As product companies begin to scale, the need to establish best practices, align teams across an organization, and drive process efficiency has become increasingly important. Rapidly-growing and large-scale companies are investing in the tools, people, and processes required to operationalize the entire digital product lifecycle, including research, design, development, marketing, and sales. This has resulted in the rise of the many trendy “ops” you might have heard about—ResearchOps, DesignOps, DevOps, SalesOps, and MarketingOps.
A challenge that many companies face is that as teams become larger and more distributed, they also become more siloed, resulting in a loss of product vision and strategy. As teams build and release more to users, how do we know they’re building the right things? How do we ensure customers are aware of new releases and that we get feedback on their experience early and often? How can we use data analysis to drive experimentation and iteration to improve the product? Like DevOps and DesignOps before it, ProductOps is a term used to describe processes and best practices that bring all teams together to ensure the organization is executing on data-driven strategies to keep products innovative and relevant to users.
Since it’s still a nascent trend, the industry has yet to fully align on a strict definition. Blake Samic, Head of Product Operations at Stripe, describes it as “building the connective tissue between the teams building your technology and the teams who interact with your users.” Christina Perri, Director of Product Operations at Pendo, says, “ProductOps is to product as SalesOps is to sales—a neutral party that drives efficiency and alignment through data and technology management. It’s the intersection of product, customer success, and engineering, and supports alignment, communication, and processes around the product development and release cycles.”
If the ideal outcome is innovative product transformation and staying ahead of the curve of disruption, the core of a successful ProductOps function is data and insights to ensure the customer is at the center of every decision. Today, companies have an explosion of quantitative and qualitative data at their fingertips, and as they grow, they must move from instinct-based decision making to evidence-based strategies. ProductOps professionals use a variety of data including customer feedback, product usage, competitive analysis, limited release experiments, and product development metrics to draw insights about their customers and products.
Why ProductOps Teams?
When an organization is small and consists of only a small number of product teams, it is easy to track what’s going on in terms of progress, goals, roadmaps, and processes. However, when organizations grow, it is hard to obtain a good picture of how the company is measuring against their set goals. A ProductOps group can ensure there is alignment across all product teams in terms of tools, processes, feature documentation, data collection, reporting, and product analytics. For example, this can help the organization ensure that all design teams are following DesignOps best practices and using common tools, and that sales teams are reporting on the same metrics. At the end of the day, ProductOps is focused on standardization and communication to enable strong processes and ensure alignment across an organization so that product leaders can make better data-driven decisions.
While ProductOps is still a nascent trend or concept, at frog, we’ve seen fast growing interest from our clients across industries. Additionally, LinkedIn has nearly 7,000 users with “Product Operations” in their title. This is a good indicator that many organizations understand the importance of leading with a product mindset and using all the data that is available to them to identify winning strategies. When it comes to succeeding in today’s marketplace, innovative companies realize the importance of implementing ProductOps in order to push out products that will continue to engage increasingly savvy consumers.