works together with the product manager as they are embedded within the team. 

At the same time, we're big on research democratization, equipping teams with handy tools and learning resources about conducting UX research. This setup allows teams to tackle „bite-sized“ research projects independently, like those where a chat with five users will do the trick. But when the research gets more complex and strategic, our researchers roll up their sleeves and dive deeper – both with and for them. Plus, we're all about fostering a learning environment for our Product Managers and Designers. We've simplified processes, set up a library of insights, and provided templates for any research and its application.

Pro-tip: To find out more about few real cases how Product and Researchers partner in Heureka watch our 2023 WebExpo Talk 👇🏻


Michal Pour

Michal is an experienced product manager devoted to his craft and can’t imagine designing any product without regular interactions with its users. He loves product discovery and uses a bunch of different discovery techniques. Currently, he works for Heureka Group, where he helps millions of people shop smarter.

Romana Trusinová

Romana is a UX researcher, responsible for the research team at Heureka Group. She loves two things about doing research: Helping teams find focus by turning complex problems into clear opportunities and the satisfaction you get from helping teams understand everyone’s needs to build great products.

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