So it's time to scale your startup? Or you just started a new transformation effort? You need to up your product management game, but you're not sure how? Sure, you can make many mistakes, waste a bunch of money and eventually get it right. Or, you can reach out to people who have done it before.
Product operations is a broad topic that is still widely unknown and sporadically applied. However, organisations that recognise the importance of product ops are getting better results and leading their markets.
What is product ops?Product operations, or product ops, is a business function in scaling organisations that aims to empower product teams.
Product ops as a serviceWhen you're a scaling startup you usually have only one goal - growth. It's not easy as you need to raise capital, hire lots of talent, establish processes, organise work, and harness your company culture.
Founders don't know how or have no time to hire product peopleUnless they were product people in the past. But even then, founders might hire great individual contributors but they will not know how to organise work for scale. Only seniors know how to hire other seniors. And you need some very experienced folks when you scale your startup. You just cannot afford to spend any time on anything, but growth.
Hiring and onboardingProduct ops partners could come into an organisation, and quickly assess the needs of the business according to the founder's vision and growth strategy. Then product ops could outline the hiring needs, get the right people in and effectively onboard them.
Product ops will work with your people's team to make sure the new hires will make your company culture stronger. They will also suggest professional development plans for the new hires in accordance with individual aspirations and the company's ambitions.
Just enough processStartups and scaleups tend to be chaotic. Everyone is doing everything, but no one knows exactly who's doing what and when it could be done. Sometimes from this chaos, an innovation could raise, despite the frustration of everyone involved.
A scaleup is a different beast. When you get your initial product-market fit - the quality and speed of execution become your main goals. You can no longer afford misalignment, job duplication, and communication breakdowns. You need just enough processes to ensure transparency, accountability and control over execution.
A product ops partner, who saw multiple companies in the same situation as yours, could offer the right set of processes, tools and metrics to reach your growth goals. Moreover, you could be sure those suggestions will be promoting a healthy, long-term product culture that will serve your company further down the road.
Build a strong product teamProduct managers are some of the most ambitious people in your company. They always want to do more, learn more, and achieve more. If they can't find opportunities to do so in your company, it's not long until they'll start to look elsewhere. Lack of professional development is one of the top reasons people leave their jobs. As a founder, talent is your main competitive advantage. Especially the talent you spent so much effort to attract and train.
For a product ops partner, the professional development of your product teams is the top priority. They will hire with the long-term plan in mind to ensure there will be plenty of growth opportunities for the individuals they take on board. From day one they will align individual PMs' goals and aspirations with the company's long-term vision and strategy. This is essential to build a strong team and prevent employee churn.
Founder's partnerBeing a founder of a startup, let alone a scale-up, is an extremely stressful job. All eyes are on you, everyone needs a piece of you, tasks overflow and stress accumulate. That's why it's essential to have a solid partner with you to avoid burnout and give your organisation the best chances to succeed.
Wouldn't it be great to have someone who can take some load off your shoulders? Who can provide advice based on the relevant experience they gathered throughout the years? Someone you can bounce ideas off and discuss your vision? Someone who holds your business interests in heart?
Your startup success with a little bit of help from product opsIt's hard to argue with facts - the success of a startup depends on the founder and the people they bring along for the ride. Finding the right people, hiring them and onboarding them are extremely tricky, time-consuming and error-prone tasks that could make or break your growth efforts. This becomes especially problematic if founders need to hire in areas where they are not experts.
Getting product ops as a service will help founders to identify the product needs for their business, hire the right individuals, onboard and coach them to efficiency.
Product ops will also establish the right amount of lean processes that will ensure founders have visibility, control and reliability of execution of their vision. Product teams will be empowered with the right tools, processes and data to make the right calls and reach the founder's vision.
Founders can be sure that together with delivery, product ops will take care of building strong product teams where the professional development needs of every individual are taken into account. The goals of individual contributors will be aligned with the long-term business strategy, reducing employee turnover and increasing their job satisfaction.
Finally, product ops as a service will be the founder's partners with the predictable costs, value and terms of engagement. Their focus will always be on advancing the business of their client and moving on when the strongest in-house team is prepared to carry on creating winning products and delighting their customers.