3 things about product operations (discussed during our Beyond Design Roundtable)

Caya Kempe

ANWB, Schiphol, IKEA, Gynzy, and Yuki Visma joined our roundtable last week to discuss their setup for product operations and their challenges.

How to seek collaboration between various Ops specialties, preventing a product theatre

  • Collaboration between DevOps, DesOps, ProductOps, ResearchOps, DataOps, and other Ops in your organisation can create a unified approach to organisational workflows, onboarding, tooling, culture, and growth tracks.
  • Identifying bottlenecks, optimising work distribution, and managing impacts become crucial as product operations evolve. Implementing portfolio management for handling multiple products or business lines and establishing effective OKRs enable strategic alignment and operational agility.
  • Everyone does Ops, when a company is big enough it might be worth it to make this a full-time job function so your developers, product managers, designers and other team members can focus on executing their work. 
  • Recognising the need for dedicated roles in larger teams helps achieve the goal of scaling and ensures that operations are prioritised. This strategic approach to operations, coupled with an emphasis on knowledge transfer and support for key roles like product managers, facilitates a balance between day-to-day operations and long-term strategic objectives.

How to move from business to product goals and enforce local optimisation

  • Different maturity levels among product teams can cause misalignment when working towards shared goals. When this happens, determine the colleague's product maturity level before pushing your own ideas.
  • Ensure that teams understand how their work contributes to business goals and aligns with the overall product vision.
  • The production cycles can vary per product team because of different product goals. Creating a split between innovation and delivery teams can be a solution, keeping in mind that the delivery teams are also in contact with their end-users. This prevents a disconnect between the innovation, optimisation, and delivery teams. 
  • Foster a supportive and innovative environment that encourages experimentation and risk-taking, allowing teams to explore new ideas and approaches to optimize the product.

How to align on the way of working between product teams?

  • When each team and each department has their own way of working, it can be challenging to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t force a new way of working on teams, ask them to report in the same manner about progress. This makes it easier for management to compare the results of various teams. 
  • By comparing the processes and results of teams, the Ops role, in collaboration with product management, can point to the areas for improvement. 

View the product and process as an iterative cycle, learn and measure results, adjust and improve.

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Caya Kempe
Lead Strategy & Research

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