Co-op Digital is now the ‘Co-op Experience’ team

The group of teams that most people know as Co-op Digital is now called ‘Co-op Experience’. This week, we brought the following interconnected and complementary expertise together under this new umbrella:  

  • Design, Content and Customer Experience (CX) – those who create strategic visions for future Co-op experiences and design journeys that deliver positive outcomes for customers and colleagues 
  • Product – those who align the customer and business strategies to set priorities that drive the outcomes we need to achieve  
  • Delivery – those who craft a culture and environment for a team to deliver better experiences 
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – those who create the very first interaction our customers have with our products and services 
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) – those who carry out experiments within an experience to achieve better outcomes for customers and the business 

The reorganisation will give us more opportunities to work more closely. For example, it will be easier to embed experimentation and measurement from our CRO experts deeper into our product teams; and our Content Design community and SEO specialists have many complementary skills we can explore. Ultimately, our goal is to strengthen the team so we can improve customer, colleague and community experiences. 

We sit within the Digital Technology area of the Co-op and continue to work alongside our engineers in multi-disciplinary teams.

Restructuring to reflect (and enable more) growth 

Co-op Digital was set up back in 2016. Since then, we’ve grown exponentially and it’s been essential to reconsider our structure so that we can continue to grow and maximise the value we deliver in our products and services. As with all organisations, what worked to get us here won’t necessarily take us to where we want to be.  

The thinking behind the changes 

Our team name should indicate what we do. We’re still ‘digital’ in how we work, but the multiple possible interpretations make the term unhelpful.  

Our focus is on outcomes (the overarching aim) rather than outputs (for example, a straight-forward delivery checklist of features). An outcome can be achieved in many ways, and the solution is not always digital.  

Here’s a real example from our Membership team. 

An output is an instruction, such as: add Apple Pay to the Co-op Membership registration flow.  

It doesn’t give us much opportunity to explore how much value it may add. Its success can only be judged whether it was delivered. (It was? Ok, check ✅) 

However, we focused on an outcome. We wanted to: increase conversion by 10% in our Membership registration flow for new, in-store customers.  

The team wasn’t dictated to and instead, it was free to explore different solutions that may have been quicker, cheaper and more impactful than simply adding Apple Pay. 

In this particular case, we delivered the outcome by iterating paper leaflets in-store. The solution did not involve ‘digital’ at all. 

Our work is not bound by screens and apps. Crafting valuable services and positive experiences for our customers, colleagues and communities is the highest priority for this group of teams. This is why ‘Experience’ now better reflects what we’re striving for. 

Adam Warburton

Chief Product Officer 

The Membership team is maturing, and so are our ways of working

On the Membership team we’re switching up how we organise ourselves to help us be more effective. Here’s why and how we’re doing it.

Evolving with the product

As teams mature, ie, they get bigger and the scope of work widens, it’s not hard to figure out that they’ll need to reorganise. American investor Ben Horowitz famously wrote about this in the book ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’. He said he believes that every time a team doubles in size, it should review its ways of working.

We’re doing something similar in the Membership team. Back in September, the product management team was just one person, Derek Harvie. Since we relaunched Membership, the scope of work has been getting larger so the team needs to scale up. The product team is now 4 people to reflect the change. One of those newbies is me.

Realising we’d outgrown stuff

When I joined, we had 3 teams: Blue, Orange and Pink. They were named after the colour of the post-it note that corresponded with what they were working on in the backlog. And that all made sense when the team was starting out; being lean and nimble negated the need to be aligned. But as our ambition for Membership grew, the team became more and more thinly spread and it became more difficult to properly focus on one thing, and really do it well.

Clarity around where we’re going (and how to know when we’ve got there)

We’ve introduced OKRs (objectives and key results) to make sure that everybody is moving together, in the same direction and aiming for the same things. Now, each team has a set of objectives and has agreed on a set of results that will show when it’s achieved what it set out to.

We looked for natural ways to split up the work so teams don’t have competing objectives. It means they can be in control of their own scope of work without lots of dependencies.

4 teams, 1 direction

At this point we naturally fell into 4 teams. This time, we’ve named them in a (slightly) more self-explanatory way. There’s:

  • More members (recruiting more members)
  • Member trading (looking at how our members shop with us)
  • Member engagement (engaging with Membership, causes and community)
  • Member services (managing the membership platform, ie, the backend infrastructure)

With clarity comes better prioritisation

Now we’re all on the same page we’ll find it easier to prioritise. Before, it was hard for the team to understand what to work on next because the tasks in the backlog fell into different areas.

Prioritising will be much simpler now we have the 4 teams working on different areas. Tasks are compared against other tasks from within that area so now it feels like we’re comparing apples with apples rather than apples with pears!

Better for us. Better for stakeholders

Working in this way is also really good in terms of how we’re working with stakeholders. The old way of working meant we had 30 plus stakeholders all wanting the tasks that fell under their area to be the priority. Hopefully, things will be calmer now each team has around 10 stakeholders to work with and include in decision making.

In a few more weeks we’ll be able to see if we’re achieving our targets and back it up with data, but at the moment it just feels like the right way to be working.

The team will continue to grow. Keep an eye on our work with us page.

Adam Warburton
Head of Membership Product