Putting the Framework to Work:
To demonstrate how to use this framework, let’s look at how Brandie Smith, former lead researcher at WayBetter and Metromile, took Sosik’s model and put it into practice.7
Smith recently sat down with us for an episode of our People Driven Products podcast. In an interview with Sprig, she walked through exactly how she uses Sosik’s model day to day.
1. Note the Impact
Start with a descriptive note of the observed impact, along with the date. For example, an entry by Smith might read: “I led leadership through a 10-minute tagging exercise of NPS comments. CEO slacked me, ‘this is such a smart way to engage leadership.’”
It’s important to note here that the impact might be qualitative feedback such as a note from leadership or an email from stakeholders. Not all impact has to be hard metrics such as improving churn rate.
2. Document the Research Activity
Record the name and date of the research activity—such as a study, a workshop, or a document—that this impact came from. The key here is that it’s not just a deliverable but an activity that encompasses all stages of research as a whole.
In Smith’s case, she leads a monthly meeting where she and a cross-functional team compile a holistic view of the customer experience, which is then presented to leadership. For this, Smith might write down that the research activity was presenting "Product's NPS Tagging Exercise during the Monthly Customer Experience Leadership Meeting.”8
3. Determine the Focus Area Affected
Make a note of the main research focus area affected by this impact. When personalized to your organization, this might include:
- Lanes of work (eg. mobile experience, customer experience)
- Teams/squads (eg. core product, growth product)
- Product areas (eg. enrollment, claims)
4. Note the Type of Research Activity
Sosik’s original template included evaluative research, generative research, and iterative research. In her impact tracker, Smith adds one additional category: “company initiatives.” This distinction allows her to track the impact of internal research as a separate category from product research.
For the example above, Smith would mark her entry as an iterative research activity since it stems from a monthly meeting she leads. She considers presenting NPS during the monthly Customer Experience Leadership meeting to be an iterative research activity because "it involves a systematic repetition of a sequence of tasks executed in exactly the same manner multiple times, provides a deepening understanding of research data and brings a standard of reliability to the research."
5. Select the Impact Type
Then, decide the type of impact that was observed. Categories in Sosik’s framework include:
- Influencing a product change
- Influencing a product strategy
- Increasing stakeholder exposure to users
- Sharing communications
- Prompting further research
- Prompting a new collaboration
- Elevating the role of user research
- Developing infrastructure
In this case, since Smith received praise from a harder-to-reach senior executive, she considered it as elevating UX research status. Praise is always worth documenting as it helps to build the credibility of research - especially when you and your team are just starting out.
More established teams might focus more on product strategy impact. In order of scope, here are some of the best types of impact to look for:
- A usability issue identified in a prototype test is corrected before launch
- The project manager mentions insight from research in a meeting about product strategy
- The CEO mentions insight from research in an All-Hands meeting
- Insight about users leads to changes to roadmap
- Insight about users leads to changes to product strategy
6. Determine the Scale of Impact
Lastly, note the scale of the impact observed. Smith’s choices include:
- Individual stakeholders
- Individual project or team
- A larger body of work
- Beyond the company (like the broader UX community)
For the example above, Smith would select “organization” because it impacted a group of people rather than a body of work.9