That’s right. It’s time… the State of Product Ops report is here.

With more tools and data available than ever before, orgs can innovate faster than ever, but with opportunity comes challenge and a need to support scaling teams has been the catalyst for this new discipline.

Naturally, we wanted to find out more about this function touted as a 'must have' for any product-led organization.

We interviewed professionals from the field, to better understand the state of product ops, what the role entails, why it matters, and where it’s going.

We’ve uncovered key insights and data on everything from defining the role to what the future holds for the function. And we can’t wait to share the results.

Wanna dip your toe in before taking the full product ops plunge? Sure thing, check out some of the expert insights from the report below - you’ll have to download the full thing to explore more, though!

Q: What are the core skill sets that make up a product ops professional?

Marielle Velander, Product Operations Lead at Dashlane

A: These are some of the top skills I believe are valuable from my own experience:

  • Facilitation skills - in order to drive effective conversations between a range of stakeholders/functions and facilitate outcome-oriented meetings.
  • People/conversation skills - as a product ops you are constantly engaging with people and having conversations, so it helps to know how to effectively initiate a conversation, build strong relationships, and drive a conversation in a meaningful direction.
  • Analytical skills - you need to be able to analyze what the problems to solve are and effectively prioritize them, because otherwise the scope of product ops can get overwhelming.
  • Organizational skills - product ops is all about providing structure to the way our teams work, and it helps to have the urge to apply that to your own work (it’s no secret in my company that I love a beautifully designed table or spreadsheet, and one of the first things I did was reorganize our knowledge infrastructure simply because it bothered me).

Q: Is product ops a new function?

Sandra Juras, Senior Product Operations Manager at Freeletics

A: I would say that product ops did exist before, but not as a dedicated role. I think it was more something that a mix of ops-minded PMs and product leads took on, together with other ops-minded people that could naturally come from all across the company. I think this is also why we see that Product Ops right now is coming from so many different backgrounds. In its essence product ops does two things:

1) it helps companies scale.

2) it solves organizational problems around product management.

I think both of these problems have become bigger over the last years with the huge increase in product-led companies, as well as a lot of scale in these companies, which then require more formalized support to scale.

And whenever you have scaling issues, naturally someone who has an ops mindset will try to support this process, hence we saw people from bizops, customer support, product leadership, individual PMs, agile coaches & scrum masters, product coaches, sales, product marketing, (business) analysts, and so on and so forth taking on various aspects of this role.

Q: What kind of companies should invest in product ops?

Kevin Sakamoto, Director of Digital Product Operations at Dollar Shave Club

A: Any company that truly entrusts their Product Managers to try, fall, and fly should invest in Product Ops. Product discovery yields data points that Product Managers will eventually connect to illuminate the way towards success. This cultivation requires time and a safe environment that, while different across companies, are the responsibility of Product Operations to provide.

What are you waiting for? There’s so much more insight and info on POPs where this came from, take it all in.