COMPANY // Marriott International
SOLUTION // Marriott Search Product
MY WORK //
- First Product Manager hired at Marriott to lead Agile transformation
- Collaborated with Marriott’s executive team on Search Product Vision & Strategy
- Led the Search Product team in Agile product development
THE AGILE TRANSFORMATION //
I was a Sr. Product Manager at Marriott, where I led various product teams as well as helped lead our Agile transformation due to my extensive background in Agile development and Human-Centered Design.
One of the major pain points – and potential blocker – to Agile transformations is always shifting the leadership mindset. To assist this process, we brought in the Agile/Product SME, Marty Cagan, to lead Agile workshops with product leaders and executives.
With leadership onboard, we asked Marty to help evolve the thinking and culture of the broader E-Commerce team. Marty was truly inspiring, where we were excited about enhancing our product development utilizing Agile. We worked with a vendor over the course of the next month getting our E-Commerce team fully certified in Agile Scrum. Once our training was completed, I was chosen to lead the Search Product team to help get them established utilizing Agile Scrum.
THE SEARCH PRODUCT //
Strategic Product Planning & Sprint 0
I spent a couple weeks before we kicked off Sprint 1 focused on Strategic Product Planning, in order to strategize, plan, and prepare the Search Product team for Sprint 1. My responsibilities were extraordinary in shaping the future direction of the Search Product, where I started by creating a Product Vision (see below) to help solidify the high-level product assumptions with Marriott executives while providing guidance for the Strategic Product Planning process.
Next, I focused my time developing these key deliverables:
- Product strategy
- Business case
- Key product indicators (KPI’s)
- Product roadmap
I felt fully prepared moving into Sprint 0 with the full Search Product team, where we spent the first day diving into the Search Product Vision to help inspire the team. The team loved it and were excited to begin the journey of making the Search vision a reality! We created the user personas, finalized the vision, and reviewed and finalized the Definition of Done.
Next, we reviewed the product backlog as a team and added additional ideas. This led into backlog grooming, where we refined and estimated a few user stories. Then we started Product Discovery, where we utilized a Human-Centered Design approach to properly validate a few user stories to develop in Sprint 1.
Search Product Development – Responsive User Experience
It took 5-6 sprints to get our team fully performing with Agile Scrum, where we then set our sights on revamping our Search user experience that was suffering from a slew of major usability issues. These issues ranged from high bounce rates on the homepage, to low task completion rates, and even a decline in bookings via the search product.
During our user research and design activities, we spent a lot of time talking, surveying, and conducting usability tests with Marriott Rewards members as well as non-members using Marriott’s current Search product.
These interactions with customers proved extremely valuable in helping us to pinpoint the root causes of many problems we were seeing in the Marriott.com analytics. We mapped out the user journey, and then spent time conceptualizing the new search experience. Next, we developed clickable mockups and prototypes of ideas and began user testing with Marriott Rewards members as well as non-members.
We continued refining the search user experience based off the feedback from the user testing, until we were able to satisfy our initial goals.
I was asked – and happily accepted – by the leadership team to lead the development of the Check In/Out Mobile App, and switched teams shortly before the responsive homepage and search product was deployed in mid-2013. I was proud to have contributed to its development, and wasn’t surprised by the incredible reviews from Marriott Rewards members, partners, and media pundits.
LET’S DISRUPT THE FUTURE //
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