I am talking with Jessica Ivins about strengthening stakeholder relationships via UX research operations in this episode. Jessica is the Lead UX Researcher at The Predictive Index, overseeing research and research operations. She plans, conducts, and synthesizes strategic UX research projects that provide critical insights for organizational stakeholders. We’ve got some actionable professional strategies and resources to share too.
Related interesting reads or resources
- An Essential Tool for Capturing Your Career Accomplishments by Jessica Ivins
- Leaders of Awesomeness – Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman, Jared Spool, and the team at Center Centre – UIE launched Leaders of Awesomeness, an online community of more than 46,000 UX design, research, and content leaders – Free to join
Thanks to Vitaly Friedman for the following useful links:
- How To Manage Challenging Stakeholders and Influence Without Authority (free eBook, 95 pages) (https://lnkd.in/e6RY6dQB), a practical guide on how to deal with difficult stakeholders, manage difficult situations and stay true to your product strategy. From HiPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) to ZEbRAs (Zero Evidence But Really Arrogant). By Dean Peters.
- The Delicate Art of Interviewing Stakeholders, by Dan Brown https://lnkd.in/dW5Wb8CK
- Good Questions For Meetings With Stakeholders, by Lisa Nguyen, Cori Widen https://lnkd.in/eNtM5bUU
- UX Research Studies to Win Over Stubborn Stakeholders, by Lizzy Burnam 🐞 https://lnkd.in/eW3Yyg5k
Full Transcript of this Podcast Episode
Jessica At the predictive index, I work fairly closely with the sales team, at least we keep in touch with each other and sales as you can imagine, they talk to people all day, not necessarily paying clients but prospect clients, and they do hear a lot of things that overlap with what we hear in research. So if you were to draw a Venn diagram between what sales hears and what I hear, there's definitely some overlap. However, there are those two other sides of the circles where there is an overlap, because sales, they're not researchers. So they're going to get input that I don't hear. And vice versa. I'm going to get input that they don't hear. So it's good for me to know, going into the study, what do we already know? What are we already hearing? And if I hear things that overlap with sales, which happens a lot, I do share it out and I also acknowledge that okay, they were also also hearing this in sales. And that can actually be very powerful. Sometimes that can be seen as redundant, but the way I position it is, I say, Okay, we're hearing this in sales. We're also hearing it in research. This is some really strong data. And I tell the sales team, you know, we're two squeaky wheels on the cart. So if we are both sharing the same feedback, that's going to get a lot of attention, you know, one squeaky wheel on the cart gets oil, two squeaky wheels, that cart is definitely going to get some work done. So we've gotten some good needed attention on certain areas of our products or certain user needs, just by sharing the same insights from two different channels.
Cathi Oh, I love your squeaky wheel analogy to my carts like three has three wheels too because the support team is an area that's another squeaky wheel. You get all three ringing and we all come to a screeching halt like let's fix this right away, right? Yes, yes. Outstanding, outstanding!
Cathi My special guest today is Jessica Ivins. She's a veteran UX researcher and leads research and research operations at the predictive index. Jessica has dedicated much of her time to the UX community, presenting at conferences, appearing on podcasts, and writing many, many blog posts. She conducts plans and synthesizes strategic. She plans, conducts and synthesizes strategic UX research projects that provide critical insights for stakeholders across the organization.
Cathi Thank you so much for joining us today Jessica. I've looked forward to having this deeper conversation with you about building relationships in our role as UX researchers. I think this is an area that I personally am looking to grow in. And I would love any insights you can share with us. So I'll start with a tough question. How have you included stakeholders in your UX research process?
Jessica Sure, and thank you so much for having me. Cathi it's great to be here. So I include stakeholders in my process from start to finish. I have found that UX is a team sport. I know that's a common saying and UX and it holds true for research as well. So from start to finish, I include my stakeholders in the planning stages, executions, executing the study, all the way through synthesis and socializing the findings and I'm happy to dive in and give you any details you'd like there I could talk about this all day. That's awesome. In my role, currently, I have a senior researcher, that's my partner and we call ourselves a team. But really, you're talking about the larger team, the research of the stakeholders, you're helping to avoid risk or inform or you know, examine something closer. I guess my question is, initially, when you start out a research plan with a group of stakeholders, do you ask them to make predictions on what they expect to find? I've I found that that can you drive engagement in the research and the analysis? Have you had to go to a tactic like that?
Jessica Yeah, that's a great question. So making predictions on what they expect to find. I think that's a great technique. is one that I have in my back pocket. I have found that it's mostly necessary for stakeholders who might be skeptical of research or stakeholders who are just convinced that you know, you know, this is, you know, this is the user and this is what they're going to do you know, that kind of thing before we get into research. or folks who are just maybe like, afraid to admit that they've learned something because some of us have just been conditioned to just act like we know everything, which is ridiculous, but you know, in some parts of the world and some walks of life, you know, folks feel like they need to do that. So I think that's a technique I keep in my back pocket. I haven't had to use it that much. What I've done at the predictive index, however, is I've listed assumptions in our research plan, and also maybe like just a summary of what we already know. And that's something I started doing recently because it can be really easy for me as a researcher to kind of get sucked into the minutia and reveal in some sort of insight, which is actually already mirrors something we already know, right? But I get so wrapped up in the research and it turns out okay, well, we've already heard this through sales, or we've already heard this through another channel. So I like to do my due diligence in the planning stage and make a list of you know, just even just a brief summary of what we already know. And then also, What assumptions do we have, based on what we know and that kind of almost aligns with, you know, prediction, predicting what folks are going to do, but it's just more like assumptions based on maybe some big broader market research or secondary research or something like that. And I find that that that's really grounding. And that's been really helpful too, because at the predictive index, I work fairly closely with the sales team, at least we keep in touch with each other and sales as you can imagine, they talk to people all day, not necessarily paying clients but prospect clients, and they do hear a lot of things that overlap with what we hear in research. So if you were to draw a Venn diagram between what sales hears and what I hear, there's definitely some overlap. However, there are those two other sides of the circles where there is an overlap, because sales, they're not researchers. So they're going to get input that I don't hear. And vice versa. I'm going to get input that they don't hear. So it's good for me to know, going into the study, what do we already know? What are we already hearing? And if I hear things that overlap with sales, which happens a lot, I do share it out and I also acknowledge that okay, they were also also hearing this in sales. And that can actually be very powerful. Sometimes that can be seen as redundant, but the way I position it is, I say, Okay, we're hearing this in sales. We're also hearing it in research. This is some really strong data. And I tell the sales team, you know, we're two squeaky wheels on the cart. So if we are both sharing the same feedback, that's going to get a lot of attention, you know, one squeaky wheel on the cart gets oil, two squeaky wheels, that cart is definitely going to get some work done. So we've gotten some good needed attention on certain areas of our products or certain user needs, just by sharing the same insights from two different channels.
Cathi Oh, I love your squeaky wheel analogy to my carts like three has three wheels too because the support team is an area that's another squeaky wheel. You get all three ringing and we all come to a screeching halt like let's fix this right away, right? Yes, yes. Outstanding, outstanding!
Cathi Do you have a recent story you could tell that would sort of in a narrative way. Tell us about a process where you did include stakeholders and their roles
Jessica Yeah, I can give me an example of a usability study. I just I'm wrapping up right now. So it's a small kind of focused usability study that I ran this quarter as part of my work this quarter. And I had two stakeholders come to me, a designer and a product manager asked me, you know, can we do research on the specific area, the product just to make sure that people can navigate it, they understand it, we're going to release it, we just want to gain some confidence that this is going to land well with our users. So I took on the project and I included them from the beginning. So I created a protocol which is the term we use for research plan. And I so I met with those two stakeholders. First I gained all the requirements, the goals and everything. And I wrote up the protocol and I have a section in the beginning that states the goals, the research questions, you know, those assumptions and existing data, etc, that I mentioned earlier. And I sent that over to them for review. And so I included them as collaborators and they made some edits, they actually clarified some things that I had missed, which was awesome, and that does a couple things. Number one, it makes sure that the research is on point and getting the data that it needs to get and number two, it makes them feel included. It makes them it gives them a confidence that I am a part of this. This is not something that just is happening over in the corner that I have no say and, you know, so they feel like they're contributing, and then I carry that through throughout the project. So they observe, they help they attend debriefs because I conduct debriefs at the end of each session. I have a next week I have what I call I confirm what we learned as meeting because we just wrapped up the sessions and that's where I bring all the stakeholders together and not just those two stakeholders, but I review everything that's been synthesized and I give people opportunities to say hey, or ask them you know, do you see anything that is missing? Do you see anything that maybe doesn't align with what you observed? Do you see anything that I could change? And that's when I really solidified the synthesized learnings and then I started to socialize them. So I include those stakeholders from start to finish.
Cathi I love how you call your meeting a "confirm what we learned meeting". That's great. It's a great time to discuss any questions that come up because sometimes new questions arise out of research, as well so I could see that being helpful. I wonder how and I wonder how you reference back to his existing research. We have a research repository that we keep available to everyone in the organization. And one of the first things we do is like reference in the existing research and you talked about that when you kick it off, like what do we already know? Is that a standard step in your process every time? Do you keep that in your brain? Is there so much you have to keep it in a research repository?
Jessica Yeah, so the way I approached that, I started formalizing it because I found that you know, so to back up a little bit, we don't have a research repository. We just don't have the budget for it or the means to set it up and maintain it. So all the knowledge exists in people's heads for the most part and scattered around and random documentation. So what I was doing up until recently was I was talking with stakeholders about what we already know, but I wasn't formalizing it. I wasn't putting it into the research plan. Like I said, it would get forgotten or you know, I might get lost in the minutia and not realize, oh, this is something we already know. So I in the timeliest faction that I can without making it into a big thing. I just kind of pull stakeholders I say, hey, what do we already know in terms of data or evidence that we have around this? And it could just be like three or four bullets in the research protocol, right? And that's how I establish or just document that and that's how I'm able to keep it top of mind throughout the research.
Cathi Oh, thank you for sharing that. That's a great that's a great sort of scrappy way to go about it and include people to fantastic. Being in a role that requires a lot of empathy, and a great deal of energy and professional bandwidth, especially if it's a small team, and it sounds like you're a team of one in your current role. It can be challenging to simultaneously invest in your career on an ongoing basis and gather those things for your portfolio and measure those accomplishments for your own personal career goals. How do you honor your need to take care of yourself and stay prepared for your next job search by capturing your career accomplishments consistently?
Jessica Yeah, I love this question. It's a great question. This is definitely one of those questions I can ramble on about all day long. And then something you said to confirm yes, I am a team of one. I am a research team of one here at the predictive index. And the way that I stay prepared for my next job search is I'd actually just posted about this recently on LinkedIn. The two big things that I do are number one, maintaining my professional network, so keeping relationships warm with people that I know. And then number two is I document all my project work and I take notes and save a record of it just so I have raw materials to work with, whenever I need to prepare a case study or a portfolio or a resume. So those are the two core things that I make a big priority. And I make them such a priority that to put it into perspective during the pandemic. I was a single mom so I was isolated at home with the baby was not an easy time and I still made time to take note shape project notes, because I was still working at that time, take project notes and document everything that I was accomplishment accomplishing, even if I didn't get to food every week because I make make it a priority to do every week even if it was every two weeks or three weeks. I still did it because it can have it's just such a huge payoff. And it doesn't really take all that much time. And I'll dive into that that a little bit more. So I learned about the career management document a while back and when I worked at center center, we kind of reframed it into something that does UX professionals can use and what it is it's essentially a document that I keep that anyone can keep and it's For My Eyes Only and it's a history of the things that I've done. So accomplishments have I've made notes about project work that I've done screenshots, any other kind of visual artifacts of work that I've done, so that I have all the raw materials ready to prepare a case study or portfolio, and I keep it up every week. I make it a priority to do every week. If I don't get to it once a week. I will definitely do it every two weeks. And the reason I do that is because you know as you can imagine, it's really hard to remember what you've worked on. As time goes by even just thinking back like three weeks, like trying to think back to three weeks of what you worked on three weeks ago. It's really hard to remember all that right? And it's critical to remember all that if you ever need to do a job search if you need if you need to refresh yourself on some accomplishments that you had in the project so you can talk about it in a job interview. Right? Right. You need to have all that information ready. So that's why I'm making it a priority. And I sit down and I just use a Google Doc and I store things in Dropbox, you know, in terms of screenshots and whatnot. I write it down and it's been a tremendous help. You know, I'll write down wins or write down reflections like things that I learned things that I realized that I want to do better, because it just should I can look back and see how much I've grown. I've even used it for my annual review cycle. When I have to fill out my annual self review. I look at my career management document I look at all the wins and all the accomplishments and those are the things that I put in my annual self review. So that's been incredibly critical for me and I actually do used to do a talk about it. I wrote an article and a list of part about it a few years back. I believe you'll have that link in the in the show notes. And I have found it to be one of the best investments I've ever made in my career. And now that I was just thinking about this earlier today, now that I've been doing it regularly, I can't imagine not doing it anymore.
Cathi Yeah, it's tough enough if you're going into a job search unexpectedly. Also, we all want to have professional growth in our careers and lives and we want to change at some point maybe working from one place to another place in a different type of role or different industry or team or so keeping that up is so so so important. I really struggle with that. So I appreciate the document and I'm curious about how much time every week you dedicate to that is it. Do you give yourself an hour and a cup of coffee to do it is is it 15 minutes is it what is it for you?
Jessica I set aside 30 minutes a week and I usually do it Friday afternoons, because it's Friday afternoons for me and for most people are kind of slow. You don't have a lot of meetings and whatnot. And honestly, if I'm in a crunch, and I can only spend 10 minutes on it, I spend 10 minutes on it, right? And I prioritize it by saying like, what are the things that I'm most proud of that I did this week and I just jot them down in the career management document. So CMD short, by the way, but yeah, that's um, that's huge. And again, I might not get to it for like two weeks. But if three weeks have gone by, I start getting really antsy. Like, I'm really going to update this because I've just, I've just found it to be so incredibly valuable. And as an example, in preparation for this meeting, I went back and I looked up a few examples because because we had talked about what questions you were going to ask me for this interview. So I went through the crew management document, I looked up some old examples to refresh myself so I can share them so it's got lots of uses.
Cathi Oh, amazing. I'm curious about relationships with customers. Do you talk to customers on a repeating cadence? Do you build relationships with customers as well? I start to get to know our customers over time like, "Hey Cathi How are you doing?" And we're talking and we catch up we talk about whatever the research study outlines we will be talking about. And those relationships are nice to nurture as well. I guess the most important part of that for me, what I'm focusing on right now myself, is closing the loop with those customers after learning about maybe some of the challenges they're having with our platform or tool or whatever we're talking about. And closing that loop with them to say, hey, we did the thing or hey, this is this is something we're hearing about for more than just you and I would expect that this will improve soon. is closing the loop part of your thinking about relationship building as well.
Jessica It's interesting you say that so I haven't sort of to back up a bit. I've had our I set up a UX participant panel here at the predictive index. So we have a panel of either prospect clients who haven't are not paying clients plus clients paying clients and I manage them on a CRM, we use a tool called rally usr for that. And so they've opted in to join our research program, and they are in the CRM and so those are the people I recruit the most. And I've been thinking a lot about you know, how do I make these people feel engaged and eager to participate? How do I make them feel appreciated? And I was doing some reading this year and I was reading an article about how to maintain a panel and one of the things that said was sending out thank you emails to people after they you know after they do whatever, after they complete a screener after they participate in a session. So I started doing that I actually just sent out honorariums yesterday I sent out Amazon gift cards and I sent out a separate thank you email saying, you know, to confirm that has sent the gift cards to check your inbox, that kind of thing and also thanking them for their time. I also for more much more in depth, generative study last quarter, I conducted phone screens, so I phone screened our clients really thoroughly to make sure that we were getting the right clients for the study that was really critical. We had to do really extensive screening, and some of them just didn't pass the screener. So I was I interviewed them for 10 minutes on the phone, I screen them and then if they didn't qualify, I would send them a thank you email saying thank you so much for your time. This it turns out this study is not a good match at this time. We want to you know, and I put in some wording like, you know, I want to make sure that if I can't remember how I said it was something more eloquent than this. But you know, we're only going to interview you if we think it's a good use of your time. Right. So I was just making them and framing it in a way that you know, we really appreciate you spending 10 minutes with us on the phone. We don't think this is a great use of your time right now. However, we will keep you in mind for future studies. Thank you so much. And I did get a few responses that people replying and thanking me. So those are the ways that I nurture my research participants. I have not closed the loop in terms of hey, we launched this thing that that you give us feedback on once in a while we do that. I just haven't found that I have the bandwidth to do that. But most of the time if we're doing that it's not me. It's a product manager or somebody else who's like, hey, we want them to sign up for this thing we just launched because they were excited about this. Let's tell them we launched it right. Yeah, it's more Yeah, yeah. But I just you know, I want to I want people on the panel. To feel appreciated. I want them to know me. So that way, if they don't get an email from me for six months, female comes back. They're more likely to remember me if they feel appreciated. Right? Yeah. So yeah, so those are the techniques that I use.
Cathi I think that's great. I think it's great that the PMs have these great close relationships with customers to and they can be closing the loop and then getting engagement into early access projects or, you know, adoption and things like that. So it's a good reminder to me to to rely on team members. I don't have to do every little thing it takes a lot of energy to be a UX researcher. And I think anything we can do as a team can help prevent burnout and just general exhaustion, especially if you're dealing with topics that are extremely painful for users, those kinds of calls and those kinds of discussions can be very, very draining on you as a human being. So fortunately, I don't have a lot of those but I've been through periods of time where those can be very, very challenging. And having a team to help through that is good.
Jessica Yeah, I hear what you're saying. And I haven't encountered a lot of that in my career, at least not recently. We're a b2b. So we're talking to people from a business about business. So we don't we don't we don't dive into that more personal, heavy stuff. But I can only imagine if I were in a different domain, that would be a whole other challenge to tackle. Yes, I find that researchers come out of one or two sort of directions. I wonder if you find this to or what your experience has been like with this Jessica's? I find that researchers come either from product design or web design or visual design or design into research. They just start to really focus on research as a designer, or they come to research through academic research. I'm wondering what your path has been like if you don't mind sharing and if you observe the same
Jessica Yeah, so it's interesting you say that. So I came in, I want to say the old school way where I just kind of stumbled my way in. I'm actually coming up on almost 20 years in the industry, which is kind of amazing and then kind of terrifying at the same time. But you know, I so I came in and I started as a front end developer many many years ago. I fell in love with HTML and CSS when I was in college. I didn't know what I was going to do, like, Oh, let me let me build websites, I can get paid for that. Right. And I ended up falling in love with it. And then I discovered user experience in the earlier days early 2000s. And then I moved into that and the rest is history, right? But I was doing a lot of design work. And then I discovered research and and now I specialize in research. And I think you know, I had almost 20 years of experience and I think experience is worth its weight in gold. Right? And at the same time I think there are advantages to coming from a more academic background, you have more of a formal training, especially when it comes with research. There's so many formal methodologies, do's and don'ts like science behind especially the more quantitative research or even qualitative research, I mean, anthropology, the history of anthropology goes back so far, you know, and I've gained a lot of that and figured it out, like through the, you know, school of hard knocks like old school way like through experience. And at the same time, I think there are a lot of benefits of having a more formal education, especially for research. So I think you know, both have their pros and cons.
Cathi Yes, for sure. Having extensive domain knowledge and a frontend engineering background is just great, great. I think that's an ideal place to be working from. I personally come from, you know, visual design and I sort of wished I were a frontend engineer for most of my life. I think that I there's a great balance when you're building a team if you can have some of each on your team -if you have the luxury of having more than one researcher on your team, having a balance of those things together so that we can lift each other's skill levels up together. I've learned so much working on projects. I agree with you. I think the best way to learn is to have an experience working on a project even if you're interning or entry level. What you can learn working on end to end projects with teams of people who have a little bit more experiences is worth so much. So any other areas of relationship building that have helped you?
Jessica Yeah, I want to say so looking at it from a macro view. It's been quite a journey here at the predictive index. And I'm really proud of and I say that because as I mentioned, I'm a team of one at the predictive index. I have been almost the whole time I've been there. I've been there for it'll be two and a half years. I'm coming up and when I started, I was a team of one starting from scratch. Now they had had researchers prior, but there were no researchers when I got there. And there was really no hand off no practice to kind of keep going. The momentum wasn't going and I was starting from OMA and it felt like starting from zero and I've managed to take the organization from a more reactive tactical, you know, approach to research like usability testing, you know, get on stream right before release, which we which as you and your listeners probably know is problematic because it's best to have research at the forefront to get a proactive understanding of, of problems and challenges for the users and so on and so forth. So I've been able to shift the organization from a more reactive standpoint, to a more proactive standpoint, over my two and a half years here, and I've been very intentional about that. And it's been a slow journey. It's been a slow and steady you know, it's not an overnight change. It's slowly searing that the big ship in the opposite direction, but it's gone from what I first started and people were coming to me like hey, can you usability test this feature? Can you usability test that feature to VPS coming to me saying, Hey, can you help us do research in this other area of the business where we haven't had a researcher before? Or can you help me figure out or take on research on some really proactive work I'm doing to try to get some big picture input on the strategy for the company, right? So it's just been an enormous shift. That's something that I'm really really proud of, and it's taken a lot of time and a lot of relationship building to come back to your original question, because I started small working with a small team working with a pm and a designer and then inviting people into my process and then it was just like the ripple effect to just spread and spread. And as more people saw the value of research I was able to shift from reactive to proactive and now I'm mostly doing proactive research. I do some usability testing here and there. But it's more generative, you know, get ahead of the problem kind of research, which is really where I want to be and it's been a very fulfilling journey.
Cathi Yeah, I was just thinking, how fulfilling how fulfilling that must be Yes, I feel we're on a similar trajectory in my work. I feel like I'm really enjoying the strategic nature of our work and working with stakeholders on Hey, Kathy, what do you think the top three problems we should be focusing on based on what you're seeing here and like, informing what gets on or does not get on the roadmap feels fulfilling as long as you have the research to back that up right? usability research is is great though I will never tire of watching someone using our product and observing them and talking to him about it that that is something else still always want to have a foot in that door. Yeah, strategic research. Relationship Building is critical to be successful. With strategic research. Wilson.
Jessica Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think usability testing is the gateway right? Because when I don't know about you, but the first time I realized I wanted to be a UX professional was when I back when I was a front end developer. And this is quite a while ago, my company hired an agency to do usability testing. And I sat and observed and I watched participant after participant fail to use the product that I had designed, and it blew my mind. Right. And that first exposure to research even if it's just usability testing, can be really moving for people. And you know, the it's just, you know, it's like showdown. Like, here's what's happening, here's what the user is doing. And you That's when stakeholders really start to see the value in research. So I think there's a lot of value in usability testing. Number one, we need to make sure that you know, even if we're building the right thing, we need to make sure we're building it right if we build the right thing, but it's confusing and hard to navigate, that's a problem. So usability testing has its place, right. But also usability testing, it's just, it just opens that door for stakeholders to really demonstrate the value of what we can provide. And then once those stakeholders are interested, what I did is I just carried them, I carried them through more usability testing, and then sort of started shifting to more strategic, and you know, more interviews and more getting to understand people's people's problems, bringing the lens of research we can, which can get data that is really difficult to get otherwise.
Cathi That's both qualitative and quantitative. So you don't have to do all qualitative work to surface that kind of useful data. Fabulous, fabulous. My last question about relationship building is peer to peer. I feel very connected to my design partners, and my UX research partners in my community of industry professionals in this area. And I feel very fortunate to learn from them and, and watch their free tutorials and courses and communicate that way. And I know you've been a teacher, and I wonder how the relationship peer to peer has influenced your career or how you influence others careers in that way.
Jessica Yeah, so I think this goes back to what I was saying earlier about building my building and maintaining my professional network. So I do it not to just benefit me for my next job search. I also do it because number one, there are a lot of awesome people in our field, and I care about them, and I want to stay in touch with them. And number two, once I build a relationship with them, and I built this, like give and take kind of relationship with them, I can really lean on them for help. So I talked earlier, for example, about how I implemented a UX participant panel from scratch, right? And how we use rally usr for that and everything that I hadn't done that before. And I knew so we were really struggling with recruiting at the here at the predictive index, all my tried and true methods weren't working. It was just taking way too much time, way too much manual labor, I was burning out. And I needed to do something different. And I did my research. And I realized, Okay, I think what I need is a research panel. So I lean on some of my friends who are either researchers or research specialists, I talk with them about the challenges I was having. They confirm yes, this sounds like it's exactly what you need. They even gave me some additional insights for techniques that I could use for recruiting and, or different ways of thinking about it. And that was huge. I couldn't have done all that on my own. Right. So I'm the one who did the work at the end of the day, but I leaned on a lot of my professional contacts for input. And I don't know that I would have been able to do it without that. So I think having having those friends, if you will, on the field connections, whatever you want to call them, you know, maintaining that give and take relationship because there are times where they may come to me for something and you know, ask me, Hey, can you review my resume? I'm looking for a job or hey, can you do this for me? And I'd be more than happy to right. So that's been huge.
Cathi Yeah, that's awesome. I find that very helpful as well. As we wrap things up, I'll share a story with you about my first research opportunity as a designer, and it was to do some field research at a tech work camp. for WordPress. I had to do some field research for a project we were building was working with a team of engineers to build a product And so all of the engineers and developers from this industry, were going to be at this work camp. So I did some field research and interviewed people on what their process was for publishing content to the web and how I had some assumptions that like, you know, they would have images and graphics that they were considering. And not very many of them started there, they started with some text and went and got an image if they had to. I was like, Okay, I do not know everything, I could learn a lot talking to people and learning how they work. And, and that was my first taste of it. And I was like, Oh, I love research. I love learning. It's very addictive, in a way. I do love learning about your style and your ability to stand up a research program and stand up a UX our panel and move into strategic on your own. It's a lot of work. And it's a lot of fun though too, something to take pride in making the world better for people. Yeah, oh, yeah. Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, what we do is a lot of work. And it can be very challenging, and at times draining. And at the end of the day, it's just very fulfilling, like you said, for sure. You know, it's just, again, I put it on my career management document, like, I want us research pedal from scratch. You know, I write some notes on that, you know, that's something I'm really proud of.
Cathi Yeah, that's great. That's great. Well, we will definitely share a link in the show notes to your essential tool for capturing career accomplishments. And I'm going to start using it and so will my teammates. This is a terrific resource and I can't thank you enough for coming in sharing some insights around relationship building and and how you got started, and I really appreciate it, Jessica.
Jessica Awesome. Thank you so much for having me, Cathi. I had a blast!