Shintaro Matsui (Head of Product Operations, Amplitude), and Timothy Chen (Senior Product Operations Manager, talabat), gave this talk at the Product Operations Summit in September 2022.


Hello everyone, my name is Shintaro Matsui.


And my name is Timothy Chen.


And we're super excited to be here today. A bit of background on this talk. Tim and I have actually known each other since college, and we both ended up leading product ops teams, which is really funny.

Oftentimes, Tim and I will just catch up and share challenges we're facing, and compare similarities and differences within the role. So we thought it’d be fun to have a similar kind of conversation, but share that with the broader group.

The other thing that's interesting is that Tim and I both started as a product ops team of one and have since scaled our teams to five. There’s been tonnes of lessons learned and mistakes along the way, but we want to share all of those with you today.

We're going to cover a wide gamut of topics. We'll chat through:

And I think all of this is within the lens of B2B versus B2C. What are the similarities? What are the differences and nuances? We’re going to dig into that.

Our paths to product ops


I did management consulting out of undergrad and did that for about four years. It mainly involved digital strategy, digital transformation, and types of engagements.

Then I moved to San Francisco to join Uber on their operations team, working on the Uber Eats business.

And then following IPO, I wanted to go somewhere a little smaller and a little scrappier, and saw this opportunity to build out a product ops team from scratch. At the time, I didn't know too much about product operations. I’d worked with the product ops team at Uber and it seemed like an interesting role. And now I've been at Amplitude for two years, building out the function.

As I'm thinking about my journey through product operations, my piece of advice is that there are so many different kinds of flavors to product operations, and if you're looking at breaking into the function, think about what kind of flavor most excites you. Is it launching new processes? Is it program management? Is it strategy and product planning? And then take that and apply it to your current role.

So if you're on an ops team, think about a process you could improve on and speak to that and highlight some of those skill sets as you're interviewing.


Similar to Shintaro, I also came from one of the ‘big four.’ I started my career at Ernst and Young in tax accountancy and was there for about two years. I then moved to a boutique strategic consultancy company specializing in the hospitality sector, called Savvy IQ.

My career in product ops didn't really start until my next role, which was at HelloFresh. Here, I had my first opportunity to scale a product ops arm, growing it from three people to 13 people in about two and a half years.

And it wasn't until 12 months ago that I made the move to Dubai, in the Middle East, where I’m now scaling a new product operations arm for talabat, which is a subsidiary of Delivery Hero worldwide.

My advice would also be coming from someone that's not originally from a tech background. If you can't apply any flavor in your current role, try to take on an external product ops sprint course to really show your commitment and interest to hiring managers.

Setting up team charters and focus areas


So once you've broken into the product ops field, how do you set up a team charter if you’re a team of one or if you're inheriting a team that might already have an existing charter? How do you go about thinking about that?

What I thought would be interesting would be to compare and contrast the charter we have for product ops at Amplitude versus talabat.

At Amplitude, our product ops team's mission is to:

Empower all teams to execute across the product lifecycle with clarity through processes, tools, insights, and communication.

The key word here that I like to emphasize is ‘clarity’ because when you have clarity, you're able to move quickly but in alignment with others and other cross-functional partners.

Oftentimes, people think of product ops and think of heavy-handed processes and programs. But really, our goal is to help people move faster and move in alignment with one another.

And that leads us to our three key focus areas:

  • Strategy and planning. Our team thinks about and drives annual, quarterly, and monthly planning for the product organization, as well as program management.
  • Building and launching. Thinking about tools, processes, and frameworks to launch and build products to market in a more effective way.
  • Voice of the customer. Thinking about our feedback loop and how we get those great nuggets of wisdom that our field is hearing back to our product team to execute and impact their product roadmap.

Given all of this, my advice would be to revisit your charter and focus areas quarterly. When I look at these now, they’re drastically different from when I was a team of one. So constantly be revisiting your charter, asking yourselves if you're solving the highest leverage problems for your company and product team, and then just solicit feedback and continuously iterate on them.

Tim, can you walk us through talabat’s product ops team's mission and focus areas?


So our mission is to:

Reduce lead time to value for all teams, enabling them to execute across the product development lifecycle with greater efficiency, clarity, and excellence.

The key phrase here for us is to ‘reduce lead time to value.’ This is because we're a lot more operationally heavy, in my opinion. I think it's all about speed and velocity, and therefore, lead time to value is really important here.

So what does that mean for us in terms of focus areas? Well, it translates into three things: alignment, lead time, and product value.

  1. Alignment. From an alignment perspective, an example of that would be drawing from the eight local markets that we operate in to implement these quarterly input collections. Do we have a full understanding of the full visibility and landscape of the local markets?
  2. Lead time. From a lead time perspective, this is your operations 101. So it's about taking these products to market and launching them. We experiment during these product launches.
  3. Product value. With product value, it's very much about: Are we building the right things? Are we continuing to do so?