It was July 2021 when, in a 1:1 conversation with RD Station’s Chief Product Officer, Guilherme Lopes, I heard for the first time more deeply and practically the term “product operations.”

He told me that, faced with the company’s growth and the difficulties he had in tracking the product’s results with the business, he needed to create an area or a role for this new discipline. My name had been recommended by RD Station’s then Chief Revenue Officer, Juliana Tubino, who saw a presentation of mine and was positively surprised by the critical and analytical quality of the material.

“We are going to build something from scratch, in a new theme. It’s an opportunity to become a global reference,” was the challenge posed by Guilherme Lopes at that moment.

Without knowing exactly where I was headed, I believed in the challenge and accepted the invitation to study product operations and consider what this area should be within product and engineering at RD Station. That’s when I had my first contact with Product-Led Alliance.

Searching for free content about the discipline, I came across an eBook, “Rise Of Product Operations,” a study conducted with various companies around the world in 2021 about how the discipline was emerging in the most important product markets. This study laid the foundation for the analysis I've led to building the product operations area at RD Station. Based on it, I defined the key issues we needed to address as a tribe:

  • Difficulty in collecting business and product data that helps in making more reliable decisions, allowing the team to measure and generate actionable insights about the learnings.
  • Obstacles in communicating the company’s strategy with the R&D area, leaving some gaps in knowing where we want to go.
  • Tools, processes, and documentation that were inconsistent, causing some friction in the productivity and efficiency of the tribes and squads.
  • Showstoppers to the technical development of PMs, designers, and engineers.

Additionally, the study was important to establish the pillars that would guide the area, determine the teams that should be formed, and identify the profiles of professionals we wanted to have within these teams. It was an incredible and highly significant learning experience, particularly in shaping the product ops team.

Pillars of the Product Ops area at RD Station

In 2022, with the team formed based on the insights from PLA’s content, we began to find solutions to some of the problems I mentioned, which positioned the product ops tribe prominently within the company. The major achievement was establishing a robust and functional process for strategic planning within the product and engineering area.

This process was quite complex and consumed a significant amount of time from key leadership. Moreover, we faced challenges in demonstrating how our strategy influenced RD Station’s business model. This progress was pivotal in enabling us to better comprehend the product levers and brought much greater productivity to the teams in the area.

When comparing the product interventions we executed in the first semester of 2021 with those in 2022, we achieved a 16.6x increase in deliveries made. In the first half of this current year, that number grew by 1.9x, demonstrating that our team iterates and learns more rapidly about how the product can positively impact business outcomes.

Graph showing the progress in productivity of the Product and Engineering teams at RD Station since the creation of the Product Operations area.

We also structured a playbook on how to isolate factors and understand the causal relationship between product initiatives and business indicators. To achieve this, we employed a tool called the Metrics Tree,” which arranges the lagging and leading indicators, enhancing our proficiency in how the product can generate positive business impacts. As a result, we crafted improved OKRs, designed better goals, and drove teams effectively.

Example of Metrics Tree with financial and economic indicators at RD Station

Due to it being a relatively nascent discipline in Brazil, with a reasonably well-structured team and significant accomplishments already, we quickly began gaining prominence in the Brazilian and Latin American markets. We were invited to participate in prominent product podcasts in Brazil, such as Product Guru’s and PM3, and received invitations to share our story at major product events in the country. The highlight was undoubtedly the presentation on RD Station’s product ops case at the Brazilian edition of Product Camp, the largest product event in Latin America, which draws an audience of over 1,500 people.

Presentation in which we shared the story of RD Station’s product ops team with over 1,500 people at Product Camp Brazil.

In the first semester of 2023, with a year and a half of the product ops team operating at RD Station, the most exciting contribution from PLA to our team occurred. I was invited to submit our case as a presentation at the Product Ops Summit, an event organized by PLA and featuring key figures in the discipline from around the world. 

Our submission was accepted, and we presented our story in March 2023 in New York City. It was an amazing opportunity to converse with wonderful and extremely talented individuals like Diane Soler, Greg Bayer, Chris Butler, and Clare Hawthorne. 

I learned that the problems we were solving at RD Station were not very different from the challenges these companies faced. In other words, even within a short period of time, we had achieved a level of maturity that was interesting within the company. This reflected the highly positive response our story received at the event. I received a ton of positive feedback and very relevant questions about our progress with the area in the Brazilian market.

Since then, other invitations have arisen, opening doors to establishing great connections and learning from other companies worldwide. In April, we spoke at the Product Ops Festival, sharing insights on enhancing the skills of a Product Operations Manager and accelerating career development.

In September, I will speak again at the Product Ops Festival, this time discussing our recent Enablement initiative, which directly helps strengthen the skills of RD Station’s product professionals and aids them in achieving their goals. Additionally, we will delve further into understanding our product's positive impacts on the business at the San Francisco edition of the Product Ops Summit.

All these events provide fantastic opportunities to exchange insights, address common challenges, and reinforce the global product ops community. I feel privileged to have this wonderful connection with PLA and how it amplifies the impact of the product ops team at RD Station within the Brazilian market.

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