I have recently started a new Product Designer position in a company.
In my previous job, the data to design on was given to me by a Product Owner, who knew the business idea precisely, and a UX Researcher, who gave me specific data about the users.
As a designer I took all that data, and made designs and prototypes that had to meet a series of requirements that were given to me in stories created by the Project Manager.
Later, my designs were evaluated in user tests by another person, and a series of data were obtained and given to me, with which I improved the designs.
But in the company where I am now, despite being larger, there is no UX researcher, and the Product Owner makes decisions that are not based on any research, only on his intuition. In addition, the stories are described with such precision that they do not give much margin for design, with requirements such as "The user accesses the new functionality X through Screen Y", that is, the designs are already very directed from PO and PM.
The thing is that both myself and the developers often have opinions contrary to those of PO and PM on decisions that will affect users, but so far their decisions have not been challenged.
The thing is that the design part is enough of a burden that I propose to also take care of all the research, user interviews and usability tests, so that we have reliable data to work on, and not the simple intuition of the POs. But on the other hand, user data and tests are obviously necessary for the product to be successful.
Have you been in a similar situation?
How would you approach it?