Discover more from The Product-Led Geek
The role of Product Ops in planning
Have you ever wondered how some product teams just seem to consistently hit home runs?
There are many reasons that they repeatedly delight their users and drive great business outcomes. For some of the best teams I've seen, one of those reasons is product operations.
Product ops is one of those fields that is still ambiguous to most, yet world class product teams utilise product operations as a superpower to 10x their decision making ability.
It's a nascent discipline, and is interpreted and implemented in many different ways from company to company. But one of the most consistent themes I've seen is the value product ops functions create when supporting planning and prioritisation processes.
The reality of modern product management is that there are just too many valid sources of input for PMs to feasibly be thorough in generating insights that inform effective prioritisation.
We want PMs to spend more time with users and customers. But finding, collating and making sense of the sea of available data is a full time role in itself.
Consider some of the inputs:
👉 Qual data from user interviews / research
👉 Product usage data
👉 Feedback / RFEs
👉 Surveys / NPS / CES etc
👉 Segmented product financials
👉 Win / loss data
👉 Support issues
👉 Segmented R&D costs
👉 New business (sales org) themes
👉 Existing customer (CS org) themes
👉 Competitive data
👉 Learnings from churn/downsell/saved
The problem gets exponentially worse as your org, customer base and user base scales.
Great product ops functions will spelunk, analyse, triage, combine, pattern match, aggregate, summarise, distill, curate, contextualise and socialise the signals coming from the multitude data sources to massively up-level product teams.
They become a 3rd eye for product teams.
They frame thematic data through the lens of company and product strategy to provide insights that can be leveraged to make better decisions, and inform opportunity creation, justification, and prioritisation.
When first implementing product ops, this is one of the highest leverage places to start.
There's a lot of work in this, but a few cross-functional conversations will quickly reveal the most important, least understood sources of data to focus on first. Additional sources can be pulled in over time.
Not only do product teams become empowered to make better decisions, identify and prioritise opportunities, they also get the gift of time. Ask a PM what their most precious resource is and they'll likely say time. Specifically time to spend with users and customers.
Of course product ops supports product teams in many other ways too, but IME, this is one of the most valuable.