A Project Plan for Building and Leading a Tiger Team on Bulk Sender Changes
The new policy changes from Google and Yahoo put every email sender at your company’s productivity and effectiveness at risk. It also isn’t a revenue generating activity to fix it. The best outcome for your company is to spend as little time on this issue as possible.
One of my grad school colleagues, a successful merchant at Amazon, said “I’ve applied just the right level of effort if I’ve learned the material and graduated. Anything more is wasted effort.” That’s Mr. Michael Franklin, MBA, to you.
This guide is focused on organizations with good reputation and low spam ratios. Move forward quickly. Keep coms async. It SHOULD BE a minimal effort–any extra effort isn’t going to make your business better, so everything should be as efficient and automated as possible.
If you’re not familiar with the term “tiger team,” it’s a temporary group of interdisciplinary experts brought together to solve a specific problem. The technique gained popularity after it was used to rescue the Apollo 13 mission.
The biggest waste of time possible is for every team to work on this independently.
If your reputation isn’t good to start, I recommend getting communications going and include a meeting of the Functional Leaders to address reaching Google’s thresholds. You’ll follow the steps laid out here, then immediately move into incident remediation.
Here’s the project plan:
- Figure out the current status. Run here automatically, or Google has manual instructions here.
- Get exec support to take point. Here’s a sample note to your direct leader.
- Figure out every functional area at your company that sends bulk emails, list the “executive leaders” that own those business outcomes driven by the systems (ask the executive leaders to nominate the “functional leaders” or who work in and own the bulk email systems in that functional area). Here’s a template to get you started.
- Reach out to the executive leaders, and ask them to ID who they’d like to take functional ownership.
- Reach out to the functional leaders. I recommend creating a GAL or Google Group and auto-adding the initial members of this team, so as they can self-service communications.
- Set up monitoring and add executive and functional leadership to their respective notifications.
- Create an incident response process for when a monitor sends a failure notification.
- Publish all of it to an intranet site or a confluence page.
These are the minimum monitors you should create:
- For executive leadership
- Daily: Monitor Domain Reputation
Alert only when reputation falls below High
- Monthly: Review spam rates and reputation in a digest or report
Why? If there is a reputation issue, there is a possible impact to business performance. They are in the best position to spot downstream impacts and to take steps to reprioritize efforts, pause impacted campaigns, etc., and communicate to the CEO/board the impact.
- Daily: Monitor Domain Reputation
- For Functional Leaders
Create a daily monitor to include:
- Domain Reputation
- Spam rates
- Blocklist membership (if you are doing this manually, this can be checked weekly)
- SPF and DKIM records (if you are doing this manually, this can be checked weekly)
- Set up regression tests for ALL SPF and DKIM records and systems that can be run when when anyone makes any changes to your domain. A small change to one is the most frequent way things break. Here’s email copy to share with whomever owns your domain (likely IT or Web).