Three years ago, I joined Monzo as the first user researcher in the Design team. We were just five people and autonomous product squads hadn’t yet been formed. There were about 120 people in the whole company and we had around 400k customers on a prepaid card. It felt like being on a roller coaster rolling out of the station and picking up speed. A few weeks later, we started migrating all our customers to the banking app we’d just built, unlocked a new round of investor funding and hit hypergrowth. At our peak, we were on-boarding between 40-50 new people a week. The roller coaster was at full throttle.
Since then, we re-architected the fundamental structure and the navigation of the app, created a savings accounts marketplace, offered overdrafts, loans, an energy switching service and the ability to get paid your salary a day early. We built Joint Accounts, Business Accounts, launched two Paid-For propositions, and entered the US. We also built most of our internal tooling, including the customer support and payments platforms amongst others. We grew exponentially, peaking at about 1500 people with 25 in Design – including 6 researchers and a single hero in a Research Ops role. What a wild ride it’s been, and it’s not over yet. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt along the way.
1. Educating other teams and people about the role of Research & Design is an important and ongoing part of your role
It surprised me how many people hadn’t worked with researchers or designers before Monzo. Or perhaps they had, but the way they’d done so previously was different. Setting expectations and helping your peers understand how you can create value is something you have to continuously do. The more proactive you are at doing this, the better. If you don’t explicitly define your role, others will make assumptions about what you do and how to engage with you – or not.