“The Best in Performance” video series from Rigor gives you the chance to eavesdrop on conversations with web performance industry experts, thought leaders, and technologists. Listen in as they talk about current trends, challenges, and lessons that impact the APM and performance space today. You’ll be armed with information you can use in your own organization, and you’ll impress everyone with your insider knowledge!
Check out our recap of episode two with Alla Gringaus, then view full episodes in the series and subscribe to be alerted when new episodes go live.
Alla Gringaus has worked with a multitude of well-established technology and media brands, including TIME, People, The Economist, and the American Kennel Club, carrying hands-on and leading roles in front-end development and UX, all driven by user-centered design. As she focused on UX strategy, design patterns for responsive websites, and mobile-first design, she quickly realized that it’s critical to create a culture that prioritizes web performance.
Gringaus and Rigor’s CTO, Billy Hoffman, sat down for a lively discussion focused on the ways that web performance experts can gain buy-in from other members of the organization. She also shared tips on who to follow on social media for the most recent news and innovations in the web performance space.
Check out some highlights:
Alla Gringaus on….
- Framing the conversation to get buy-in from stakeholders.
- Building a culture of performance.
- Introducing web performance to a larger audience.
- Lessons learned.
- Performance industry experts to follow.
Q: How can you frame the language of performance when speaking to executives?
That can be challenging, says Gringaus. When talking to an executive, she explains, you have to bear in mind that they may not understand the language of performance metrics. Instead, you need to find your “Rosetta Stone” to translate that language to something less technical and easier to understand that also addresses concerns that are relevant to their particular role.
[bctt tweet=”You need to find your ‘Rosetta Stone’ to translate the language of performance metrics for others in your organization. – Alla Gringaus #webperf @agringaus” username=”TeamRigor”]
“I used my expertise to educate people about metrics,” says Gringaus. She would begin with User Experience first. This starting point made it easier for those unfamiliar with the technicalities of performance to grasp the idea and then encourage other teams to adopt it.
Then, she adds, you need to “translate everything to align with the business goals and monetize every step of the way.” She adds that in order to prove the real impact of improved page load time, “you need to collaborate with all stakeholders to find out about the numbers they consider most important in their department.”
Q: Why is performance culture important and how can you build it within an organization?
When performance culture is established across an organization, it’s easier to get buy-in about performance optimization from various teams. Gringaus says that in her case, she started by using every opportunity she could to speak to groups “in town halls or water-cooler meetings.”
From: The Best In Performance Interview Series – Alla Gringaus on developing a culture of performance – (45 seconds) – Watch Full Episode
Q: What are some myths about web performance that you had to address throughout your career?
The top myth Gringaus says she had to bust was: “The Internet is designed for optimal performance.” This is untrue, she says. Instead, she explains, “the Internet was built for resilience, not for performance.”
[bctt tweet=”The Internet was built for resilience, not for performance. – Alla Gringaus #webperf @agringaus” username=”TeamRigor”]
Gringaus also had to work on helping people understand that while it may appear that everyone has a top-of-the-line phone and a high-speed Internet connection, that’s not actually the case. Sites need to be designed for users on slower connections with a wide range of devices. “Eureka!,” says Gringaus. “Not everybody on the planet has an iPhone!”
Another myth that Gringaus had to address was that performance monitoring on its own is enough. She explains, “The most sophisticated monitoring tool can alert you and give you enough data to diagnose what might be causing poor network performance. It’s not going to solve the front-end performance issues. That’s why having not only monitoring but also optimization tools is very important.”
Q: When should teams start thinking about performance?
Gringaus notes that in the past, performance was something that was thought about toward the end of the process of developing a site. “It’s a lot harder to reverse-engineer your mistakes,” she says, “and a lot more expensive to go back.” Now, she says, performance needs to be built into product development stages and to be part of the “Discovery” phase from the get-go. “Performance is as important as – if not more important than – how your website looks, how pretty your font is, or how effective your layout is” she explains.
[bctt tweet=”Performance is as important as – if not more important than – how your website looks, how pretty your font is, or how effective your layout is – Alla Gringaus #webperf @agringaus” username=”TeamRigor”]
She adds that a performance budget should be set early on and shared across all teams so that everyone is aware of it. “If you come up with a performance budget at the end of the process and people are surprised,” she says, “then it’s your mistake that you didn’t bring it up sooner.”
By establishing a performance budget up front, explains Gringaus, you establish that “if [a] feature prevents the user from interacting with the page because it’s too slow, you may have to reconsider it.”
Q: What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your past self that you know now?
“I wish I could avoid doing all the manual work in the beginning,” Gringaus says. She now finds it essential to have an automated solution to help with performance data.
She adds “It’s almost a ‘crime’ not to take care of performance these days because it affects the bottom line of every business.” Now that there are automated tools, she says, one should take advantage of them to get the data and evangelize performance with it.
[bctt tweet=”It’s almost a ‘crime’ not to take care of performance these days because it affects the bottom line of the business. – Alla Gringaus #webperf @agringaus” username=”TeamRigor”]
Experts to follow on Twitter
Gringaus notes that it’s important to follow experts in performance so that you know the trends and the news as it happens in the space. Her list includes:
- Steve Souders – @souders
- Tammy Everts – @tameverts
- Ilya Grigorik – @igrigorik
- Andy Davis – @andydavies
- Tim Kadlec – @tkadlec
- Patric Meenan – @patmeenan
- Yoav Weiss – @yoavweiss
Performance experts need to find their “Rosetta Stone,” says Gringaus, in order to translate the language of performance into something that will resonate with executives. Then, be sure to implement performance early on in the product development process, as it’s easier and less expensive to do so than to have to backfill it into a site further down the line. Establish a performance budget across teams, and give those teams insight into why it’s important to stick to it. And finally, use all available resources to understand performance and to know what’s going on in the industry.
Check out Alla Gringaus’s full episode of The Best In Performance – as well as episodes from other industry experts – now! Then subscribe to keep a pulse on new episodes as they’re released so you’ll always be in the know.
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Which web performance experts do you follow for the latest news and insight? How do you discuss performance metrics with other members of your organization? Comment below and let us know! And if you know a web performance expert who would like to be featured in a future interview (maybe it’s you!) or if you have topics or questions you’d like us to cover, reach out to us at email@example.com.