The Growth Commandments

Danny Denhard

Having worked in Growth for a number of years and rolled out Growth in successful and challenger brands, there are a lot of hurdles (true) Growth departments have to know and respect while going through the transformation and bringing other teams along on the journey.

Here are some of my learnings in the form of:
“The Growth Commandments”

— Communications & Relationships —

Be prepared for politics 😑
You will be in-between many teams, opinions and success metrics, be prepared for work politics, enable other teams to be winners and offer chances to win as a team (not just as the Growth department).

Be great communicators 💬
Growth being its own department often requires keeping many stakeholders in the loop and often juggling many opinions. Ensure you are great communicators, it essential you are clear, concise and don’t fear about being direct.
Use one form of communication, choice one medium for updates and results and ensure you keep everyone up to date with important updates, and for those who like to and want to dig a little deeper provide a home for more insights and analysis. I recommend you keep an internal blog and a wiki for information and a home that anyone can read and engage with you and your department on.

Develop and nurture relationships 😎
The majority of the work Growth teams will be taking on is going to touch many internal stakeholders and customers. Knowing who is going to be a part of the project, how it influences their day-to-day and the (their) numbers is essential. Likewise, with your customers, you might not have to be front line with customers but you have to understand them and the interfaces (UI etc) they will be interacting with. Truly know this and develop out those relationships. Watch this “Get in the van” video, it is great and applies to Growth more than you will know.
Create a breakdown, a teardown or offer a group forum where you run stakeholders through your work and ask for their feedback never opinion.
Use this feedback model to handle feedback accordingly.

Team Meetings & Principles
We all hear how important meetings, stand-ups and principles are, having good actionable stand-ups, precise meetings that flow and work for each team member is vitally important. Centralise understandings, get everyone using the same tools and communicate with a blend of in-person (if possible face to face but video calls greatly help too) and on instant messenger for quick questions and updates. Work with the team and agree on your cadence, especially if you are running a SWAT or SWARM team and your team will rotate.

— Data vs Insights —

Go the extra mile with insights 📈
Insights can be a friend or foe to all teams, especially Growth teams. Be prepared to go that extra mile with your data and reports and empower your team with insights. Turn all of your learnings into actionable insights and ensure all of your critical recommendations are based on insights you have learnt and learning. There will be insights that you see as you go that can turbo charge teams plans, assist their KPIs and empower them to adopt.

Use data for and against your argument 👍 👎
Data is priceless correct? Data, unfortunately, can be misleading if you do not understand and interpret in the right way. Data will help guide you however it can be used for and against you and your argument. Please ensure you have read the numbers or data correctly, understand the data in the right context, the way you are going to be using the data and you understand their flaws there is likely to be with it and it might actually condition you away from success. Rather than leading with a data set, question why you wouldn’t or couldn’t use it, answer those questions you will receive before they are asked and you will be leading the way for months to come.

Understand the metric you are moving ⤴️
Sounds simple but always remember to keep it simple (stupid); truly understand the metric or metrics you are moving.
From moving (x) metric → (y) metric and what impact that is going to have. Being able to understand the metrics and the drivers, you will be able to tweak your tests and programmes for the best possible results.
Be able to justify why you are taking this project on and what it is going to move, how and likely when.

You might have heard you are what you measure, you are the metric you move.

— Know Your Product & Know Your Customer —

Audit, audit, audit 🔁
Auditing has been lost on many departments, due to time and resource constraints. Audit your Products, audit your features and develop out a roadmap of improvements based on your Product features or the funnel.
I have a saying always be Auditing, always be Marketing — this is particularly true and a huge winner for Growth teams. Write an exec summary of your audit, provide context to business leaders and then attack the changes with the right rigour and prioritisation.

The Funnel → It is not your funnel
The temptation is to build out your own Growth funnel, don’t, understand or centralise other departments or hopefully for your sake the companies funnel and work in their funnel, speak that language and talk to how you are going to influence it. Words matter, language choice matters, understand and respect the funnel and improve it. Communicate in that way and you will help collaboration win.

Uncover the weak spots 🕵️‍♂️
Somewhat linked to auditing, you are uniquely placed to understand your Products weak spots and potentially turn them into sweet spots. Weak spots can be in Product or in the company Strategy, help guide through the weak spots and help to update the plan, the actions or where possible the strategy. By empowering change and helping departments embrace the change, you will win the short and long term battles you are going to face.

Understand you are going to be judged test by test and result by result. One bad result is going to work against you

Is it worth going again? 🆕
You win some you lose some, not every great idea or most thought through Growth test or programme is going to be positive, however, the question is worth asking, is it worth going again?
Or more likely has this experiment been ran before and “it didn’t work last time” — is it worth going again, a better way of doing it test. By knowing if you should go again and knowing it is a better time to do it might just win or keep more customers, move that 1 item order to 2 or enable your customer to sign up to your prime or premier delivery service.

There are going to be numerous times these commandments come in handy however ensure you never stop learning and developing your internal communications and commandments to get the best results.

Danny Denhard

Written by

Director Of Growth at JustGiving. Career in Product, marketing and growth in growth based companies. I write a weekly newsletter over at

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