How do I persuade my company to have more user interviews?

I’ve been a PM for two weeks now. In the past, user interviews provided the most important insights during the discovery phase, which ultimately fueled the expansion of my products (of course along with quantitative feedback as well).

The product managers at my current company (a series-D startup) don’t conduct user interviews. That is handled by a different team, which I find uncomfortable. Since I have never worked for a larger company, I am unsure if this is typical and how to convince them otherwise without being “revolutionary.”


If you’ve never worked in that manner and have only been with the company for a short while, start out by seeing how it functions. This is your stance if you are aware of actual issues that could be resolved through independent user research.


Thanks @LawrenceMartin.

When do you consider the best time to push this?

When, assuming you do not receive assistance, would you do user interviews on your own? (This was a different, suggested strategy)

If a company sees that I can transform user interviews into a useful input that leads to better product decisions, it’s difficult to conceive that they will be angry with me.


Once you spot a flaw in the current arrangement. My main idea is to start by recognizing problems instead of starting with a solution in mind.


Wow, already attempting to change things at such an early stage (less than a year in the job).

Take a step back and be modest, I would say before offering any advice. Right now, you can’t persuade anyone of anything. You still have a very limited understanding of their policies and procedures; give it some thought and find out why they operate the way they do. Start submitting some proposals after completing a year.


I believe you should be modest and heed your own advise. To be honest, it’s really disgusting that you assume that someone joining two weeks in instantly equates to them doing it out of a lack of “humbleness” and not out of passion or because they actually don’t care.

I can only assume that you sound like those PMs who appear to know a lot about a subject but are really simply skilled at using the terms that are the most unnecessary and confusing in order to keep their jobs.


Well, I don’t believe that passion and modesty or pride are incompatible. But I do value your viewpoint.


I can see why you might not believe that. It doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s accurate.

Imagine telling your supervisor that you don’t want the promotion and instead only want your current position with a higher income. However, I’m doing it because I’m enthusiastic about it.

Consider saying to your supervisor, “I don’t want the promotion; I’m keeping my title.” You took too long to recognise my worth and promote me, therefore I’m doing this out of pride.

Very distinctive. No?


You can just ask the UXR team if you can sit in on some meetings to better understand your customers and their concerns.

Someone needs to be talking to customers, but it doesn’t have to be the PMs.


I don’t agree it doesn’t have to be PMs. It does.


@AmyWalker, Why do you feel that way if you have a competent UXR team you can delegate to? What do you think OP can figure out that an experienced UX Researcher can’t?


@MarioRomero, You’ve probably heard someone tell a humorous tale, but when it falls flat, they say, “I guess you had to be there.”

Therefore, the issue is not at all with the researcher’s expertise, but rather with the reality that they cannot capture all the richness of a human interaction for consumption by a person who wasn’t present.

The traditional game of “telephone” taught us that proxies inherently incur a transaction cost and that a great deal of information is lost, and noise is produced when a message is sent from one person to the next.

The time that is still saved doesn’t make up for the knowledge that was lost in the exchange because the PM still needs to listen to a debrief or read a study report.

I want my PMs to be in the room (or on the zoom) with users during research interviews, so they don’t lose any of their empathy. I also want them to be able to follow up with users directly to help them clarify the hypotheses they’re watching and to draw from their entire conversation when making the hourly or daily calls that PMs must be able to make.


Take advantage of the fact that you are new to the organisation or product by discussing with your lead your desire to meet users and directly discuss their needs as a part of your onboarding (30/60/90 days). Obtain his backing before submitting to interviews.

Talk to your lead about the fact that you have never worked for a firm that has a UXR team and that you also want to better understand the value this team can contribute. Then, start communicating with the UXR so that you can follow a UXR campaign from start to finish.

You will be in a better position to choose what is best for your product team once you have finished these two learning tasks. The UXR team is a fantastic resource that you should take advantage of if you want to have a bigger effect, but you can only do this after you are aware of their capabilities and availability.


Who does that team include?


@MarcoSilva, seems to be the head of research and a UX researcher who are under the product department.


When it comes to handling customer interviews, many established firms follow this structure. Before making any kind of suggestions or adjustments, I advise you to join with the UX Researcher and complete at least a few.


Gotcha @MariaWilson. It’s strange because they advise PMs, Engineers, and Designers work on user interviews while coming from a founder role and based on my study, which includes books like Inspired and Continuous Discovery Habits (which I recommend).

Since we are the ones making decisions about what to build and producing those items as well, I cannot see the benefit of separating the two. Please provide any resources you may have about the reasons why established businesses take this action.


It’s true that this seems like red tape, and larger businesses have more resistance to change, but if you look at it this way, scale also allows for much, much more input.

So it’s not “strange,” simply a new movement economics to learn.

Fortunately, a new fiscal year is coming up, and you’re in a great position to develop some compelling Portfolio Epics to support research for it.

  1. Create a Portfolio Epic to serve as a guide for your POs as they create subsequent Product Epics on generative and evaluative product research (s). Give them a budget envelope with up to 100 in-depth interviews (IDIs) every program increment, with an average budget of $50 per interview and $100 for subject matter experts (SMEs). Use surveys to spread your net broader.

  2. Ensure that the research recruitment team is equipped to locate competent participants and avoid becoming a bottleneck. Ensure you have a backup plan in case the search process is delayed so you may accept candidates who are less than perfect. To access them as a User pool, make sure the Recruitment staff gets along with Sales, Customer Care, and Marketing.

  3. Tell the UX researchers to do generative research and the UX designers to draught usability hypotheses. Make sure they are wired to demonstrate tangible results. To avoid producing duplicate research, they will need to collaborate with and present to other BI and marketing research teams.

  4. To ensure a close connection between research, development, and business impact, have every research result tie directly to the upcoming major release version.

  5. It’s likely that the POs must complete an intake form for research before the next PI begins. Make certain that each PO has completed a relevant Research Intake form as well as a compelling Product Epic. Recruitment can take up to two weeks, thus “missing the body” is a fast track to mediocrity.

Hopefully your project tracking is adequate to track the outputs of your research.

Good luck!


Then watch and learn first before jumping to conclusions.


Correct. In order for PMs to make daily product decisions, it is incredibly costly to try to communicate through internal proxies the learning from user interviews. Why build an organization that causes this friction?

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