The Power of Product Operations—and Why You Need it Now [+Webinar]

A group sits in chairs forming a circle. They discuss the contents of an infographic poster sitting on the ground. In front of the image rests the text, "The Product Operations Powerhouse."

Watch our on-demand webinar, The Product Operations Powerhouse—and Why You Need it, to learn more in-depth about how to leverage the ProdOps practice.

Today’s Reality Check

Congratulations! Your product and business are thriving and growing! Your product is successful and maturing, with many customers and demands. Soon, your workload could be twice its current size.  Unfortunately, what got you here almost certainly won’t carry you forward and allow you to scale. The “cracks” are starting to show…

Recognizing the Symptoms That Prevent You from Scaling

Ad hoc use of data

Your data-gathering, in-product and elsewhere, is ad-hoc. This is also the case for your data curation, analysis, reporting, and decision-making. The various Product Managers are using data differently, and some, not at all.

Inconsistent testing and learning

You know you should practice continuous discovery, experimentation, and validation, but you’re just too busy to do this consistently. It feels like you’re not learning about changing customer and market needs quickly enough.

Getting lost in the features

You are getting buried in product feedback and feature requests from actual customers, and many internal teams and proxies. You are losing your ability to acknowledge, prioritize, and disposition these requests.

Confusion in commitments

Your team is conveying different messages and roadmap commitments to other stakeholders. Some decisions are made through back-channels while other decisions are “unmade.” Savvy colleagues in other teams are lobbying certain Product Managers to make commitments for others.

Messy processes

Your release and pre-release processes are getting sloppy, and you don’t always meet your release criteria or fully enable your customers and internal teams for product success.

Pricing blunders

Your pricing is haphazard or stale. You’re not sure if you’re overcharging or leaving money on the table.

Enter, Product Operations

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? I thought so. Yep, those “little things” you tolerate today will certainly conspire to prevent you from scaling. And it will hurt.

It’s time to leverage ProdOps to help your team respond to ever-changing expectations, become more responsive and predictable, deliver value faster, and better control your destiny.

The very first reference I recall seeing for Product Operations – ProdOps – was about five years ago. I wondered if the similarity to the already well-established field of DevOps was intentional. The answer: sort of. Just as DevOps was conceived to improve cross-team accountability and remove the friction between your development and ops/hosting teams, so too, ProdOps was conceived to help your growing PM practice scale and thrive. Even three years ago, ProdOps was considered emerging; today, ProdOps should be considered imperative.

Indeed, ProdOps is currently among the fastest-growing practices you’ll read about. In fact, Pendo’s 2021 State of Product Leadership report notes that ProdOps is now established in companies at all major revenue categories!

Source: Pendo – ProdOps team implementation by revenue band.

Interestingly, ProdOps was initially defined rather narrowly as a PM sub-practice to manage your tool stack and product data. Some still take this narrow view. In my experience, these areas are essential but insufficient. Today, ProdOps practices and teams are increasingly chartered to serve the far broader list of issues above.

ProdOps is best visualized as the intersection between the PM team and other teams, including Sales, Customer Success, Support, and Executives. It is both “the glue” and “the lubricant” that keep the teams aligned and in sync, so everybody can go fast… together! Easy to visualize, harder to realize. How do you get started, quickly, and on the cheap? What are the pitfalls to avoid?

Get ProdOps-Ready

Watch our on-demand webinar, The Product Operations Powerhouse—and Why You Need it. You’ll hear expert tips from Shelly LaRock, Director of ProdOps at NAVEX Global, who built and leads her company’s ProdOps practice. Shelly has “been there, done that” and will share what she’s learned along the way.


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 empower Product Professionals with the knowledge and tools to create products that matter.

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