Product Operations — You Asked, We Answered

This month, we presented the webinar, The Product Operations Powerhouse—and Why You Need it. You can view the accompanying blog post as a primer to learn about the value of the ProdOps practice. We received so many great questions on the topic and have included answers to the top questions down below. Thank you all for engaging in our webinar!

Q&A

How do you balance a solid ProdOps framework with giving product teams some autonomy to do things in a way that works best for them?

A properly structured ProdOps practice unifies and standardizes the highly repetitive tasks that must be done consistently across Product Managers, while freeing each PM to innovate where they need to. Consider Problem Discovery and User Research as one example: The PM will determine which quantitative and qualitative approaches to take, which questions to ask, etc. The ProdOps team can provide accurate customer data and contact info pulled from other repositories. They’ll also ensure the research data is captured in a way it can be stored, analyzed, and shared.

From my point of view, splitting the Product Manager and the Product Owner role is a source of confusion. I feel it will blur the boundary of the product ownership. How do you make the line clear?

The topic of clarifying roles is an important one, and one we intentionally didn’t cover in depth during this session. The ProdOps team is a valued partner to both! Please check out our article and webinar, Product Management Roles: Whose Job is it? [+Webinar].

Are RACIs still widely used in the ProdOps structure and/or the market? How else can you promote self-organized teams within ProdOps?

Yes, RACIs and DACIs are still used and are effective for clarifying roles, especially in matrixed or larger organizations. We prefer to use DACIs in addition to RACIs because the “Driver” role is less ambiguous – there can be only one such person in DACI.

Does ProdOps get involved in any due diligence for M&A? Also, does ProdOps get involved in any external engagement with partners building products together?

Great question! Due diligence should be comprehensive and cross-cutting. The best due diligence practices evaluate the PM practice as a whole, including the ProdOps function. It’s a solid indicator of the investment the company has made in scaling its PM capability.

Do you find the ProdOps role and function overlaps into some of the areas in Product Marketing?

We generally structure a ProdOps practice to serve the PM capability stack. Sometimes, product marketing lives in Product, and sometimes it lives in Marketing, where – you guessed it – Marketing Ops, can perform analogous services for the Marketing teams.

Does ProdOps get involved in product strategy formulation? What have you seen?

The most pervasive ProdOps models we have seen deployed focus on operational efficiencies, thus freeing the PMs from routine tasks and allowing them to focus more on strategy.

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About the Author

David Nash - VP of Products & Services
David Nash is VP of Products & Services at 280 Group.
David is a recognized expert in Product Management, Product Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Team Development. He has delivered generations of successful technology Products (Hardware, Software & SaaS, Systems) and Services, and is expert in B2B SaaS, Pricing, User Experience, and In-App User Engagement. 280 Group is the world’s leading Product Management training and consulting firm. We help companies and individuals do GREAT Product Management and Product Marketing using our Optimal Product Process™.

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