As a new discipline, product operations comes with a lot of ambiguity and different definitions depending on the company context.
For many, it's a one-person team, and you can end up juggling multiple things simultaneously. However, in the journey of learning about product operations, I’ve also discovered what I believe are valuable lessons of what not to do in it.
Don’t be a stranger!
Know your product managers and engage with them.
If you first land in product operations, the very first thing is to know your customers, the product managers. Besides learning about their pain points, it is vital to understand how they work, their workflows, and frameworks, which will give you a better understanding of the why behind any request or issues you want to solve.
Build a good relationship with them, get a partner in crime, but take the effort to know who you will be delivering solutions to. We are lucky that our customers are just one slack message away, and we can get instant feedback when we need it.
Don’t work in silo and evangelize your work
If you are a one-person team like me, you might feel lonely sometimes for not having a team or a squad, no worries, we share the same feeling, and when we feel lonely, we tend to be more introspective, and we stop sharing.
Please don’t do that, be loud, share your work with compelling stories that people can remember. You will be surprised how much people need us and how much they want to collaborate to improve things.
The more you share your work, the more engagement you will get. As the opportunity allows, include others in the development of your work. Doing so helps with alignment, and those involved in development will further evangelize your efforts.
Don’t assume, validate your ideas with experiments
Same as the product managers run experiments to validate solutions, we can do the same in product operations. Let’s stop assuming things and run experiments even if it is a meeting we want to introduce and we are unsure. Let’s go for it and see how it goes, but assuming without trying leads to analysis paralysis, take it from me.
Don’t expect fast impact or changes overnight
Building solutions for a product team to be more efficient and effective takes time, don’t expect fast changes overnight. You will go through different iterations until you find what works best for your team and context.
As product operations managers, we enable decision-making, and we also depend on others to make things happen. I’ve learned that being patient is highly appreciated because the rewards come later. Also, don’t forget to keep track of every change you make. Small changes over time compound, and you’ll be amazed at the progress made when zooming out.
Don’t overthink, just put things out there
There are many pros and cons in product operations, but one thing is true, we work with many opinionated people, and we all want what we think is best. Still, we have insights from every corner. Let’s use that and help make decisions; if not, we can make the decisions ourselves.
We have a 360 view with powerful data that can make a significant impact, let’s put it out there. One thing about product operations is that we can break more things as it if we were building products for external customers, let’s take advantage of that
Don’t be so hard on yourself
Come one, give yourself more credit!
Let’s face it, in product operations, you deal with everything from big projects and last-minute requests, and you might feel overwhelmed if you are like me with impostor syndrome. Compared to product management, the product operations discipline is still nascent (though for those of us in it, we might feel otherwise).
There are no luminaries, no books, no courses on product ops yet. However, there is a strong community right here at the Product-Led Alliance. So don’t be afraid to reach out.
Join the dedicated #productops channel by becoming a member of the thriving Slack community.