Product Operations, or POps as some people have called it, is a role that has appeared with some frequency in product development teams, especially in reasonably large teams with 150 or more people, including engineers, designers and product managers.
Anyone who knows me knows how important I think some terms are clearly defined, to ensure that we have the same understanding when we are talking about this term. It is the ubiquitous language, a concept created by Eric Evans in his book Domain-Driven Design, which is the set of terms that must be fully understood by both domain experts (system users) and developers (system implementers).
Operations is one of those very broad and generic terms, which can have different meanings and represent different responsibilities, depending on the company, its culture and its context. However, in the different definitions that we can find on Google, we find as a common denominator that:
Operations is the day-to-day management (of the company or an area) and the search for the efficiency of the processes to generate value in that company or area.
Many companies have operations directors and even a person in top management with the title of COO, Chief Operating Officer. And many companies also have specific areas of operations for some company functions. Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, DevOps, Design Ops. All of them aim to help in the day-to-day management of their respective area and, consequently, help it to be more efficient.
Before we think about creating an area of operations, we first need to understand the need that can culminate in the creation of this area. Usually this need appears when the company starts to grow in number of people. The more people a company has, the greater the chances of inefficiencies in the company’s day-to-day activities.
When a product development area (engineering, design and product management) is small, like 5 to 7 people, everything happens within the team. The team itself takes care of all aspects of the product. This team has a lot of autonomy and ability to generate results quickly and continuously. As the team grows, we tend to divide this team into smaller teams, to maintain autonomy and the ability to generate results quickly and constantly. On the other hand, this division of the big team into smaller teams also brings two points that require attention:
Once the problem is detected, solutions can be thought of. Often the solution can be for someone from one team to team up with someone from another team to create a solution to that problem. Once the solution is created and implemented, people continue to work in their original teams, and if there is a need for any improvement or adjustment to the solution, they can come together again to make this adjustment. If this need for improvement or adjustment in the solution becomes frequent, then we can think about dedicating someone to continuously focus on these needs for improvements and adjustments.
To help make these concepts tangible, here are some examples of timescale problems and how we solve these problems:
It is worth mentioning some important points in relation to the examples above:
New dates for the Workshop to Create the Vision and Strategy of your Product
Without the clarity of your product vision and strategy, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to manage your product. How do you decide where to put your focus and energy? What to leave for later? How to show stakeholders what you intend to do with the product? How to have arguments to say no to requests for new features in your product?
I’ve been helping companies bridge the gap between business and technology through education, coaching, and advisory services on digital product development and management. Check here how I can help you and your company.
I write regularly about product management, product development, digital product leadership, and digital transformation. You can receive a notification whenever I publish a new article, without depending on any social network algorithms to notify you! Just subscribe to my newsletter.
Do you work with digital products? Do you want to know more about how to manage a digital product to increase its chances of success, solve its user’s problems and achieve the company objectives? Check out my Digital Product Management bundle with my 3 books where I share what I learned during my 30+ years of experience in creating and managing digital products:
You can also acquire the books individually, by clicking on their titles above.