We here at Optimizely are aware of the value of diversity in teams; they help to create better experiments as well as improve the quality of ideas to test whether on your website or within your app. So, when we saw that one of our customers, Pantheon, had written a post on the value of Cross-Functional Teams we wanted to share it with our audience. Below is a post that had been going around on our internal slack channels and is reposted thanks to the generosity of Pantheon’s Sarah Fruy
One of my favorite projects to manage at Pantheon is our website experimentation program. It’s WebOps (website operations) in action every week. The group started out small with a high-level mission to improve the user experience and performance metrics on our website. Since then, the team and mission have evolved. A key element to our success has been regularly inviting new colleagues to join in our planning and analytics review sessions.
Much of our company has a vested interest in the performance of our website. Our core bi-weekly stand-up team includes a product owner, a product manager, a program manager, designers and developers from the marketing team. Behind the scenes, we also leverage a QA team, engineers, and data analysts. Additionally, we’ve invited folks from our product teams (including designers), product marketing, demand generation, marketing operations, sales, and revenue operations to participate.
Each week, we have a new mix of these folks attending, depending on who has a new idea or related project to discuss. This wide-ranging group delivers unique perspectives around goal tracking, the potential impact on our business goals, and the look and feel of our tests. It also lets us learn more about feasibility with our tech stack, existing website infrastructure, and more.
Currently, we have one testing team in the marketing department, but I’d like to expand this program and establish a “center for excellence” that guides our mission, governs our testing criteria, and combines efforts to increase the velocity and impact of testing across the entire company.
3 Tips for Levering Diversity in Cross-Functional Meetings
Our testing team is a direct result of our mission to use the agile process to make data-driven decisions. It’s near impossible to gain all the benefits of agile processes if you aren’t running tests. Seeking concepts from outside your department might be what jumpstarts a program or gives new life to an unfulfilled idea. Here are three tips for getting started.
1. Be receptive to new opinions.
I often turn to our sales team to collect feedback from the consumer perspective. Loyal customers can uncover flaws in programs and offer insights that guide our development. I also like to pull in folks from different teams to get unique viewpoints on business goals and objectives. Once you understand key metrics that other departments are aiming for, you can implement new testing ideas and get a more complete view of your end product.
Game-changing ideas can come from unexpected places. By leveraging cross-functional teams in the agile process, you can uncover insights that would otherwise remain hidden if everyone focused on his or her own role.
2. Define value.
Creating a mission statement for the testing team will provide long-term focus. By setting a value and defining what your group is trying to achieve, you define the standards of excellence for your team and the company. This helps the group avoid inconsequential conversations that do not fit into the testing goals. After implementing biweekly, cross-functional meetings, our co-workers are more engaged with the end product, leading to increased productivity.
3. Push the boundaries.
Not all ideas will toe the party line. But you need to make sure your team members are not afraid to express their opinions. Let them know that it’s OK to take some risks. As you track results in the testing environment, your team can anticipate and prevent issues after the launch. Going further than what’s already been tried could help alleviate problems that continually spring up. Open communication encourages knowledge sharing and discourages teams from retreating into silos.
To learn more about how Pantheon’s agile digital marketing practices can help you identify and solve common problems, download our whitepaper: “The Ultimate Guide to Agile in Digital Marketing.”