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Why Dedicated Project Management Keeps You at the Top of Your Game

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Project management will help you win higher conversion rates, customer loyalty and revenue – it’s become a must-have in experimentation.

We all work with organized professionals who have the ability to keep a project on track. A business analyst, for example, is detail-oriented and could “easily” make sure primary project tasks get done. But in the world of experimentation, project management is a full-time job, requiring constant attention to deadlines, reports, budgets, schedules, team communications, client updates and more. If that business analyst also undertakes the enormous responsibility of project management, it’s only a matter of time before they fall behind on their role as analyst, project manager, or both.

That’s why effective project management is an important and strategic discipline that helps businesses navigate through the complicated, fast-moving twists and turns of a project. For large, complicated projects with lots of moving pieces, parts and people, it should be standard operating procedure.

The complexity of experimentation demands dedicated project managers. Experimentation relies on regular and rigorous online testing, optimization and consumer behavior results. It uses those results to make scientific, data-driven decisions to continue moving the process towards the business goal.

             State of the PMO 2016
                  Research Report

When companies develop the infrastructure and organizational expertise — including project management —to implement optimization techniques, they reap tremendous rewards, including increased conversion rates, improved customer loyalty, and higher revenue. In fact, statistics show that project managers save on average as much as $175,000 per project. But without a dedicated, experienced project management team to work with multiple subject matter experts across different departments and functions to keep everyone at the right place at the right time on the right budget, companies that implement new ideas will not only fail, they will leave behind wasted time, money and resources. Not to mention upset customers and management.

If you don’t have a project manager for your experimentation program, here’s why you need one:

  • We help set clear goals and objectives and define success.
    Sounds easy, right? It’s not! After helping to implement hundreds of enterprise-level programs, I’ve seen first-hand that there are usually at least five to ten key stakeholders in an experimentation program.

                 State of the PMO 2016
                      Research Report

    Each of those individuals has a different definition of success, and it takes time and expertise for these stakeholders to reach agreement. On average, high-performing program managers deliver 43 percent more projects aligned with business objectives than companies that choose to not use a project manager.

  • We bring strategy to defining, documenting and communicating a detailed roadmap.
    This involves consolidating tests across teams and prioritizing tests based on their estimated business impact. We also outline the test development process and include how and when we are going to communicate to different people and groups throughout the organization to keep everyone informed about progress against the goals. Again, this may sound simple, but with the amount of different groups involved, it can get complicated if it’s not addressed at the beginning.

                 State of the PMO 2016
                      Research Report

    Experimentation and testing require cultural buy-in, and many times, a cultural shift. In both cases, everyone across the organization becomes invested. Not only are internal stakeholders more satisfied, but also program managers have demonstrated they improve customer satisfaction on average by 27 percent.

  • We establish the process to track an experimentation program.
    Project managers are experts in keying in on the analytics that can be measured and the tools that can track them. We focus on how the team is moving towards their measures of success and help identify efficiencies. We have a 360-degree view of the program, and when done properly, the optimization and testing teams stay focused on what tasks can be automated so those teams can concentrate on their roles in user research, analytics and data science, account management, development and more. The result? We keep your program on track, on time, and on budget.

At the end of the day, testing, which is part of experimentation, is like a conversation with customers. With every test, we ask customers questions about who they are and what they like, getting statistically significant answers. Project management ensures you are conducting as many tests as possible, listening to the answers, analyzing the data and implementing changes based on relevant customer feedback. From a project manager’s perspective, companies want as many relevant insights from as many customers in as many measurable tests as possible to provide the greatest return on investment.

Project management isn’t a one-time job but an ongoing journey. It requires continued care and attention to break up silos and fuel an experimentation program. While there are challenges, it helps to have someone available to troubleshoot and keep projects on task.

Manish Dayal, Sr. Director of Project Management
At Brooks Bell, Manish is responsible for project delivery, operations, and product management for a number of clients including Toys R Us, Gap, and Nickelodeon. He has 11 years of experience in the industry and previously worked as a digital strategy consultant for well-known sports and entertainment brands including the NFL, WWE, and PGA Tour. Manish holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from UNC-Chapel Hill.

References:
PM Solutions Research. (2016). State of the PMO 2016 Research Report.