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Optimizely Blog

Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

data-driven leaderMany companies, even in this increasingly data-driven marketplace, still unfortunately succumb from time to time to what we call the “HiPPO Syndrome” (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion), allowing decisions to be made according to highest ranking stakeholder’s experience rather than the data.

So we have to ask: do you suffer from HiPPO syndrome?

Symptoms include:

  • resistance to adopting a testing-driven methodology
  • chronic decision-making based solely on previous experience
  • a pathological unwillingness to take surprising data seriously
  • lethargy, associated with a lack of eagerness to experiment

If these symptoms sound familiar, you might be one of the many sufferers of HiPPO syndrome. But don’t worry, Optimizely wants to help! The below questionnaire will help you self-diagnose, which is the first step in the healing process.


Answer true or false for the 14 questions below. Then hit Calculate My Score and see where you fall on the data-driven spectrum.

I can quantify how and why my customers churn. True   False
I ask questions like, “What do the data tell us?”discussing design, strategy, or other decisions about creative. True   False
I know the conversion rates for my customers by marketing channel. True   False
I prioritize investment in customer acquisition channel by ROI. True   False
I have calculated the lifetime value of my customers. True   False
I have invested in maintaining the quality of the data my team / company collects. True   False
I value transparency at every level of my company. True   False
I use reporting from my internal systems to make projections about team and product performance at my company. True   False
I am aware of the current conversion rates on my website. True   False
I regularly report on key performance metrics with my team. True   False
I feel like I must understand the business impact (ROI) of the projects I am working on. True   False
Uncertainty does not intimidate me. True   False
I learn from my mistakes. True   False
I never make a business decision based on intuition alone. True   False

Download the quiz as a PDF.

Let’s see where you fall on the spectrum. Click Calculate My Score to see your results.

Curious about what data driven leadership looks like in practice? Our CEO and founder, Dan Siroker, explains:

“During my first year working at Google, I learned an important lesson about experimentation when my mentor explained how I could convince my boss’s boss to let me try something. Even at a fairly data-driven company like Google it was hard to convince the higher-ups to do something potentially risky or radical. The key phrase in receiving this higher-up’s blessing, my mentor explained, was to say, ‘Let’s just run an experiment.’ In that context, the idea became an irresistible investigation into whether it would be worth their time and money—not a hard-and-fast decision of whether to make a permanent change.”

When you’re ready to get serious about data, read our ebook: The Roadmap to Building a Data-Driven Optimization Team.

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