OPINION5 December 2019

Testing teams

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Matt Taylor, Twitter’s consumer insight lead, shares what he’s learned about team structure, including the importance of working with people who find lessons in failure.

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I’ve written previously about the vast scale of experimentation that happens across companies in the tech sector but it’s important to note that those experiments extend beyond A/B testing product features or optimising technical infrastructure. Experiments can involve teams, structure, processes, culture and any aspect of the business. Indeed, the team that I now head was itself an experiment that launched at the end of 2018.

Last month, three other ‘experiment leads’ and I were invited to present to execs on why our experiments had succeeded compared with others. We were strictly limited to talking about why our team was successful and we weren’t allowed to dwell on the actual work or impact of what we do. Thinking abstractly about my team like this was an interesting – and surprisingly difficult – exercise so I wanted to share what we learned.

Above everything else, the experiments that had succeeded had teams that felt a strong sense of ownership in what they were ...