Product Operations: Data + Process = Success

In a previous post on a personal learning and development journey, I was sharing that I attended a workshop mid december with ProduXlabs on Product Operations – Indeed, I wanted to know more about that topic and how we can apply some of the principles at my own company.

What is Product Operations?

If I refer to serious sources online (see at the end of post), here is a summary:

“Product Operations sits at the intersection of Product, Engineering and Customer Success and helps to improve alignment, communication, and processes around product development, launch and iteration.

Product Ops (Source: Pendo)

It is also meant to:

  • analyze data to help product management make better-informed decisions
  • develop business processes to streamline product development
  • manage the many tools the product team uses
  • facilitate user interviews and other market research
  • oversee quality assurance checks on new features
  • work closely with support and sales to improve the customer experience”*

Why is it important?

Teams are building more and more and sometimes they do not spend time on defining if they are building the right things and if the users (consumers) know about what they are building or if they are adopting it.

Product Operations focuses on the value that will be brought to the users but also focuses on reviewing constantly if what was built in the past is working.

That does mean that in order to be successful, you do not only have to focus on delivery; you also need to spend some time to learn about the impacts of the deliveries on the user population (good or bad). This is the only way to better shape your product and meet your customer expectations. In addition, nothing can be successful without standardized best practices in place (processes, templates) to be adopted by the whole product team population.

At the workshop led by Produxlabs, Denise Tilles was our instructor. she was patient and tried to address all of our questions… Some of us had already a great start of implementing Product Ops at their company and others had different levels of maturity.

We reviewed the 3 pillars of product ops: Internal Business Data & Insights, the Customer & Market Insights and finally the Process & Practices. The best qualities for a Product Ops team is to get people data driven (business data analysis) and process/detailed oriented (best practices). In all of the use cases we reviewed during the workshops, we had to define if we had to hire a data person vs a process person for each of the scenarios. This was sometimes challenging and

Mid February, I aslo attended the Product Operations Submit hosted by Product Led

The summit kicked off with a panel that looks at a different definitions and applications of product operations. They explained that Product operations, while not necessarily new, is an emerging function designed to support product excellence at scale. Previously something that almost exclusively existed within large silicon valley corps, it’s a role that is now being applied within a broader range of organizations and is, for some, seen as a key enabler for scaling.

In an another session, they shared that In product operations, they seek to improve the holistic product process, from user research to decision-making to final design and delivery. In that sense, our process is our product and our product teams are our end users; product ops essentially has to run like a mini product team using an approach to product that started with data analysis and user research, continued into sharing of insights, and involved stakeholders in final plans and decisions.

Product Ops is also bridging important changes from inside the organization to other departments like customer success, sales, engineering and look at creating and maintaining effective and scalable communication channels.

What is next?

Reading articles, attending workshop of summits is great but put all of this in practice is better.

My main objective for this year is to apply the main principles of Product Operations within the program I work for. I know this will require a lot of patience but it can be successful if we take the time to have every team represented. As of now, we are not ready to hire dedicated people (data or process) to ensure the product ops function so we will work with existing colleagues.

In order to come up with a plan for the year (roadmap might be ambitious), building a core team across Product, Engineering and Customer Success is the next step. It will require constant collaboration and open the path to ideation sessions around the 3 main pillars mentioned above.

We do not need to forget that the aim of Product Operations is to put everything in place (data analysis around adoption, KYC analysis, best practices/processes….) to improve the product at its most for its targeted audience.

The must is to start small and get quick wins within the product organization in collaboration with their relevant cross-functional parties (engineering, customer success) to become more effective at the delivery of products that matter to the business.

Related Sources (examples)

Published by ThinkerSQuid

Founder of The ThinkerSQuid - A blog to learn and share for everyone

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