Today on Twitter I asked for examples of all-too-common or uncommonly pathetic reasons for skipping research on a design/development project. We've all heard some variation of these before, but I am always amazed. Many were some variation of "not enough time and money", as though research comes in standard units of $100k/month. Apparently, a manager who won't try a new sandwich place without scouring Yelp for hours will happily plow forward investing major resources in unexamined assumptions.
This is how people make business decisions?
I thought I'd quickly share some of the responses here as a virtual wall of shame—something you can print out and tack to your office refrigerator. In a future post, I'll get into strategies for overcoming these objections, starting with considering research as a set of activities you can do quickly, inexpensively, and incrementally.
The cargo cult:
The research was finding a profitable business model in a case study and stealing their website via screenshots. — carolinecblaker (@carolinecblaker) September 20, 2013
The split-test bake-off:
@mulegirl “We'll just A/B test her idea against your idea, then launch the winner to everyone." #justenough — Stephen R. Fox (@F6x) September 20, 2013
Thinking is hard:
@mulegirl "Can't you just use best practices?" — Derek A Rosenstrauch (@derklbot) September 20, 2013
Unclear on the concept:
@mulegirl "we want to wait until we have more content on the site" <- seriously!? — Crispin Bailey (@cspin) September 20, 2013
Next you'll ask for champagne in the break room (wait, some startups probably have that):
@mulegirl "Of course, in an ideal world, we'd do user research." No, in an ideal world, you wouldn't need to. #justenough — Clay Fenlason (@khomotso) September 20, 2013
Shut up and keep paddling:
@mulegirl "We didn't allocate time in the project schedule." "We'll miss our launch date." "Everyone just knows." All on the same project. — Kaleem (@kaleemux) September 20, 2013
Odd use of the word "target":
@mulegirl «we don't need to do research, we want to target everyone.» #justenough — luísbatista (@fr3aky) September 20, 2013
The winner, for pure fatalism:
@mulegirl *Knowing, sympathetic glances around the table and a gentle laugh* "That's not how things work around here. You'll learn." — Den McHenry (@DenMcH) September 20, 2013
And, of course, geniuses don't ask questions:
@mulegirl “Steve Jobs never did research." — Jean MacDonald (@macgenie) September 20, 2013
In response to this last one, I highly recommend watching even the first three minutes of this internal NeXT video of Steve Jobs talking product strategy.
Are there other excuses you've heard and would like to demolish? Leave them in the comments.
@mulegirl HOW DOES THAT ARTICLE NOT CONTAIN A LINK TO YOUR BOOK? MARKET GODAMMIT!! — Mike Monteiro (@Mike_FTW) September 20, 2013
Buy Just Enough Research today and you'll be defeating these weak arguments in minutes.