What is product ops?

Product operations, often abbreviated as product OPs, is a position within the product team that oversees the smooth communication and collaboration between the product department. It’s a cross-functional role that facilitates sharing resources and information to ensure effective and efficient processes. Often, the size of a company determines if it needs both a product operation manager and product operations team.

The primary purpose of product operation is to supervise communication, road mapping, market research, data analysis, strategy development, and coordination of the entire product team.

Roles of Product Operations

The role of product operations, either as a team or individual, falls into 5 or 6 categories.

Data Management

While a production manager or team will focus solely on producing a product, the product operation team or manager compiles data and analyzes it for other production team members. The analysis will touch on how products are used, user feedback, and additional insights about a product.

Collaboration and Strategic Planning

As a team with cross-functionality, product operations facilitate collaboration between different departments in an organization. Furthermore, it uses data to pinpoint where refinement is necessary then pushes for decisions that will bring growth.

Reliable Advisor

Since product operations manage data and work closely with the entire production team and other central departments, it usually has valuable information to help decision-makers. These stakeholders include the research and development team and chief production officer, among others, to execute their tasks.

Importance of a product OPs

It takes specific responsibilities off the shoulders of product managers, helping them focus more on building products that will satisfy consumers. Hence, product OPs take care of time-consuming tasks such that PMs can concentrate on more significant tasks.

Every business needs accurate data to develop and implement strategies for business growth. Product OPs are experts in data collection, analysis, processing, and interpretation. As a team, they know what type of data many departments need.

A product operations manager picks the suitable work and communication tools for effective collaboration between departments. Each department or team also gets the best software to execute their task efficiently. So, both team tools and collaborative tools are researched and recommended by product operations.

Product operations help the production team prioritize certain decisions based on data when it comes to implementing decisions. The production process must follow a pattern as certain things must come at different times. Product operations have to know what to implement first and what comes later.

Product Operations vs. Product Manager

Product operations and product managers are two different roles. The critical role of product managers centers around working on customer challenges and implementing feedback to make products better. The goal is to serve consumers better and meet their needs. For product operations, that focus is not external; instead, the focus is to take care of internal interests — this involves the different departments involved in the planning, production, and distribution stages.

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