How to Structure Your Optimization and Experimentation Teams

By Lindy Tolbert

It’s important to know the most efficient way to arrange your optimization team to ensure their productivity and yours.

But what’s the best way to structure your team? Should optimization folks be in a separate team? Or under product teams? Or marketing?

There’s several different ways, and choosing which one works best for your company can be challenging. Here’s a rundown of the frameworks, their functions, and the benefits and challenges of each.

What kinds of teams are there?

There are three types of optimization team models: centralized, decentralized, and center of excellence.

The centralized model is based on one team of employees, typically data scientists, and has the benefit of localizing expertise so that employees can develop a long-term optimization strategy, including developing better statistical algorithms and experimentation tools.

In decentralized (or “embedded”) teams, optimization responsibilities are distributed amongst employees under many different umbrellas within the organization, rather than one department.

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The center of excellence model is basically a combination of the above two frameworks, utilizing both a centralized team and also distributing optimization employees throughout the different departmental branches.

How are central optimization teams be structured?

Chad Sanderson, the Experience Optimization Manager for Subway, creates an analogy for how the centralized model is set up:

Chad Sanderson, Subway
“The best optimization team mirrors the classical definition of a republic, or ‘a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president.’

The Test Manager is the presidential figure in [this] scenario. They are responsible for guiding the direction of the program, facilitating the needs of various departments through focused optimization efforts, and perhaps most importantly, serving as a diplomat for CRO to the broader organization.

In the same way, the President is (or should be) surrounded by an experienced cabinet. So, too, should the Test Manager take direction from their cohort of subject matter experts: Product Managers, Technical Directors, Web Designers, and Customer Service Representatives.”

Benefits of the centralized model

There’s a reason this is the most common form of optimization team organization: the benefits. From an organizational perspective, having all of your data clustered in one place makes it easier to monitor, reduces redundant testing, and streamlines developing a long-term strategy.

But data collection isn’t the only reason this model is used. There’s a significant employee benefit. In a centralized model, it’s a simpler matter to keep the big data picture in mind because there are shared resources and end goals for employees.

Spreading workers out over multiple departments can introduce conflicting motivations for whether or not an employee shares data. Centralizing can help you avoid competition and silos, or data and analytic walls that can prevent the sharing of pertinent data across teams.

Renee Thompson operates as a manager within TechTarget’s centralized model, and says that the localized nature of data helps her team plan for a long-term strategy:

Renee Thompson, TechTarget
“In my experience, having a centralized function enables Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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