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You’re in Charge of Testing, Now What?


Maybe your company has recently invested in a new testing platform. Or responsibilities have shifted and testing has moved from IT to marketing. Or maybe you’re stepping into a new role that has testing as a core focus. Regardless of the reason, the situation is essentially the same: It’s now your job to harness the power of testing to produce amazing wins and prove ROI. You’re in charge, now what?

At the beginning, it’s easy to get bogged down with complex psychology frameworks, statistics methods, and advanced analytics models. These are critically important, especially as a testing program grows and evolves, but at the beginning there are a few more important things to focus on.

1. Get your data in order

Before a clear strategy can be developed, you need solid data everyone on the team—and across the organization—can trust. This means rectifying discrepancies in reports, adopting best practices, and communicating analysis effectively. Not only will this increase alignment across the organization, it will help you avoid some of the major hurdles to launching a test and provide a powerful tool for building a more meaningful, data-driven experience for your users and customers.

2. Get your site ready

Long load times, JavaScript errors, disorganized markup, non-discrete selectors—there are a lot of reasons a website might not be ready for testing, even after the testing tool has been implemented. Running through a detailed checklist to identify the common problems that conflict with testing is essential. Without taking this important step, it will be impossible to estimate level of effort for each test variation or to avoid lengthy development challenges as a test moves toward launch.

3. Get a process in place

A key characteristic of successful testing programs is that they have a formal process in place. This includes a strategy phase that draws on the knowledge and perspective of people across the organization and focuses on areas of the site with the greatest potential impact, a development phase, a rigorous QA sequence, and a period for analysis and reporting. For such a process to be effective it must include documentation and communication that can spread the knowledge gained from testing, inform future test ideas, and cultivate champions of the testing program.

Leading a testing program is a challenge—creating, developing, running and analyzing tests requires skills and talents that are both broad and deep. Often, expanding a testing and optimization program requires a substantial amount of organizational education and even a cultural shift. But by focusing on the essential foundations all successful programs share it is possible to build even a small, disorganized testing team into a driver of business growth.