Principal Design Researcher

Toronto, CA

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Xero is a beautiful, easy-to-use platform that helps small businesses and their accounting and bookkeeping advisors grow and thrive. 
At Xero, our purpose is to make life better for people in small business, their advisors, and communities around the world. This purpose sits at the centre of everything we do. We support our people to do the best work of their lives so that they can help small businesses succeed through better tools, information and connections. Because when they succeed they make a difference, and when millions of small businesses are making a difference, the world is a more beautiful place.
As a Design Research Principal you exhibit mastery over the core design research process, making use of a broad range of methods and techniques. You will confidently manage large and complex projects that involve multiple streams of research, across multiple areas of the business, that impact business and product strategy. You will grow the skills of less experienced researchers by mentoring them on projects and offering them support. You will lead initiatives to improve our practice.

What you’ll do

  • Conducting design research:

  • Manage large and complex projects that involve multiple streams of research, across multiple areas of the business, that impact business and product strategy. Lead other researchers in these projects, and ensure overall quality.
  • Initiate work - take the lead on working with pods and teams to translate requests into research objectives, hypotheses and/or assumptions and determine the optimal research method. Work with other researchers to build skills in doing this.
  • Plan research studies - run the logistics of a research study from recruitment, scheduling, and organizing note takers and observers. Help others make sure they are doing the best possible job with this.
  • Desk research - work with researchers and designers to analyze relevant inputs such as research and data insights, product strategy and roadmap, technical environment and constraints. Help teams understand all of the previous and related data they can use to understand their space. Support researchers and designers in their efforts to do this and build their skills in the best execution of this type of work.
  • Facilitate research sessions - to maximize unbiased observations, while ensuring comfort of the participant and ethical practice. Help others improve their facilitation skills and broaden their understanding of how to facilitate effectively.
  • Conduct different types of research - run research studies with a variety of methods for a variety of purposes e.g. surveys, diary studies, unmoderated tests, etc. Help others choose methods and build skills and confidence in using those methods.
  • Analyze data from research studies - synthesize and make sense of the data, translating it into comprehensible and significant finding and insights for the team to engage with. Work with other less experienced researchers to interrogate their analysis and lift their analysis practices.
  • Report actionable insights - structure your findings and insights so they are actionable and help the pod figure out how to move forward with those in mind. Help others with their understanding and execution of this practice.
  • Link up with other research - Connect insights from your study to previous research studies including those across portfolios, product data, Voice of the customer / marketing research, support tickets, and other reliable sources of information. Help others to effectively grow their understanding on how to do this to the greatest effect.
  • Communicate effectively - Present and communicate research succinctly to leadership teams and a range of different audiences, make it easy for audiences to action insights. Have a focus on mentoring others to do this at different levels.
  • Collaborate with designers and content strategists – take the lead in challenging assumptions and 'pre-set' thinking around solutions, agreeing the purpose, principles and vision. Mentoring the wider team on doing this well.
  • Consider bias throughout the project - recognize it, minimize it where possible and call it out when it impacts insights. Helping others in the team check their own biases and build skills to spotting bias more easily.
  • Close out projects - follow all relevant close out processes including sharing results, ensuring data obligations are met, and reflecting on the projects. Helping other team members and mentoring them on the value of this practice.
  • Find connections - take the lead on understanding how research findings impact other product portfolios in order to connect customer journeys. Work with other seniors/leads/principles to align research and mentor them in this type of thinking.

  • Working with cross functional teams 

  • Partner with GMs and PM's across multiple areas of the business to identify research studies that support large strategic projects. Work closely with stakeholders to ensure that research programs have maximum impact and effect. Build the UX understanding and capability of stakeholders and project teams.
  • Have an overview of all research occurring within your area, ensure quality and make connections between studies and insights.
  • Lead collaborations and interpretation sessions with designers and content strategists so that we maximise their learnings from the research.
  • Mentor others and take ownership of specific portfolios and help that area work with your research and previous reports by supporting teams to balance multiple insights to make good product decisions.
  • Mentor others, lead and champion for collaborations with cross functional teams to ensure research addresses needs/hypothesis/assumptions from a variety of standpoints.
  • Mentor others and lead facilitations of cross functional team workshops, to bring everyone together at key points in the process and around key decisions.
  • Mentor others and lead forming Partnerships with pods of PO’s, PM’s, Developers, strategists, designers, and product marketers during research to help them see the user context of their work.
  • Mentor others and lead the Growth of UX capability in pods by working with individuals and teams to improve their understanding of research and grow their participation in research activities.
  • Mentor others and take the lead in working directly with product peers and strategy peers to define problems and direction, while building a good foundation of trust.
  • Mentor others and take the lead when it comes to challenging our teams to think differently and lean into debates and constructive conversations with honesty and trust.

  • Practice improvement

  • Identify ways to improve our research practice. Lead practice improvement initiatives - test ideas, share challenges and build the quality of our practice. Mentor and grow other researchers through these initiatives.
  • Grow other researchers skills by working with them often so you can learn and pass on your expertise to others by collaboration, coaching, and mentoring.
  • Take on initiatives and lead teams on practice improvement to make sure we as a team are operating efficiently and to the best standard we can. You'll balance this alongside product work.
  • Support and lead improvements in the operations of our team and ensure the process and systems we rely on are working for our team.

  • Leadership

  • We believe leadership is part of everyone's role, ensuring that you are emulating the values for Xero as a whole and the values we have as a research team. In this role you will take an active role in mentoring less experienced researchers and growing their skills. 
  • Take a growth, performance, wellbeing perspective on your work and working with your fellow researchers. Take the time to mentor less experienced researchers on the team.
  • Work with research and product peers to plan research activities. Take ownership of your product portfolio or strategic area and bring that perspective to research leadership for capacity planning.
  • Actively work with other researchers to ensure they deliver high quality outputs in a timely, efficient way to meet business objectives.

Success looks like

  • You’re delivering on large strategic programs of research to schedule against agreed deadlines, to the highest quality standards.
  • You’re driving collaboration, contributing and leading efforts with the Design, Product, and Development teams you work with.
  • You are actively contributing to in practice and growth activities within the research team
  • You are coaching and mentoring less experienced team members.

What you’ll bring with you

  • Critical competencies:

  • Track record of delivering high standard generative and evaluate quality design research
  • Track record of working with multi-disciplinary teams to achieve research goals
  • Excellent communication skills



  • Experience:

  • A portfolio that demonstrates high-quality research, contributing to user experience and business value
  • Skill and experience with the research process including, engaging teams in research activities, planning, synthesis, and analysis

Why Xero?
At Xero, we are empowered to bring our ‘whole self’ to work. Our collaborative and inclusive culture is one we’re immensely proud of. We know that a diverse workforce is a strength that enables businesses, including ours, to better understand and serve customers, attract top talent and innovate. We care about learning together and celebrate our teams’ continuous improvement and career development. 
We offer a great remuneration package, including compelling benefits and perks, like Xero shares. We also support flexible working arrangements that allow you to balance your work, your life and your passions. Our Canadian Xero family includes Hubdoc, an automated data capture platform and we have offices in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. From the moment you step through our doors, you’ll feel welcome and supported to do the best work of your life.
Job tags: Coaching Research Surveys User experience
Job region(s): North America
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