As Crocs expanded its footprint to become a global brand with e-commerce sites in over 20 countries, the need for a cohesive, scalable product prioritization process became glaringly obvious. With each regional team touting different priorities for site enhancements, standardizing these initiatives posed a challenge.
The goal? To balance global needs with regional nuances.
The person tasked with this complex mission? Me!
This is the story of how we introduced a robust product prioritization process at Crocs.com that not only streamlined decision-making but also unified a global team around common objectives.
One of the biggest obstacles we faced was harmonizing priorities across different markets. What may be a high-impact initiative in North America could hold significantly less weight in Asia. While some standardization attempts were previously made, none offered a scalable, quantifiable method to equitably evaluate all initiatives.
The Solution: The New Product Prioritization Process
At the heart of the new process is a simple yet effective scoring system. Each proposed initiative is assigned an “impact score” from 1-10 based on its estimated annual revenue or cost savings.
Why revenue or cost savings? Because we were an eCom site after all. Making money is what we were all about.
In tandem, an “effort score” from 1-10 is also assigned based on the development time required. These scores culminate in a “figure of merit,” which serves as the north star for determining an initiative’s priority.
Detailed Impact Scoring
The foundation of the new process is a scoring system that quantifies the potential impact of each proposed initiative. Impact was scored on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest potential impact.
For Revenue Initiatives:
- 1 point: $0-37,500 in estimated annual revenue
- 2 points: $37,500-75,000
- And so on, increasing in increments up to 10 points for $1.5 million+
For Cost Savings Initiatives:
Cost savings were assessed differently due to their higher intrinsic value compared to revenue. Cost savings initiatives used lower thresholds since they provide more value than identical revenue amounts since there are costs (cost of creating the product, shipping, warehousing, etc.) baked into revenue.
- 1 point: $0-25,000 in estimated annual savings
- 2 points: $25,000-50,000
- And so on, increasing in increments up to 10 points for $1 million+ savings
Impact Scoring Metrics
- 1 Point: $0 to $37,500 in estimated annual revenue/savings
- 2 Points: $37,500 to $75,000
- … up to a Score of 10 Points: Over $1.5 million in revenue or $1 million in cost savings
A Deep Dive into Effort Scoring: The Other Side of the Equation
Understanding the effort involved is crucial. The effort scoring system is meticulously designed to cover both the time required and system complexity:
Effort Scoring Metrics
- 1 Point: 1 week of work, only configuration changes in a single system.
- 2 Points: 1 week of work, but contained within one system.
- …up to a score of 10 Points: More than 3 months, affecting four or more systems.
To accommodate the varying market conditions and priorities of each region, the regional directors were empowered to assign their own impact scores for each initiative. These scores were then combined to calculate an overall impact score, thereby offering a more nuanced and comprehensive evaluation.
The Project Initiation Form (PIF)
All these evaluations begin with a Project Initiation Form (PIF). Regional directors can propose new initiatives by filling out this short but detailed form, which is then reviewed initially by me and the e-commerce leadership team. The form captures:
- Initiative name
- Problem statement
- Estimated annual revenue/cost savings
- Optional fields like supporting data, user stories, stakeholders, and timelines
The PIFs are reviewed weekly, allowing regional directors to contribute their perspective through impact scoring, thereby continually updating a prioritized backlog of proposed projects.
The process succeeded in striking a balance between global requirements and regional nuances. By taking a data-driven approach rooted in real revenue and cost-saving metrics, the system eliminated much of the subjectivity that often plagues such initiatives.
This methodology also brought about a marked improvement in communication between the regional teams and the central e-commerce leadership. Weekly reviews and the iterative nature of the PIF process meant that everyone was on the same page, always.
Most importantly, the prioritized backlog meant that development resources could be focused on initiatives with the most significant expected impact. While not perfect, the process has been a significant step forward in aligning global efforts.
Introducing the new product prioritization process at Crocs.com was no small feat, but the results have spoken for themselves. Through thoughtful design, rigorous evaluation, and team-wide adoption, the system helped us become more agile, coordinated, and impactful than ever before.
Me and my team of Digital Project Managers, along with the collaborative effort from regional directors, have found a way to align diverging priorities into a streamlined roadmap, setting the stage for a more effective and cohesive future for Crocs.com.
So here’s to standardized decision-making that doesn’t lose sight of the nuances that make each market unique. Because when it comes to global e-commerce, one size definitely doesn’t fit all.