After-Hours Conversations w/Veronica

What you didn't know about UX and Testing Environments: Featuring Christy Harper

April 26, 2021 Christy Harper Season 1 Episode 9
After-Hours Conversations w/Veronica
What you didn't know about UX and Testing Environments: Featuring Christy Harper
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Christy Harper of End to End User Research chats with me about how project management is at the center of their business.  Each project has stakeholders, deliverables, outputs, etc.

Although you may not have known about user research, without it, your user experience may not be as excellent with the products you've grown to know and love.

Take a moment to listen to Christy Harper, you'll be even wiser because you did.

Learn more about:
- The goals of researchers and why they do it
- Remote User Testing
- Testing scenarios to simulate true user experiences
- Safety within the research space

For more information about UX Research and becoming a tester contact 
End to End User Research @
Socials: e2euserresearch

13:03:22 Welcome to after hours conversations with Veronica.
13:03:26 Where we get to talk about all things, project management.
13:03:31 I am honored to have Christy Harper with us today.
13:03:35 Hailing from Houston, Houston, Texas. How fun is that?
13:03:44 She is the managing partner.
13:03:47 And I get to introduce you to
13:03:50 her.
13:03:52 I had the opportunity to meet her.
13:04:00 While I was out in Houston doing a training.
13:04:02 It was my absolute honor when we were able to meet.
13:04:07 And so what we were able to talk about.
13:04:09 Is project management, as you can probably guess this is my jam.
13:04:12 This is what I do.
13:04:13 And the facility that she runs, which is end to end user.
13:04:17 Research.
13:04:29 She allows others to come into her space and they get to do by
13:04:33 the special things there.
13:04:35 But I'm going to leave that to her to be able to share with you
13:04:37 exactly what takes place there. But welcome. Welcome Christie.
13:04:40 Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.
13:04:43 Thank you. Thank you for having me.
13:04:45 Very happy to be here.
13:04:59 Oh, it's going to be a great time, a great time. So the,
13:05:02 the very first thing that I would like to do is provide you with the
13:05:05 opportunity to share with our listeners,
13:05:07 exactly what you do in your space. When you shared it with me,
13:05:12 I was extremely intrigued. Quite frankly.
13:05:14 I didn't even know that that was a possibility.
13:05:16 So please let us know exactly what takes place at end to end user
13:05:20 research.
13:05:21 So my business partner and I are researchers and we do
13:05:25 human factors research, and we also do user experience research,
13:05:29 which means we have all different kinds of clients. We have texts.
13:05:36 Clients and we work on interfaces,
13:05:38 software websites. We also work on hardware,
13:05:42 physical products and prototypes. So what we do is we bring people in,
13:05:46 we have them interact with products or prototypes,
13:05:49 and then we take all of that information from observing them and bring
13:05:52 it back to the designers or the product managers and help them to
13:05:55 make.
13:05:56 Effective safe, easy to use products. But along with that,
13:06:00 our usability labs are able to be rented out,
13:06:03 but we also have focus group rooms that we can rent and we have larger
13:06:06 rooms that we can use for mock juries and for training situation. So.
13:06:10 We have a nice facility in Houston that we're able to rent. And so we.
13:06:15 Do the research, the rentals.
13:06:16 And we also do recruiting for the participants to participate in all
13:06:20 of these fun activities.
13:06:21 So if you've ever been in a focus group or haven't been, it's always,
13:06:24 it's a really fun,
13:06:25 easy way to earn some money and most people have a great time.
13:06:39 Excellent.
13:06:40 I did not know that that was something that we could do.
13:06:44 So in the project management space,
13:06:46 we have something called user acceptance testing,
13:06:49 which is what it feels like your in the middle of,
13:06:53 but most of us only think about that within our organizations.
13:06:56 We might pull some of them customer care.
13:06:58 Post someone else.
13:07:00 From collections,
13:07:01 someone else from the foreclosure department and say, okay,
13:07:04 What I would love for you to do is try to break this.
13:07:07 Yeah, because we don't want it to be broken by our paying customers.
13:07:10 We want to know what we need to do to make things be better prior
13:07:14 to our product going to market.
13:07:16 Right.
13:07:17 Is that similar to what you do?
13:07:21 So that's more at the end. So like that's more like on the QA side.
13:07:25 So that's at the end.
13:07:27 And what we try to do is come in all throughout.
13:07:30 So when you're first designing something,
13:07:32 it's good to get end user feedback to make sure you're designing the
13:07:35 right thing that meets the end user needs.
13:07:36 And then as you refine a product in or documentation or
13:07:40 packaging or any part.
13:07:42 Of anything having to do with the product.
13:07:44 It's good to make sure that you're on track and designing for the
13:07:47 customer and the way that they need.
13:07:48 And then of course at the end,
13:07:50 you have to make sure it meets all the needs. It's.
13:07:52 Met all of your product goals. And like you said, it can't be broken.
13:08:04 I love that.
13:08:05 So would you think of yourself as almost being a
13:08:09 part of several teams? Because big, big picture,
13:08:13 we would be looking for that team member to
13:08:16 do this testing throughout because.
13:08:19 Back in the day.
13:08:20 QA.
13:08:22 Happened at the end.
13:08:23 And then there's this thing called six Sigma that came along.
13:08:27 And then when six Sigma came along, we all said, well,
13:08:30 we actually don't want to wait to be a afterthought.
13:08:33 We want to embed quality within our entire
13:08:37 process. And it sounds like that's exactly what you do.
13:08:41 Yeah, it's very similar.
13:08:42 Six Sigma is a process-based approach to
13:08:46 making a process better and testing to make sure that you have made an
13:08:50 impact.
13:08:51 So it's very, very similar,
13:08:52 except they focus more on the entire process. And.
13:08:56 We're focusing on.
13:08:57 A piece of product or.
13:08:59 The whole product or part of it.
13:09:02 Packaging documentation, software, hardware.
13:09:04 And.
13:09:11 You might be bring in six Sigma,
13:09:13 if you wanted to look at the manufacturing process of that product.
13:09:17 So it, but it is very similar,
13:09:19 the kind of work we do and that the testing and.
13:09:21 Looking for improvements.
13:09:23 You know, very similar.
13:09:24 I love it. I love it. Now, as you can tell.
13:09:28 I love everything about project management. It is my jam. It is,
13:09:32 it is what I do. It brings me life. It brings me joy. I adore it.
13:09:38 What I've been finding though,
13:09:39 is that most of us are indeed running projects or a part of that
13:09:43 project management process.
13:09:50 But either we didn't know that we were, because it was so seamless.
13:09:53 It's just what we do.
13:09:54 Or once we found out that this is what we are doing,
13:09:57 why didn't anyone tell me.
13:09:59 Why didn't anyone tell me that this is really what,
13:10:02 what my title should have been. So please,
13:10:04 when did you find out that you were truly a part of this project
13:10:07 process?
13:10:15 Well, I think, you know,
13:10:16 we started out and we're trained as researchers.
13:10:19 So you think of yourself in terms of I'm a researcher,
13:10:21 but as soon as you start working, you know,
13:10:23 I've worked for compact originally before it became HP. And.
13:10:26 You realize you really managing a research project is managing a
13:10:29 project. You have multiple parts, you have deliverables,
13:10:32 you have stakeholders, you have.
13:10:50 Participants and recruiters and assistants,
13:10:53 you have all kinds of things that you have to manage to make this go.
13:10:56 And you have a, you know, a timeline.
13:10:58 So really you are managing a project,
13:11:00 even if you don't think of yourself that way.
13:11:02 And as you grow in your field and you start having to manage multiple
13:11:05 projects with multiple stakeholders,
13:11:07 then it becomes even more apparent that project management is part of
13:11:10 your skillset.
13:11:11 And we have to work with so many different people. So.
13:11:13 At one point.
13:11:15 Usually when we're first starting off.
13:11:16 We are.
13:11:18 Energy receivers.
13:11:19 Right. So someone else is leading almost as if,
13:11:23 when you walk into a space and you can almost tell right off the
13:11:27 bat, whether or not this is going to be a great day.
13:11:29 Or something not so fantastic is taking place even though no one's
13:11:32 spoken with you yet.
13:11:33 So when we're energy receiving.
13:11:35 She usually towards the beginning.
13:11:37 But then as we walk into the notion that we're
13:11:41 actually running projects and that other people are looking to us,
13:11:45 To receive our energy.
13:11:47 A lot of us think of that as being the inspiration to be to someone.
13:11:51 As to being the muse to make sure that all the great ideas are
13:11:55 coming out.
13:11:56 It could also be that we might say, well,
13:11:59 I don't know that this is what I should be doing.
13:12:08 Why can't I just motivate people. Right.
13:12:10 Because when we motivate is totally different than if we're
13:12:14 inspiring someone else. So.
13:12:16 I know that you don't work by yourself.
13:12:21 There are other people there.
13:12:22 And since we have to give energy to get people
13:12:26 going, as if we're setting the intention for the day,
13:12:29 How do you get people moving?
13:12:32 Sometimes, maybe when you don't feel like moving.
13:12:33 Well, I mean, we do work.
13:12:37 As a team and you know, we're still relatively small company.
13:12:40 We've only been in business close to four years.
13:12:42 So there's 20 of us.
13:12:50 Now, and we, you know, we meet once a week to make sure, to keep,
13:12:55 to let everyone know everything that we're working on.
13:12:56 So that way nobody feels like they're sort of.
13:13:06 In the background or not part of it, you know,
13:13:08 we're still small enough that we can do that.
13:13:10 We can all meet together.
13:13:11 We can review all of our projects and give everybody visibility into
13:13:15 what everybody else is doing.
13:13:16 And we've also made a lot of changes lately because of COVID you.
13:13:19 We're more, we're working more remotely than we did before.
13:13:22 And we're communicating differently,
13:13:24 but we have a staff zoom meeting with camera's on
13:13:28 once a week.
13:13:29 We try to check in with each other in, in all kinds of other ways.
13:13:33 And then we meet on slack and we on slack,
13:13:35 we have channels for every project.
13:13:37 And every single day, we are all on there at different times. And,
13:13:41 you know,
13:13:42 We'll drop a little jokes and gifts and means and stuff.
13:13:44 So we're trying really hard to keep that team culture going.
13:13:47 Even though we are not together in the physical space,
13:13:50 as often as we used to be.
13:13:52 What.
13:13:55 A lot of us have,
13:13:56 have found was that when we're in the physical presence
13:14:00 of others,
13:14:01 That we don't talk as much.
13:14:05 As we do when we aren't in physical presence,
13:14:09 because when we're together,
13:14:11 Everyone knows what's going on because you were there when it
13:14:13 happened.
13:14:14 Very very Hamilton.
13:14:16 Like people want to be in the room where it's happening.
13:14:30 And, and now that you're not in that room,
13:14:33 a lot of us have more to talk about. So this is what took place today.
13:14:37 I know that you weren't there.
13:14:39 So now I get to talk about all of the things that took place.
13:14:42 Are you finding that there's more interaction?
13:14:46 Not necessarily for a long period,
13:14:49 but more touch points now B because you're not in the physical
13:14:52 presence.
13:14:54 So they can't just automatically see what's been going on all day.
13:14:56 Yeah, I can.
13:14:58 I can definitely see that, you know,
13:14:59 we've been talking about how we've adapted to these changes and,
13:15:02 you know, there were days in the past where I would go to my office.
13:15:21 And some days I would be in the office all by myself all day.
13:15:24 And you know,
13:15:25 a lot of times people would come by or there'd be something happening.
13:15:28 And, you know, there would be these impromptu hallway conversations,
13:15:30 but there were plenty of days where I just pretty much was up there
13:15:34 all by myself. And now it's,
13:15:35 it's really not like that because now we have to communicate. Right.
13:15:38 So every day we are communicating on slack and.
13:15:42 I never feel like I'm just sitting here in the office all by myself.
13:15:45 I always,
13:15:46 I feel like everybody is so accessible and I think it really has
13:15:50 changed.
13:15:51 So there have been positive things that have taken place
13:15:54 since March the 12th.
13:15:56 Last year. Why do I know that date? I know the date.
13:16:00 So if it has been over a year,
13:16:02 now that these changes have taken place, now,
13:16:05 it doesn't mean that work stops.
13:16:07 Projects are still moving along. Things are still going.
13:16:10 So during this past year, what was your favorite one? What,
13:16:13 what was your, oh my goodness. I love this one. What project was that?
13:16:16 I think what surprised me is how easily everybody was able to
13:16:21 adapt. So.
13:16:21 You know, like I said, rentals was a, that was a big part. Right.
13:16:24 So we had mock Jerry's.
13:16:35 Set up to be in our big spaces.
13:16:37 And of course they all had to cancel in our focus group rentals just
13:16:41 stopped. But on the other hand,
13:16:43 people were figuring out how to do research remotely.
13:16:46 They were doing mini focus groups online. They were doing.
13:16:49 More remote interviews, you know, using zoom and other tools.
13:16:52 So I think one of the most fun ones.
13:16:55 For us has been like when we help market research companies find
13:16:58 people who drive certain cars and.
13:17:04 You know,
13:17:05 you just need all kinds of different people and you have to get lots
13:17:07 of people and bring them in.
13:17:10 And I think that was a really big project finding, you know,
13:17:13 50 something people that met all the criteria and getting them.
13:17:16 All set up to be on zoom and to participate and, you know,
13:17:19 and it was just a new way of working and it's very exciting, right.
13:17:23 To, to learn something new and to.
13:17:24 Do something different and say, you know what?
13:17:26 This is going to work out. We're not doing exactly what we did before,
13:17:29 but we're able to do some new things and add that to our skillset.
13:17:40 So it's as if we get to be in the same room. Yeah.
13:17:43 We get to be in the same room and being able to be in the same room.
13:17:47 We get to see things from another perspective, all these changes,
13:17:51 all these things that have taken place.
13:17:52 It's different now.
13:17:54 Yeah.
13:17:55 And because of that.
13:17:58 We now see our roles differently.
13:18:01 So we've talked about being able to motivate people,
13:18:04 to get people going. The fact that we are now energy givers,
13:18:07 we actually have much more contact.
13:18:09 Because we almost have two now.
13:18:11 You can't just pop over.
13:18:12 So now we have the opportunity to let people know what's going on.
13:18:16 Almost as if we can toot our own horns without actually tuning
13:18:19 anything.
13:18:20 It's a beautiful thing.
13:18:22 But in our spaces.
13:18:25 Especially in the ones where we're looking for.
13:18:28 Focus groups.
13:18:31 And we are seeking those individuals out.
13:18:44 Is that more of a emotional intelligence,
13:18:47 emotional quotient side of things where you're trying to figure out
13:18:51 who would fit.
13:18:56 Or is there another skillset that you have to have to get to
13:19:00 that place? How,
13:19:02 what are you using to get the individuals that you need?
13:19:11 Well, yeah. So to recruit people is a little bit of a skill, right?
13:19:14 Because on the simplest end of it, you're, you know,
13:19:17 you have a database, you email people to see if they're interested,
13:19:20 you have them take a screening survey.
13:19:22 But then I think the real art to it comes in when you're talking to
13:19:25 people because.
13:19:26 People fill out a survey.
13:19:30 You tend to not give it a lot of thought, right?
13:19:32 You just sort of click, click, click for the answer.
13:19:34 So I think what we try to do then is when we talk to people,
13:19:37 we try to talk to them and just have a conversation and find out. So.
13:19:49 You know, whatever the topic is, if it is about cars. So, you know,
13:19:52 how do you shop for cars? Do you like to go into a dealer?
13:19:54 Do you like these online type of things? Do you know?
13:19:57 You just start having a conversation and learn and decide whether or
13:20:00 not the person really does meet the criteria that they're looking for
13:20:03 in the group.
13:20:04 So there, go ahead.
13:20:06 Anyway. So it is a little bit of.
13:20:07 Art intuition.
13:20:08 It's being able to take a survey and not ask the questions directly,
13:20:12 but to translate that into a conversation with someone.
13:20:14 Absolutely. And there has been a thought it might be an old thought.
13:20:18 So.
13:20:19 So please tell me if it's something that is no longer relevant.
13:20:23 But those soft skills right back in the day.
13:20:26 It was soft skills.
13:20:39 Taking these soft skills classes I'm focusing in on all of my
13:20:43 technical knowledge and the things that I know.
13:20:44 I don't need to worry about those soft skills.
13:20:46 Then we have the emotional intelligence and the emotional potion and,
13:20:49 oh my goodness. Is that just another word for soft skills?
13:20:51 That's what it seems like.
13:20:53 And then it's as if there are particular.
13:20:56 Genders.
13:20:57 That lean more into soft skills.
13:20:58 The things compared to genders that don't,
13:21:02 have you noticed any gender bias in what you
13:21:05 do?
13:21:06 Well, I would say.
13:21:08 There does seem to be, it does seem like for research and recruiting,
13:21:11 it does seem like there are a lot of women in the field.
13:21:14 But I do think men can do it.
13:21:15 I know plenty of good men who are good
13:21:19 researchers and who do well at recruiting. Right? So.
13:21:22 I have noticed there are more women, but.
13:21:32 I don't think it has to be that way.
13:21:34 I think that some men are just a natural at it as well. Right.
13:21:38 So it is, like you said, it's about being able to forge a connection.
13:21:42 It's about being able to.
13:21:45 Relate to other people and not everybody has that,
13:21:49 but it's,
13:21:50 it's something that researchers and recruiters have in common.
13:21:53 You know, we use a lot of our interns help us out with the recruiting.
13:21:56 And they're natural at it.
13:21:57 And I think it's because as researchers they're used to you.
13:22:00 Being empathetic and, you know, working to.
13:22:04 Connect.
13:22:05 On a deeper level with people.
13:22:06 What about the curiosity side?
13:22:09 Oh, yeah.
13:22:10 Because when, when you're newer to any field,
13:22:14 You have questions because you don't know everything already.
13:22:16 So you have questions and you're like, huh? I wonder.
13:22:22 If that takes place this way,
13:22:23 or should I ask this or can I dove?
13:22:25 A little bit deeper.
13:22:29 And then over time, some not all say, well,
13:22:32 I already know what you're going to say.
13:22:35 I already know what you going to say?
13:22:37 When I was in the customer service space, taking phone calls.
13:22:40 Taking phone calls and the customer service space.
13:22:49 There was a person that was hired and that person took
13:22:52 22 calls per hour.
13:22:54 Whereas others for only taking nine or 10.
13:22:57 22 Calls per hour.
13:22:58 Compared to nine or 10. So we pay attention to their,
13:23:01 to their qualities or listening in to their calls.
13:23:03 And we're finding out that they had resolved most things.
13:23:07 Before the customer started talking.
13:23:10 They reviewed the account.
13:23:15 And knew that they were probably calling to have a late fee waived.
13:23:22 And they've already waived the late fee prior to the customer,
13:23:25 even asking for the late fee to be waive.
13:23:26 I've already taken care of that for you.
13:23:27 This is already taken place.
13:23:29 But it comes to volume. That's fantastic.
13:23:37 But when it comes to the care that the individual needs may be
13:23:40 not so much.
13:23:42 So when we first started talking prior to our time together,
13:23:47 I always wanted to figure out, well, how, how are things set up?
13:23:50 Prior.
13:23:59 To my arrivals. He, all of that is a part of project management.
13:24:02 When you're having a meeting,
13:24:03 we have to make sure that everything's set up even prior to the people
13:24:07 coming.
13:24:08 And it's as if a lot of what you do is.
13:24:16 Surrounding some sort of a meeting environment.
13:24:19 So how do you get everything set up to meet the needs of all of your
13:24:23 different clients?
13:24:24 Because that's exactly what product managers have to do on a daily
13:24:27 basis.
13:24:28 Well, you know,
13:24:29 you mentioned curiosity and asking questions and I think.
13:24:33 You know, that's, that's a lot of it. You have to really understand,
13:24:37 you have to ask people what they want and what their expectations are
13:24:40 and what they need. And we're starting to open up a little bit again,
13:24:43 and we have.
13:24:44 You know, because we're able to test people.
13:24:46 From behind the glass, so to speak.
13:24:47 We have some clients who are coming in and doing that.
13:24:50 And so we need to know what.
13:24:51 What they feel comfortable with. And right now,
13:24:53 It's a lot of sanitisation processes.
13:24:56 It's a lot of making sure that people don't reuse things.
13:25:04 Making sure that everyone is wearing a mask in the office at all
13:25:07 times, even if they're in the waiting room and, you know,
13:25:10 it's making sure that after each session,
13:25:12 all the surfaces are cleaned. Right.
13:25:14 So that's different from maybe the way, you know,
13:25:17 before it was about what kind of snacks do you want in the room, or,
13:25:20 you know,
13:25:21 It was a much different scenario when we were setting up before and
13:25:24 now people's concerns.
13:25:27 You know our about.
13:25:27 You know,
13:25:28 are we going to temperature test people or are we going to make sure
13:25:31 that everybody has you.
13:25:38 Either has had a vaccination or is absolutely positive that they don't
13:25:42 have any symptoms. Right.
13:25:44 So it's finding out what is important to each person coming
13:25:47 in, and then just making sure that you meet those needs.
13:25:50 And I think it's not treating everyone the same.
13:25:52 Every client is going to have different needs.
13:25:54 And it's just making sure you understand what those are.
13:25:56 So when you had to pivot, because that's what I'm hearing,
13:25:59 there was a lot of pivoting going on. Oh yeah.
13:26:01 Wait, when you had to pivot, were there some challenges,
13:26:04 like how did you handle that?
13:26:13 Yeah, I think, well,
13:26:15 this whole last year has been a great deal of challenges. Like I said,
13:26:17 we had just expanded our space to include mock
13:26:22 jury rooms because the rooms we had were a little bit.
13:26:32 Snug.
13:26:33 So we just put this big room where we can have tons of people and then
13:26:36 boom, tons of people can't get together anymore.
13:26:38 So there was that pivot. There was the pivot to all right,
13:26:41 right now we can't do any in-person research.
13:26:43 How many of these projects can be adapted to be remote?
13:26:47 And some of them were,
13:26:48 what are the type of projects where we were supposed to go in homes
13:26:50 and look at how people did setups. And so then we had to figure out,
13:26:54 alright, can they do that with a camera?
13:26:55 Can they show us what they're doing?
13:26:57 Can they position things so that we can see them unbox a product.
13:26:59 So there was a lot of that.
13:27:01 And then as we started transitioning into people,
13:27:03 wanting to come back to the office,
13:27:05 We had to make sure that we were following all the protocols and make
13:27:09 sure that.
13:27:10 The participants also understood that.
13:27:22 When they come in, there's new rules. It's not, you know,
13:27:25 it used to be,
13:27:26 they would come in and we would give them snacks and drinks and we've
13:27:28 been hanging out and taught. And now it's like, I'm sorry,
13:27:30 you have to wear a mask.
13:27:31 You can take a snack in your purse for when you leave. You know,
13:27:34 it's just,
13:27:35 you just have to roll with the changes and make sure that you
13:27:39 communicate and make sure that.
13:27:40 Not only the clients,
13:27:42 but all of the participants and the staff understand the new
13:27:45 protocols that we've had to adapt.
13:27:46 And since 90% of what we do when we run projects
13:27:50 is communicating.
13:27:51 90%.
13:27:53 10% Were actually doing the work.
13:27:54 But 90%, we're actually having conversations,
13:27:58 building the rapport,
13:28:00 figuring out what their needs are.
13:28:03 We would say that we keep bouncing back to what we would call the
13:28:06 define phase and the planning phase and just circling back. Okay.
13:28:10 So what are the goals?
13:28:11 Oh, did the goals change? I see.
13:28:13 So if the goal has changed,
13:28:15 so now we need to plant a little bit differently,
13:28:17 which is where that pivoting comes into play.
13:28:22 Your projects are different than other projects
13:28:26 because it's as if you're a part of the project.
13:28:29 And not all at the same time.
13:28:31 You are a part of the team and not a part of the team.
13:28:38 So we would think of that also as saying, well,
13:28:41 all team members are there.
13:28:43 On an ad hoc basis.
13:28:45 We are going to have team members that are going to come in.
13:28:58 And we're also going to have team members that are going to go.
13:29:00 Sometimes our team members are temporary other times they're with us
13:29:04 for the whole time.
13:29:05 So there's always change taking place.
13:29:10 And you live in a world of change.
13:29:12 What tips can you give to the other product managers out there?
13:29:16 When change, although is inevitable.
13:29:19 It seems like the frequency of your change is a little bit different.
13:29:22 Which would cause you to have more tips than the average bear.
13:29:26 So please, please. What type of tips would you give us?
13:29:43 Well, it sounds like, you know,
13:29:44 project managers and researchers have so much in common because we all
13:29:47 I've been like you pointed out,
13:29:49 we are all managing projects in one way or another,
13:29:51 but I would say you have to be adaptable.
13:29:53 You have to be able to listen. You know, I mentioned interns,
13:29:56 we have a lot of young interns who are getting the graduate degrees
13:29:59 who come in.
13:30:00 And.
13:30:01 It's nice to get a fresh pair of eyes on something and have them come
13:30:04 in and say, why are you doing that? And be able to say, well,
13:30:07 we have always done it that way, but what did you have in mind?
13:30:09 You know,
13:30:10 and try to look at it and listen and figure out better ways to do
13:30:14 things. So I think communication is really important.
13:30:17 Being adaptable is important.
13:30:19 Sharing.
13:30:20 The big vision is important and.
13:30:23 A feedback loop, right? So it's not just you telling people it's,
13:30:27 it's them giving feedback and that going and whether that's clients.
13:30:45 Staff or even participants, right? If they're having,
13:30:48 if they didn't like their experience has been to understand why and
13:30:51 how you can improve on that with a client,
13:30:53 you need to understand what their needs are and how to meet best meet
13:30:55 those needs and the same thing with your staff.
13:30:58 You need to figure out what's working and what's not working and how
13:31:00 they feel like they can improve the job that they're assigned to do.
13:31:03 Excellent because it's always changing.
13:31:06 Yeah.
13:31:07 Our clients are always changing.
13:31:09 Their needs are evolving because we always have at least one person
13:31:13 on our team that wants to add scope. Yes.
13:31:16 Yes.
13:31:17 And they love doing it.
13:31:19 If it's a game for them. I bet.
13:31:21 I can add something. I can add something in.
13:31:24 So how do you handle scope creep? Because it's always taking place.
13:31:27 It is.
13:31:28 Is that inevitable?
13:31:32 Part of every project, every project team,
13:31:35 someone wants to add something.
13:31:51 It's hard as a coach. It's harder as a consultant.
13:31:53 I think then when you're in the company, you know, when you were in,
13:31:56 when, when I was working for HP and Monica was a consultant, HP,
13:32:00 we would, you know, both of us we'd meet with the team.
13:32:02 We'd find out what was needed.
13:32:09 And you would meet with the stakeholders and sort of define this is
13:32:13 what the project is going to do,
13:32:15 and this is what it's not going to do.
13:32:16 And sort of get that set in the beginning.
13:32:19 And then as people come in and they try to add things you can kind of,
13:32:21 okay, that's outside of scope. So when scope increases.
13:32:24 Budget has to increase and timeline has to increase. So I, and,
13:32:28 and as long as people understand that,
13:32:29 It's okay. And even as a consultancy,
13:32:32 Those are harder conversations, right?
13:32:33 Because they have already agreed to a certain.
13:32:37 You know,
13:32:38 project and the amounts of time and the amount of money they're
13:32:41 willing to spend. So you may be able to adjust it a tiny bit,
13:32:45 but you know, there has to be a point where, okay, that's taking.
13:32:47 A lot more hours than we had anticipated.
13:32:50 So this is going to be like, you know,
13:32:52 Project.
13:32:53 Part B or something.
13:32:55 You can't just, you know, you want to keep your clients happy,
13:32:57 you know, within reason, but there's a certain point where it's like,
13:33:00 okay,
13:33:01 Now the scope has completely changed and we really need to add this as
13:33:04 the second part of this project.
13:33:08 And one of the ways you can find out if, if this is a nice to have,
13:33:12 or if this is a need.
13:33:13 By putting a dollar amount to it. You can use.
13:33:15 Bye now.
13:33:16 Very quickly. And this is a.
13:33:19 Well, it would be nice.
13:33:20 It would be nice if we did.
13:33:38 Or, oh my goodness, this has to happen.
13:33:40 And I love that you brought up what we call the parts of the
13:33:44 triple constraints, right? So you have your time,
13:33:46 your costs and your resources or your people. Right.
13:33:50 But we've also added some things which are things that you.
13:33:53 Are having a part of every single time that someone comes in because
13:33:56 we added risk and a lot of what you're doing,
13:33:59 it sounds like deals with what those risk factors could potentially
13:34:02 be.
13:34:03 We've added quality, quality as a part of all of those processes.
13:34:07 And we've also added customer satisfaction. Oh my goodness.
13:34:10 Are you doing it all? So you have your time, you have your costs,
13:34:13 you have your people.
13:34:14 You have your quality,
13:34:15 you have your risk and you have your customer satisfaction.
13:34:17 Does that capsulate everything that your company does?
13:34:20 Well, yeah, I think all of that is part of it. So,
13:34:24 you know,
13:34:25 We're called out the hell of a hexagon.
13:34:26 Yeah. I mean, really.
13:34:51 Our goal is researchers is to help make products safe,
13:34:54 efficient,
13:34:55 or just fun and easy to use depending on which type of product it
13:34:59 is. Right. So, you know,
13:35:01 our job is to help companies make better products and do a better
13:35:05 job with their products offerings to the end user. Right?
13:35:09 So I feel like we represent the end user,
13:35:10 but all of those other things go into every single.
13:35:13 Interaction with a client, right.
13:35:15 With,
13:35:16 with the client and with the people who come in and participate in the
13:35:19 studies. Right? All of those things are important.
13:35:22 And we're always thinking about.
13:35:23 How to make things better.
13:35:24 How to meet the needs of the client and keep the participants happy,
13:35:27 how to meet the needs of the end user through this research while
13:35:30 still keeping the client happy.
13:35:32 You know,
13:35:33 So it's a bit of a balancing act.
13:35:36 I love it. And I really do.
13:35:38 It's all exciting to me and figuring out how you can navigate it.
13:35:42 And keep most people happy. Of course Happy's relative. Understood.
13:35:46 But how are they comfortable? And,
13:35:48 and what does that comfortable space look like? How are,
13:35:52 how are they saying yes, this is, this has been a great.
13:35:54 Interaction. We were able to get XYZ from this.
13:35:57 Interaction and yeah, I would do this again.
13:35:59 This is something that I would absolutely.
13:36:01 Partake of at least, at least one more time.
13:36:04 At least one more time.
13:36:05 So I love to give an opportunity for you to ask me any questions
13:36:09 that you want to.
13:36:10 So, I guess.
13:36:11 Ask you let's see.
13:36:12 As a project manager.
13:36:14 Have you.
13:36:25 Worked with other researchers ever. Or has that,
13:36:28 or have you been mostly working with, I don't know,
13:36:31 developers or engineers,
13:36:32 or how do you usually function when you work within a company?
13:36:35 Well, I have worked with researchers in fact.
13:36:39 I have worked with a whole research department.
13:36:42 And it was.
13:36:43 Well, I guess we had called ourselves.
13:36:45 Research and development.
13:36:46 I would love to name drop, but in these COVID times,
13:36:50 Perhaps I will not do that.
13:36:53 But I will say that part of.
13:36:56 One of the companies that I did.
13:36:57 Work with.
13:37:03 Has been instrumental in putting together one of the vaccines
13:37:07 that's as far as I will go there.
13:37:09 But.
13:37:11 When it comes to dealing with that scientific mind,
13:37:15 because you're dealing with scientists.
13:37:16 When you deal with that scientific mind, that was.
13:37:19 Something that I thrived in.
13:37:24 Because I am more rigid in my thoughts.
13:37:28 I am able to be warm, fuzzy.
13:37:35 But my natural tendency is to look at the thing
13:37:40 as far as what has to happen.
13:37:42 And what are the results? And I thought that I was going to be.
13:37:49 An astronaut at one point in time, I said, oh,
13:37:52 I would love to do that. And then I said, oh my goodness,
13:37:55 how much math is that? How much.
13:37:57 Okay.
13:37:58 Math is not my thing either.
13:37:59 I said physics. Is it physics? Is it.
13:38:14 But if I could do it again, because now I'm on my free time.
13:38:17 I read about quantum physics because I figured I'd take my nerd level
13:38:21 to another place. And I just do that on my free time.
13:38:25 But yes, I have definitely worked with.
13:38:27 Researchers.
13:38:28 It is more of a linear way of
13:38:32 thinking.
13:38:33 Very fixed Sigma. Like.
13:38:36 We are using lots of decision trees,
13:38:39 where you take all of your emotional feelings out and what are the
13:38:43 results saying?
13:38:44 I would love to say that that's a easier way to be.
13:38:56 But with the results don't match and you're working with a team
13:39:00 and you're trying to get to the next place because you're
13:39:03 impacting thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people.
13:39:07 Emotional intelligence comes into play later down the
13:39:11 line.
13:39:12 And because it shows up later.
13:39:15 The impact to progress is bigger.
13:39:18 Because they're not used to having to deal with those types of
13:39:21 feelings. Those.
13:39:23 Those thoughts because it has been very numbers based.
13:39:31 So being able to socialize that along the way, it little pieces,
13:39:36 not a lot,
13:39:37 but just in little pieces because nothing goes perfectly.
13:39:40 There are always variables, especially in science.
13:39:44 One of the cool things that I have learned.
13:39:46 Was was that when you pay attention to something.
13:39:50 You get a different result.
13:39:52 Yeah.
13:39:53 Then if no one was in the room.
13:40:02 I find so fascinating. It's so fascinating,
13:40:06 which in turn means how, how do you account for that unknown?
13:40:09 So you have your regular unknowns,
13:40:11 then you have your unknown unknowns.
13:40:13 Then you have, how do they build the pyramids? Right. So it's it.
13:40:16 It goes.
13:40:19 Along all of these items, which is, which is fun,
13:40:21 which is why I thought I was going to be up in the stars. Cause.
13:40:24 I find it so fascinating.
13:40:45 Yeah, I can definitely see that we get that too though. Right?
13:40:48 Because we observe behavior.
13:40:49 That's what we do when we bring somebody in, not in a group setting,
13:40:52 but when we bring them in for the individual,
13:40:54 one-on-one sort of interactions where observing their behavior.
13:40:58 But the fact that we're observing their behavior may change their
13:41:00 behavior. So we have to balance that with what we see and.
13:41:04 Think about that when we're trying to present results to the team.
13:41:07 That you know, we are observing behavior.
13:41:09 And when we go into homes or workplaces or offices or schools,
13:41:12 Obviously we know that things aren't exactly as they would
13:41:16 be if we were a fly on the wall, so, right, right. And.
13:41:20 When they find the camera that, that changes things too.
13:41:23 When I become really aware or when I.
13:41:25 I think there's people behind the glass, you know,
13:41:27 and sometimes there's not even people back there sometimes.
13:41:29 We're in the room with them.
13:41:30 And we tell them that there may or may not be people observing.
13:41:32 And a lot of times there are,
13:41:33 but there's some occasions where there aren't and people are still
13:41:36 like,
13:41:37 You know,
13:41:38 And checking out.
13:41:39 That mirror.
13:41:41 Right. And then there was this trick that I had seen where it,
13:41:44 it was that.
13:41:45 And I'm probably going to say it the opposite of how it truly is.
13:41:53 But when you put your finger to the glass,
13:41:56 if there is space between your finger and the reflection,
13:42:00 it means one thing. Or if there is no space,
13:42:02 It means it's it's, it's not a two-way mirror.
13:42:05 Or the opposite. One of those two everyone's Google it.
13:42:14 Everyone's going to laugh, but I found it so interesting. I said, huh.
13:42:18 So when, when there is a space,
13:42:20 but between your finger and,
13:42:22 and the glass and the reflection.
13:42:24 It means one thing.
13:42:26 When your finger is as if it's touching your same finger.
13:42:29 The reflection, it means something different, but like I said, Google,
13:42:33 it it's a thing.
13:42:34 It was a pretty obvious when he come into our lab, you.
13:42:36 It's really obvious. There's like a hole.
13:42:38 You know,
13:42:39 Section of wall. That's a big mirror, you know, it's pretty obvious.
13:42:49 That's an observation. And we do tell people, you know,
13:42:52 what it is and that there are cameras and,
13:42:54 and hopefully we hope that they get comfortable and kind of forget
13:42:57 about the, the, the rest of it and just focus on what they're doing,
13:43:00 you know?
13:43:01 And that's part of that building empathy and, you know,
13:43:04 communicating that we talked about.
13:43:05 It reminds me of when people have to have.
13:43:08 Sleep studies done.
13:43:09 And then they can't go to sleep because they know that someone's
13:43:12 watching them sleep.
13:43:13 For stuff, all hooked up.
13:43:16 It cracks me up. It cracks me up.
13:43:18 I have had an absolute ball talking to you.
13:43:21 Thank you so much, Christie for.
13:43:24 Taking time out of your day and teaching us more about end-to-end user
13:43:27 research.
13:43:34 I think that's absolutely fantastic.
13:43:36 We did say that you're located out of Houston, Houston, Texas, please.
13:43:40 Please tell our listeners how they'll be able to get in contact with
13:43:43 you.
13:43:47 Well, they can look at our website,
13:43:49 the www and tans user
13:43:52 You can follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn. You can look me up.
13:43:56 Christy Harper on LinkedIn.
13:44:05 Although we are in Houston, we do lots of remote research.
13:44:08 So if you want to go to our website and click on the contact and go in
13:44:12 there and sign up to be part of our active participant pool,
13:44:15 we can email you and let you know when there are fun,
13:44:17 remote studies coming up that you might want to be a part of.
13:44:20 How fun is that I'm going to look myself.
13:44:22 Yeah.
13:44:23 Oh,
13:44:24 Well, I think everyone for taking time to be with us today.
13:44:27 After hours conversations with Veronica,
13:44:30 where we had the opportunity to speak with Christy Harper.
13:44:32 I appreciate you.
13:44:33 Thank you so much for taking time to be with us today.