I’m Jarel, Envato’s Quality Manager, here with an update on average review queue times and improvements in the Quality team.
The Quality Team
It’s a great time to provide a fresh view of the size and structure of the Quality team. We currently consist of over 60 team members with a leadership group located at Melbourne HQ, [domain knowledge] Specialists, Senior Reviewers and Reviewers (globally distributed).
If you’re familiar with the Quality team, you likely know one or more of our long time team members, most of whom are Specialists (Adrien, Mark, Stephen, Kate and Gaby) or Senior Reviewers and Reviewers (such as Kailoon, Ivor, Sid, Cheryl, Jeremy, Tyson, David, Claudiu — many!). These are the ladies and gentlemen that keep the review queues moving nearly 365 days of the year. They’re a phenomenally talented group, but one thing is for sure; our awesome author-base is producing more content than ever before and the Quality team is growing accordingly.
The Review Queues
Speaking of queues; the Quality team processes around 400,000 reviews per month, across a broad range of skills, item types and states, and categories. This illustrates the complex levels of detail across the team, and why it’s a challenge to provide generalised updates and averages that sometimes lead to unrealistic expectations. Having said that, we primarily aim to turn over the majority of reviews within target timeframes (less than 7 days for new items) and we have some work to do in accounting for growth of new content.
Changes and Improvements
So what have we been doing about it and what’s next?
A while ago the team hit a tipping point where our management, administrative and Specialists capacity needed to make a substantial jump up. We made some changes to free up more of our Specialists’ time and then introduced several new roles including 2x Team Leads (Blake and James).
Leadership Capacity: Before we could really focus on review resourcing, it was important to hire for these roles and bring the team up to speed. I’m very happy to report we’ve completed that stage.
Environment: Next, we needed to make some improvements to how we plan and prioritise our work considering how much it’s changed and grown. That was heavily dependent on internal tooling, metrics and reporting that are efficient and effective—which I’m also very happy to report has largely been completed for our initial phase.
Review Resourcing: With the above two completed, we’re now ready to begin increasing priority and focus on review resourcing (hiring additional reviewers). This is already in progress for some areas, with other areas picking up momentum soon.
Technical Improvements: We also have a huge list of ideas and opportunities for improvements to our review tooling, processes and features and have been increasing our resourcing toward this area in parallel with the team’s leadership capacity. We’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at options, planning, and laying the groundwork for improvements we expect to see in the near future. (This will improve review turnaround times, efficiencies, etc.—we’re very excited about this area!)
In summary, we’ve been working hard to ramp up the team’s foundations to better support more ideal future growth and capacity needs, and we’re now working hard on the next steps of increasing review capacity as needed across the team and improving our ability to stay ahead of the growth curve with fewer surprises.
As always, this kind of growth takes a little patience and we compromised on its timing a little while we focused on the first two areas above, so that we could more effectively grow throughout the team now and in the future. We also have many more areas planned for improvement (such as better insights into review and communications from Quality), which will gain momentum as team capacity catches up.
##When Can We Expect to See Improvements?
As mentioned above, it’s difficult to generalise for all review queues or even per site, so bear that in mind while we work hard to hit our targets (which we ramp up to over time). Our overall target for this next team capacity increase is this June.
AudioJungle - Primary focus area is Music, aiming for increased capacity, up to speed by June (we’d like queues below 7-10 days by June, but this will depend on content growth so we’ll continue monitoring and adjusting along the way).
PhotoDune - We’ve had a few team members head off for new opportunities and recruitment has already been well underway. We’re expecting normalised queues by June.
ThemeForest - Initial focus areas in WordPress and HTML/CSS/PSD as well as overall project capacity needs planning. We’re expecting an initial round of review resourcing to be under way and in training by June and increased project handling capacity well underway by June, possibly extending through the next quarter while getting fully up to speed.
Thank you all for your patience and, believe me when I say, we care a lot about our community of authors and buyers (more than anywhere I’ve ever worked, which is why I love working at Envato!) and we’re working very hard on improving the review process and continuing to ramp up the Quality team.