The Cure for the HiPPO Syndrome

Getting Buy-In and Proving Value

There is a practical side to the success of A/B testing at your organization, and success depends not only on the tests themselves, but equally on the adoption of testing as a cultural practice in your organization.

The HiPPO Syndrome Has a Cure

Many companies, even in an increasingly data-driven marketplace, still unfortunately succumb from time to time to what we call the “HiPPO Syndrome”: allowing decisions to be made according to the Highest Paid Person's Opinion rather than the data. What this means for the would-be A/B testing hero is that sometimes you may find yourself encountering various forms of passive and/or active resistance to adopting a testing-driven methodology. Here are a few ways to start curing the HiPPO Syndrome at your own workplace, and to move your organization toward an openness and eagerness for experimentation and a willingness to take the numbers seriously even when they're most surprising:

DAN: I learned an important lesson about experimentation during my first year working at Google, when my mentor explained how I could convince my boss's boss to let me try something. Even at a fairly data-driven company like Google it was hard to convince the higher-ups to do something potentially risky or radical, and it's always a challenge to get people's support to launch a new product or create a new feature since there's always the concern that perhaps nobody will use it. The key phrase ...

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