Run a test hackathon and get everyone involved in testing

Posted by Manuel da Costa / categories: Conversion Optimization, Productivity, Teams

Have you reached a plateau in terms of testing ideas and stuck in a rut? Got a “writer’s block” and an empty testing roadmap?

It happens to the best optimizers out there but there is a surefire way to generate new ideas and increase awareness and knowledge about CRO in your company

Introducing the Testing Hackathon

Firstly, what is a hackathon? Before you get worried, hack is not referred to anything nefarious or criminal.

According to wikipedia – “A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. Occasionally, there is a hardware component as well. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week. Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes, although in many cases the goal is to create usable software. Hackathons tend to have a specific focus, which can include the programming language used, the operating system, an application, an API, or the subject and the demographic group of the programmers. In other cases, there is no restriction on the type of software being created.”

Traditionally used in the domain of computer programming, you can also transpose these events to help you with your CRO efforts in your company.

Why organising a test hackathon in your company is a good thing

  1. Generate new ideas – Bringing together people from different departments in your company – stakeholders, designers, developers, SEO, PPC etc will generate fresher ideas. These are people who have a different viewpoint and will offer their own unique take on the problems.
  2. Increase CRO awareness – If you work in a company where the departments are silo-ed, chances are the folks in the other departments don’t know what you or don’t know enough about how CRO works. Engaging them in the optimization process educates them on how you help your company generate revenue and conversion uplift.
  3. Get better buy-in – The increased awareness of CRO and the feeling of contributing to the process will result in better buy in from the other departments. They will want to help you more.
  4. Everyone’s working towards the same goal – Optimisation is all about adding value to the business, increasing revenue and growing the business. When different teams work together to achieve the same goal, it will boost morale and improve engagement.

How to organise a Testing Hackathon

Before the event

  • Engage the key decision makers to get their buy in. You have to ensure that you can get different teams involved and this requires some planning. Ask for a budget for food and drink and to give away prizes to winners.
  • Send out emails to relevant teams and individuals inviting them to join the hackathon. Put up posters and create a buzz in your workplace around it.
  • Find the problems you need solving. Look at your data and find the parts of your site that are problematic and areas where you are looking for ideas and inspiration.
  • Get all the supplies – Pens, Notepads, flipcharts etc.

During the event

  • Split the attendees into teams Ideally you want to have people of different skills on a team. If possible, pair up a stakeholder, a designer, a developer and a marketing person along with one CRO team member.
  • Explain the basics : Most of the attendees won’t have a good understanding of A/B testing. It’s good to give them a 101 lesson on how A/B testing works, what is hypothesis etc.
  • Show them the problem scenario: Explain the data in simple words to them. Ignore CRO jargon (CTAs, folds etc) as they don’t speak the same language as you.
  • Get sketching Ask the teams to brainstorm amongst themselves and to sketch out the solution. Reassure them that the sketches do not need to look like pieces of art but rather simple wireframes that convey the message.
  • Get building and launching : If each team has a developer that can code up the test variation, get them to do it. Furthermore, it would be even better if the test can be readied for launch
  • Set expectations : Advise the attendees about the next steps like when the results will be available

After the event

  • Keep everyone posted Once the results are out, inform all the teams
  • Hand out the prizes: Let everyone in the company know about the winning team and how they contributed to the improvements.This will motivate others to take part next time.
  • Ask for feedbackGet suggestions on how you can improve the event in the future

Now that you have run your first hackathon, it will be easier to get another one going. Make it a routine in your company – something to look forward to.

Group of Multiethnic Busy People Working in an Office