October 13, 2023

The Revolution of Continuous Research: Bridging the Gap with CI/CD


Learn how to apply the concept of Continuous Integration/Continuous Development to your research to ship better products, faster.

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation, businesses are constantly on the lookout for ways to stay ahead of the curve. One concept that has gained significant attention in recent years is Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD). It has revolutionized the software development process by allowing for quicker iterations, faster delivery, and enhanced collaboration among teams.

But what if we could apply the same principles to research?

Continuous Research (CR) is an innovative concept that seeks to revolutionize the way we approach research cycles.

Traditionally, research projects have been characterized by long, laborious cycles that often result in delayed insights. CR, much like CI/CD in software development, aims to break down these barriers, enabling organizations to conduct research more frequently, efficiently, and effectively. This enables developers to constantly be in the loop on user needs, reducing silos within corporations and inevitably reducing technical debt.

The Challenge of Traditional Research Cycles

The impact of research is often hamstrung by large time/effort resources needed to accomplish this work.  Research projects involve planning, data collection, analysis, and reporting, which can stretch over months or even years. This lengthy process can hinder a company's ability to adapt to changing market dynamics and customer preferences.


Take this example from previous work by our own CEO, James Friscia.

During a two week design sprint at a Fortune 500 top 100 company:
  • 2-3 days allotted for recruiting participants and hosting interviews
  • 11-12 days spent on analysis and reporting
  • Resulting in delayed cycles and pressure on development deadlines

We have to work smarter than this.

The synthesis of customer interactions, user feedback, and market trends need to be disseminated and integrated regularly. That’s how good products are built. But does the average company have the resources to employ multiple full time researchers to recruit, conduct, and most importantly, analyze and socialize findings? Heck No. This is where Continuous Research steps in to transform the game.

Continuous Research: The CI/CD for Insights

Continuous Research, or CR, draws inspiration from the CI/CD model in software development.

In CI/CD, developers integrate code changes into a shared repository multiple times a day, automatically running tests and deploying updates to production. Similarly, CR advocates for the integration of research activities into the daily workflow, providing a continuous stream of insights rather than waiting for the occasional research project to conclude.

How to apply Continuous Research to move faster and build better products.

Stay in touch with the evolving needs and preferences of your audience with frequent data collection

A deep understanding of users is at the heart of CR work. Collect this data regularly via user interviews and focus groups, surveys, user analytics, and other touch points.

Apply real-time analytics

Previously, the idea of applying real time feedback seemed far-fetched.

With the help of products like CoNote - that shrink days and hours of traditional research into minutes, CR enables organizations to analyze data in real time, identifying trends, patterns, and anomalies as they occur. This real-time analysis allows for quick decision-making and course corrections, before the accrual of technical debt or sunk costs.

Iterate on Insights

CR promotes an iterative approach to research, where insights are continuously refined and updated. This allows for a more dynamic understanding of the market and user behavior.

Democratize Research

CR fosters collaboration among cross-functional teams, including UX researchers, designers, product managers, and developers. This ensures that research insights are directly integrated into product development and decision-making processes, ahead of critical strategic junctures.

The CR/CI/CD Connection

Continuous Research and Continuous Integration/Continuous Development share a common goal: to accelerate the pace of change and innovation.

CR can be seen as an essential component of the broader CI/CD framework. Just as code changes are continually integrated and tested in CI/CD, research insights are continually gathered and analyzed in CR. This synergy between research and development ensures that products and services are not only built rapidly but are also aligned with user needs and market trends.

Campaigning for CR

To fully realize the potential of Continuous Research, it's essential to raise awareness within organizations and the research community. Similar to the early days of CI/CD adoption, there may be resistance to change and a lack of understanding about the benefits of CR.

Here’s how you can make the case for CR processes in your organization

The Need for Speed

To iterate at pace with market demand, organizations need to work quickly and smoothly. Implementing tools for CR, like CoNote, can reduce the manual analytical lift to identify and act on insights more quickly.

Enhanced Collaboration

Progress gets slowed when user research has to act as a check-point between development and strategic leadership. Tools like CoNote democratize research by seamlessly integrating presentation of user insights, which reduces working silos, points of friction, and redundancy.

Continuous Improvement

A common problem might resonate with your group– the synthesis of user insights gets held back and shared all at once, so design updates require more time than you might have planned for. Ouch. CR empowers organizations to continually refine their product in a more sustainable way.

Continuous Research (CR) has the power to revolutionize the way organizations approach research, much like Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD) transformed software development. We should all be doing CR/CI/CD!

It's high time for the research community to embrace Continuous Research (CR) as an essential part of the modern research toolkit and embark on a journey of continuous discovery.

The Revolution of Continuous Research: Bridging the Gap with CI/CD

Nisha Iyer

Technical Advisor of CoNote