Reading Time: 4 minutes

Most companies implement experimentation in some way, but the most successful ones make it a core part of their team structures. Amazon, Meta, the biggest brands in the world all dedicate and specialize their teams to optimize their testing strategies — which allows them to find the most efficient ways to grow faster than the competition. 

A great holistic team structure for experimentation will bridge communication gaps between departments, uncover new insights into complicated customer journeys, and — most importantly — provide structure and prioritization for company-wide innovation and momentum.

And regardless of where your organization is at, there’s a lot of ways you can set up and align your teams for experimentation.

Set up your experimentation team

The strongest way to incorporate consistent, value-driven testing into your organization is to create a framework where testing is a centralized service for your whole organization. This kind of testing can help you better understand your full customer journey, and drive more sustainable growth with cross-functional collaboration and continuous learning.

The first step for this involves setting up your COE — or testing center of excellence. Think of this as your go-to team for directing what testing is happening in your company, overseeing how results are being communicated across departments, and checking in on the plans for continued growth and progress. 

This is also the department that holds experimentation best practices, consistency in metrics, testing infrastructure and tools to the highest standards of excellence. As the internal leader for all testing, this team also acts as the main partner for any external testing agency support when it’s needed.

The COE should be comprised of Subject Matter Experts (which are often referred to as SMEs). These are team members who own everything related to one part of the experimentation process. And they work together to optimize the best tests possible, and implement new strategies across the organization. 

Like we mentioned, the SMEs specialties should align directly to the lifecycle of an experiment, and uphold experimentation best practices. Here’s how we structure that lifecycle and specialize people:

  • Strategy
    This person or people are responsible for analyzing existing tests to make new hypotheses, prioritizing what tests should be done based on potential business impact and feasibility, and identifying the key KPIs for each test. They are also generally the point people for leadership.
  • Design
    This person or people conceptualize and design all parts of the experiment including the control and all variations. They also determine the criteria for the test’s success or failure.
  • Build
    This person or people turn the experiment’s design into a reality. They are generally experts in all the technical aspects, including coding, tracking, implementation on different platforms, and QA testing.
  • Launch
    This person or people deploy the experiments to the target audience, and closely monitors and tracks incoming data. When they have enough, they direct that data to analysis.
  • Analysis
    This person or people are experts in all the existing testing data, and can assess performance against the success criteria, identify learning and insights, and are in charge of either implementing winning variations across the organization or refining hypotheses for further testing. 

While from a bird’s eye view, it may seem like a lot of these roles can be collapsed, a strong testing organization has a lot of moving parts. By specializing these roles, you not only set every test (which there may be thousands at a time) up for greater success, you also create more consistent workflows that you can more easily keep track of as a leader. 

Optimizing for experimentation in other ways

If setting up a whole new department isn’t realistic yet, there’s still steps you can take to better optimize your existing teams for experimentation best practices. 

  • Develop a decentralized testing team without testing center of excellence
    With a decentralized testing team, you can establish a culture where different product owners and managers can surface their own testing ideas. This allows for a more diverse set of tests, and decreased testing bias because more team members are contributing. This can be a great option to optimize brainstorming and creative solutions within your team.
  • Develop marketing-driven testing
    Another way you can bring stronger experimentation into your organization is through your marketing team. You can add or transition roles on this team to focus specifically on testing. This makes a lot of sense for organizations that see a lot of value in messaging testing and other marketing initiatives.

Challenges to watch out for

While we can’t speak highly enough to the potential positive impact that implementing testing team structures can have, there’s always challenges throughout change. 

From our experience as leading testing strategists in the industry, here’s some potential things to watch out for. 

  • Decentralized testing organization
    Within a decentralized system, you have a lot of testing ideas coming from a lot of places. Depending on the experience of the PMs you have on your team, the expertise and hypotheses may not be the most impactful for your business.
  • Marketing testing organization
    While we see a lot of this approach in marketing departments, it tends to be very biased towards marketing goals instead of overall growth goals for the company. It’s a much less holistic approach to bringing experimentation into your team structures.

Tapping into an agency like Cro Metrics can help prep your teams to overcome some of these challenges with the support of industry experts in experimentation.

Leveraging agency partnerships

Even within a very robust internal testing organization, external partners can be the difference between good and great growth. 

A partner like Cro Metrics enhances your team’s capabilities by providing a comprehensive background in strategic learnings across any vertical, and in-depth specific audience analytics. So, your team can get a running start with proven data as a foundation.

While building out experimentation optimized teams, we can also provide insights on how to build those teams, and fill in any gaps you need along the way with industry-leading SMEs in all parts of the experimentation lifecycle. And on top of that, we can bring crucial conversation rate optimization best practices, insights, and services to boost your momentum even more.

Ready to get experimentation into your organization? Schedule a consultation to see how you can start with guidance from the leading experiment-led growth marketing agency.