Supercharging the Growth Team of Pinterest: An In-Depth Analysis of its Experiment Idea Review Process

**How the Pinterest Growth Team Organizes for Success**
*Scaling the Growth Team for Success*

The traditional growth team model of having team leads decide which opportunities to pursue did not scale well as the Pinterest Growth team grew to over 100 members. With an increasing number of high-quality ideas needed for experimentation, the leads had less time to research and find great opportunities. To address this issue, the team adopted a bottom-up approach, where everyone from engineers to designers is expected to contribute quality experiment ideas.

*Implementing the Experiment Idea Review Process*
*What is Experiment Idea Review?*

Experiment Idea Review (EIR) is a recurring meeting where team members pitch ideas with the goal of training team members on how to come up with quality ideas and building a backlog of high-quality experiment ideas. Depending on the team’s needs, EIR meetings can be conducted weekly or monthly. The more practice team members get, the better they become at generating high-quality ideas. It’s essential to note that EIR is not a brainstorming session, as brainstorms tend to be effective only for specific, scoped problems.

*The Process of Experiment Idea Review*
*Preparing for EIR Meeting*

Before an EIR meeting, team members spend up to an hour filling out an experiment idea doc. This document should contain a problem statement, screenshots and videos of the current user experience, experiment idea details, hypothesis, opportunity size, estimated impact, investment required, precedence, and recommended rating. The detailed experiment idea document allows readers to make an educated guess about the idea’s potential value.

*Conducting the EIR Meeting*

During the EIR meeting, each team member presents their idea for approximately five minutes, followed by a five-minute discussion. Leads provide extensive feedback about the idea, and the discussion concludes with action items. Different teams can use different rating systems, but each rating should match an action item such as “work on immediately,” “move to backlog,” or “deprioritize.”

*Best Practices for Effective EIR*
*Ensuring Active Participation*

To ensure active participation, it is important to create a schedule with assignments for specific team members to bring ideas on specific dates. Managers should set the expectation that finding great ideas is required to succeed on a growth team. Pairing new and experienced team members can also help them work on ideas together.

*Teaching Idea Generation*

Teaching team members how to come up with ideas is essential. During onboarding, team members should be taught how to find ideas through competitor audits, user flow walkthroughs, metrics deep dives, and examining past experiment results. Building a library of high-quality idea docs can serve as examples for new team members to learn from.

*Improving Idea Quality*

While ramping up the EIR process, it is common to encounter ideas of lacking quality. To accelerate quality improvement, leads should provide significant feedback after every idea. Emphasizing that one good idea generates more impact than ten bad ones can also motivate team members. It is crucial to set expectations around the prep time required for researching an idea.

*Ensuring Detailed Idea Documents*

Leads should collect the idea one-pagers ahead of the meeting to ensure they have sufficient detail. If any ideas are lacking detail, authors should be asked to flesh them out and reschedule them for review in a later EIR meeting.

*Addressing Good Ideas*

For strong ideas, owners should be assigned to work on them immediately during the meeting to ensure they are acted upon.

*Providing Feedback Guide*
*Improving Idea Quality with Feedback*

To help team members improve the quality of their experiment ideas, feedback should be provided in various areas. This includes addressing opportunity size, impact estimate, listed precedents with discussion, correct investment size estimate, lenient ratings, and considering past experiment outcomes.

*The Results of Implementing EIR*
*Scaling Impact with EIR*

After implementing the EIR process for over a year, the Pinterest Growth team has seen several benefits. Depending on the subteam, 50-100% of experiments are now ideated by non-lead members. The team has successfully scaled to over 100 members while increasing the overall experiment impact of each subteam. With Experiment Idea Review, new team members are more effective, quickly learning from past experiments and owning new experiments with increased confidence. The team has also enjoyed increased agency in deciding which projects to work on, directly influencing their personal impact and career growth.

In conclusion, a bottom-up approach to organizing the growth team, along with implementing the Experiment Idea Review process, has allowed the Pinterest Growth team to successfully scale and increase its impact. By enabling everyone to generate high-quality experiment ideas and providing a platform for review and feedback, the team has experienced significant growth and success.

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