From my first-hand experience, this lightweight research process described by Rian Van Der Merwe is incredibly efficient. In the article it is summarized as chosing:
- The RITE testing method (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation)
- The right remote usability testing tools
- The right fidelity
- The right people to talk to
- The right way to analyze and communicate results
- The right way to put it all together
Being able to run a large-scale, representative, extensive UX study is an inspiring undertaking. But so is a rapid iterative process like RITE that naturally includes user research in the product development process: verifying one's work as you go takes the guesswork out of a project and provides valuable information to identify issues and opportunities.
As the author states, each form of research process has a context where it fits best - and this is a highly suitable one for small teams, with small products and small budgets.