Case: Globo.com

Largest Brazilian Media Company Uses Lean inception to Create a TV show: 

Mestre do Sabor and the successful recipe to form teams

How Lean Inception helped Globo.com unify teams around the customer journey, using data as a common language between different tribes.

Globo.com began its agile journey in 2008. The transformation included agile names such as Jeff Patton, Boris Gogler, Mary Poppendieck, Joshua Kerievsky, among others, who came to provide consulting and training in Brazil. The adoption of the Scrum methodology, with continuous improvement and test automation, associated with a high rigor for the user experience, raised the quality of the deliveries of autonomous teams. Products like Cartola, G1, GE have become a benchmark for software engineering and UX.

The flexibility for rapidly evolve processes was facilitated by the independence of the structures that managed the internet and TV businesses. But the distance between business areas also hampered the measurement of results, which is essential for evaluating successes and learning from mistakes. The lack of clear metrics was a gap in the dynamics of the teams, a problem that made the decision-making process slow and, at times, exhausting.

With the first approximation moves, the result of a unification process called “Uma Só Globo” (in English, Only one Globo), advertising and content areas began to dialogue more with development teams. But the integration of technology and business perspectives would not be so simple, as there were different points of view and conflicting interests to align between people who didn’t even know each other personally.

Mestre do Sabor, a very successful TV show, emerged as a good opportunity to combine the best of Globo’s TV and internet skills. Thought, from the beginning, as a multi-channel product, the launch of the gastronomy reality show would be able to unite TV content teams, UX specialists, commercial area, software engineering, among other disciplines.

The leadership saw in Paulo Caroli’s Lean Inception an opportunity to promote alignment around an objective common to all areas: to generate more value for the consumer on the internet.

Lean Inception accommodates, in five days, Design Thinking practices and the Lean Startup movement to forge a team capable of prioritizing an MVP (minimum viable product). The chaining of activities ensures alignment of goals, choice of trade-offs, and a better understanding of the consumption journey, which illuminates the real impact of a feature on customer pain and the business.

With the help of a good facilitator, people from different specialties even participate  in technical discussions. The diversity of opinions contributes to the understanding of the value, complexity and risks involved in each initiative. The result is a prioritization that aligns people and avoids future conflicts.

On the final day, the team needs to connect the waves of development to the expected results with precise metrics that validate (or refute) each business hypothesis. All work is summarized for management in a very visual format called MVP Canvas. Mestre do Sabor’s Lean Inception agreements even contemplated important costs and deadlines for any decision, but greater focus became the result in the customers’ journey. The new mindset motivated further AB testing to prove the ideas’ potential before compromising the team’s ability to develop. A certain apprehension that hovered at Globo.com was also remedied, with the implementation of temporary solutions (“do it provisionally, then it keeps haunting us”).

The MVP Canvas prioritized in the Mestre do Sabor project sought to facilitate the exploration of recipe videos on the internet. Combining the skills of different teams, it was possible to test the automatic execution of excerpts from the video as users navigated through the list of recipes. Video conversion in components with this autoplay increased by 34% compared to the control group.

Another product increment sought to bring Mestre do Sabor to people who search for recipes on Google. Some more obvious SEO improvements (eg schema optimization) were performed without major alignment needs. But one of the experiments required reviving an old comments component in order to display customer ratings in the recipes. The expectation was that the emphasis given by Google to customer ratings would increase organic page visits. The challenge was to convince the platform team that it was worth the risk to use a legacy solution.

This time, the clarity of the expected result facilitated the decision to test the assessments with what was available. In fifteen days, the CTR, average position and impression metrics on Google all increased considerably in the sample of thirty recipes that received notes from users (parents and friends, in fact). With more consumers rating more recipes, the product’s total organic audience increased by 16%.

In both cases, the prior reasoning of hypotheses, well connected to the customer journey, facilitated the communication of results to more departments, helping to scale the best performing solutions. Faced with a double-digit increase in video conversion, the team responsible for compressing media applied a scalable autoplay solution for all products, including Globoplay. The significant improvement in SEO, as a result of customer ratings in revenue, ensured more support for the evaluation service.

In addition to fostering experimentation, Lean Inception created a very strong integration between the business and technology disciplines.

The playful environment of ideation and disposal combined perspectives that, before, did not find space to complement each other in the organizational structure.

Once it worked out at Mestre do Sabor, more weeks of Lean Inception were held in sports, journalism and Globoplay, contributing to a more mature, more transparent agile practice with faster decisions. Data began to function as a common language between different areas.

Specifically in the entertainment group, Lean Inception encouraged the monitoring of indicators and shared objectives (OKRs), resulting in a complete transformation in the working format between business and technology.

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