This is the final post in our Maturity Audit™ series. My colleagues have previously covered three of the Maturity Audit™ pillars (Strategy & Culture, Tools & Technology, People & Skills), so I will conclude with an overview of the fourth one, Process & Methodology—and why we think it crucial for any business wanting to achieve digital growth and transformation.
I should probably start with a disclaimer: my background as a PhD researcher makes me a really strong advocate of processes and methodologies. Call it professional bias, but I do believe that they both are the hidden key to any successful conversion optimisation plan: you can have the right business culture, the most fitting tools, and the best team of skilled individuals, but if you don’t know what to do, how to do it, and why, you will not go very far.
Defining “Process & Methodology”
As a generic label, “Process and methodology” usually gets a bad rep for sounding fairly uninspiring, if not just downright tedious. In the abstract, creating and maintaining documented processes does not sound like the most creative or even exciting use of one’s time—especially when a million other things (like doing some of the actual work!) seem way more fun.
However, I think it helps to think about it in more concrete terms. “Process and methodology” is really just another way of saying: this is why we are doing something, and this is how we do it. In the most simplistic sense, methodology is to a toolbox what a process is to an instruction manual: the first is a collection of tools (or methods) to choose from for a specific task, the second is an instruction list for using each tool.
“Process & Methodology” in action: A/B testing
A/B testing is one of the methods in the big methodology toolbox of conversion optimisation, and each of its parts can be broken down and executed through a specific set of actions. You could certainly improvise your way around it and, if you’re lucky, come up with something brilliant – but how will you be able to replicate your success a second, third, fourth time, if you don’t know how you achieved it in the first place?
At PRWD, we follow a structured A/B testing process that helps us get the best from the following steps:
- Hypothesis development
- Test prioritisation
- Results & learning reports
Being an insight-driven company, we spend significant time collecting qualitative and quantitative data to inform our test hypotheses (and yes: there is a process for doing this, too). We then create a dedicated hypothesis log for each of our clients, so all ideas are documented and shared, and no time is wasted wondering where to find relevant data or information.
The same happens when we design, build, QA, and analyse our tests. Through years of experience, we have created a streamlined procedure that helps us be flexible and creative: we know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, so inefficiencies are cut to a minimum. As an agency, we do this to ensure that our clients get the best and the most of our attention, but the same logic applies to in-house and wider collaborative teams.
“Process & Methodology” and business growth
I have used A/B testing as an example, but processes and methodologies exist for virtually anything, from hiring new team members to delivering a global product—in fact, anybody who is reading this experiences them at work (whether knowingly or not) on a daily basis.
Make no mistake, I am not suggesting that there must always be a process in place: an overabundance of processes, rules, policies etc. is often just an excuse for micro-management… and that’s not what you want as your business grows in size, complexity, and maturity! Having a few robust methodologies and processes in place simply means that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel whenever a situation re-presents itself. If your approach to specific tasks, opportunities, or situations is well-defined and repeatable, you will be able to focus most of your attention and energy on what our UX designer Phil calls “making some magic” for your business instead.
Four key tips
- Take time to ask yourself why you are doing something/ why you want to do something. This is the first step to developing methodologies that are well-suited to your professional and business needs.
- When defining a process, capture and document as much detail as possible so it can be shared with and repeated by new team members, external collaborators, etc
- Embrace flexibility: the best methodologies and processes accommodate change and evolution. A rigid and outdated process will lead to great amounts of frustration, and not much else.
- Use our CRO maturity audit to evaluate your business’ digital maturity level and discover which areas need your attention next. You might want to review the processes you currently have in these key areas, and see if any improvements can be made.