When Suma Warrier brought her decade of optimization experience to Move, Inc. (the operator of Realtor.com), she was met with a new challenge--building an optimization team from the ground up. At Move, Inc., the optimization team was located in analytics, but Warrier needed support from across the organization, including from research, design, product development, marketing, and QA. Her core team would manage test prioritization, build and run tests, and analyze the results.
Warrier and the other two members of her core team communicated with the different departments to help them understand the value of optimization and enable her team’s process. One way they did this was by focusing experiments on the company’s driving priority--revenue. This allowed them to both easily prioritize experiments by focusing on experiments that would impact this priority, but also gave them the leverage to be able to show the impact of optimization quickly by focusing on experiments that would positively impact the bottom line and have meaning across the organization. They also ensured that each experiment, if successful, could be implemented by coordinating with relevant resources in design and engineering. Any project that wasn’t supported by the other departments needed to implement the results was deprioritized.
The optimization team was bold enough to tie a revenue goal to their process: at the end of 2013, they communicated to the company that 2014 would be the year where A/B testing and optimization contributed to a portion of the company’s revenue.
Due to strong focus and a tight roadmap, the team saw their goal realized and celebrated across the company, inviting members of design, research, development, and QA out for drinks. This positive impact reinforced the support of the other departments and generated excitement for optimization in the company.
Communication not only within her department, but across the company as a whole, also became a cornerstone of their process. They created an internal wiki and an e-mail listserv to keep everyone who was interested engaged in the process. As a team, they remained close by holding regular stand-up meetings to review experiments in process and analyze results of concluded experiments. All of this regular communication ended up increasing the speed and cadence and speed of their experimentation, because they were confident in the process and could more easily get the engagement and buy-in from other areas of the company.
This dedication to a tight team with regular communication and an engaged outer circle of contributing departments helped the optimization team at Move, Inc. achieve their revenue goal quickly and continue to experience success in the planning and execution of their optimization program.
For more information, read the whole story about how Suma began her team-building process here: