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Product ops as a service principles


Product ops as a service empower startups, scaleups and enterprises with the right people, processes and data to supercharge their product efforts and business impact. The terms of engagement for product ops as a service should be clear and transparent. Here they are.


Product ops as a service need time to achieve the ambitious goals set before them. However, they don’t want to overstay their welcome or build “nests” within your company. The minimal engagement period for product ops as a service should be six months. Within this timeframe, the main challenges relating to building the empowered product teams could be addressed and the basic frameworks created. The exact things that could be achieved within six months will vary depending on the size and the nature of the business.
The maximum engagement time, or at least the recommended time for assessment, should be set to one year. On the anniversary date, the business leaders could review the value product ops brought to the company and decide whether future services are needed. 

Predictable costs

Often young companies work out of a fixed and tight budget. For them it’s vital to know the major costs they’ll have upfront. And when it comes to employing people full time the costs might unexpectedly change leaving companies less flexible in pursuing their goals. 

Product ops as a service work differently. The period of engagement, costs and the scope of work is agreed upon upfront and fixed for the duration of the contract. That way the business owner has predictability and better control over their spending and the value they’re getting. 

Reporting directly to the founder or CEO

Product ops is a highly visible role focused on finding the best ways for people to work together to create innovative products and delight their customers. To achieve this, product ops needs access to the right people and authority to make changes. Hence it’s essential to have the shortest possible communication and accountability path from product ops to the founder or to the company’s CEO. 

For larger enterprises, product ops might report to CPO or CIO but it has to be a member of the senior management team with significant decision power.

Focused on building the internal team for long-term success 

Product ops as a service is a temporary fix. Companies should always aim to build their core teams in-house. However, that’s not always possible. When product ops as a service come in and assess the situation they’ll have a clear list of activities to achieve their client’s goals. Part of those activities must be focused on building strong, empowered and self-sufficient internal teams to ensure long-term product success.
Product ops as a service are not there to stick or "know it all". No, they need to pass on their knowledge, create a culture of learning and make sure the organisation can continue operating at the highest level when they leave. 

It’s great when product ops as a service could build and train an internal product operations team to carry the torch of learning, innovation and product excellence. 

As a founder, CEO or CPO here is a simple checklist that could help you select the right product ops as service:

  • You know why you need product ops and what problems you want them to solve 
  • You know how long product ops will work with you and what they will deliver 
  • You know how much product ops will cost you 
  • Product ops report to you directly or another senior director in the company 
  • Product ops are building strong internal teams capable of replacing them going forward 

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