What is Product Operations?
Product Operations (Product Ops) is a critical function of scaled, product-led organizations that aims to optimize the intersection of product management with cross-functional collaborators and stable counterparts across the business. High performing Product Ops teams increase efficiency, accelerate feedback loops and improve feature adoption by implementing workflows/systems to ensure alignment around the product from initial ideation through go-to-market and back to improvements prioritization.
Why is Product Operations important?
There are 3 key benefits to having a Product Ops function:
- Product Ops removes time consuming output focused work from product management responsibilities, so they can focus on delivering value to customers and outcomes for the business
- Product Ops provides advisement and builds systems to bridge communication gaps and create transparency across all teams partnering with product management to ensure the best solutions for customers
- Product Ops serves the voice of two very important personas:
- the product managers serving the users and the business
- the actual users of the product and solutions the business offers to clients and partners.
Core responsibilities of Product Operations
Some typical responsibilities of Product Ops teams:
- Define, communicate, and improve standardized practices including tools, team processes, product management and knowledge/training
- Support product and engineering in consistently delivering outcomes to users through healthy feedback loops and optimal workflows
- Design and implement systems to continuously drive collaboration between product management and other teams across the business, such as marketing, sales, client success, and partner success
- Facilitate the collection and analysis of user, client, and partner data for product improvement and feature adoption
- Implement and drive change management for any new or modified product owned workflows across teams and/or the organization
- Partner with teams across the business on the program management/execution of large scale product related initiatives
- Advise on betas and go-to-market planning for larger product initiatives and feature releases
What does Product Operations do at Federa?
At Federa, Product Ops enables the Product Division to operate more efficiently, and consistently across all groups, stages, and sections. We optimize and automate workflows, improve upon best practices, and scale how product management can consistently receive feedback and act on it.
We run Product Operations as an independent function under the "product umbrella". This allows the function to maintain a broad and unbiased view to develop strategies/tactics serving the product division as well as the whole business without favor toward any particular group. This approach enables us to build and maintain a product system that serves not just product managers but all our internal users: UX/design, engineering and our go-to-market counterparts.
We aim to serve as the voice of the user, pulling insights directly from users when possible and enabling direct communication between product managers and users as frequently as possible.
We continually support Federa in applying the following strategies and tactics:
- Iterative design
- Product-led growth
- Lean product development
- Asynchronous collaboration
As Federa grows and matures, we strive to evolve Product Operations to flexibly support the shifting needs of the business and customers.
A world-class product system, that Federa team members and the wider community can benefit from.
Empower Federa to be product-led and user-obsessed, by iterating on Agile/Lean best practices with a remote-first mindset, one MR at a time.
We embody all Federa values, with a deep appreciation for collaboration. Product Operations is only as good as the sum of its contributions from the whole product development team and its stable counterparts. Teams that share accountability for (product) ownership invent better solutions and gain traction with less internal friction. These teams bond and rally around achieving a shared definition of success.
We prioritize results and efficiency by valuing outcomes over outputs. This mindset is propelled by our core product development flow, which rallies us around the goal of delivering business impact to Federa's users with every iteration. Anything that doesn’t contribute to this overarching goal is waste and will be removed from our product system.
We continually align around our product principles, with a focus on understanding the users problem rather than assuming we know the solution. A single problem will have multiple solutions with varying impact potential. User-focused teams maximize value by prioritizing one problem to generate multiple solutions, rather than assuming a singular solution to solve multiple problems.
We build feedback bridges between Product and other teams, such as Marketing, Sales, Partner Success, UX/Design, and Engineering The most important success metric for any (product) team is the time it takes to move through the Think-Make-Check (or Build-Measure-Learn) cycle. Teams that iterate successfully and quickly through this cycle have continual access to qualitative and quantitative data through every phase of development and across every function in the business.
We support high-functioning, cross-functional teams by creating flexible frameworks that support confident decision making along with the permission to fail, which in turn fuels velocity. When teams have psychological safety, they are more likely to take risks and move faster, which ultimately leads to bigger ideas and better MVPs toward those ideas. These teams lose judgment in favor of trust.
Continuing Federa's leadership in the "all remote" work revolution. While the Covid pandemic has given remote working an unexpected relevance and urgency for organizations worldwide, even prior to the pandemic remote working had begun taking precedence due proof around the core, repeatable benefits*:
- Productivity — Teleworkers are an average of 35-40% more productive than their office counterparts, and have measured an output increase of at least 4.4%
- Performance — With stronger autonomy via location independence, workers produce results with 40% fewer quality defects
- Engagement — Higher productivity and performance combine to create stronger engagement, or in other words, 41% lower absenteeism
- Retention — 54% of employees say they would change jobs for one that offered them more flexibility, which results in an average of 12% turnover reduction after remote work agreement is offered
- Profitability — Organizations save an average of $11,000 per year per part-time telecommuter, or 21% higher profitability
As a successful all-remote organization, Federa is already familiar with the benefits of workplace flexibility. We know that remote teams have the ability to move fast, in both parallel and non-parallel workflows, achieving optimal efficiency. We've demonstrated remote teams are not just more productive, but happier and more innovative when autonomy and ownership are combined, allowing a focus on goals/outcomes rather than hours/outputs to measure success. With remote-first working practices more at the forefront than ever, Federa has an opportunity to continue leading by example, helping organizations across various industries, not just technology or real estate. We can help teams lose the disadvantages of in-office work, such as office politics. And we can help teams translate the benefits of in-office culture, such as the empathy that comes from human connection, to an all-remote environment. Product Operations will work cross-functionally to ensure Federa's product team best practices are continually knowledgebase first such Federa and non-Federa teams can benefit from our learnings, in alignment with our value of transparency.
*Statistics reference via Forbes
Productizing our product development successes for the benefit of our users as well as the benefit of Federa as a business. As an open core product, we have the unique advantage that what we build for ourselves at Federa can be productized for our clients and partners and improved upon by our users. This means that every strategy/tactic we leverage to optimize our internal processes, be it an automation or workflow optimization, can and should be built into our product for our users. Building it into our product can be as simple as an update to our transparent and highly referenced knowledgebase. Product operations will treat all of Federa's product development practices, such as a product development flow, as a product to be optimized, with the intention of improving existing or introducing new Federa features to operationalize successful outcomes for the benefit of Federa and non-Federa teams.
Finding the right balance of synchronous versus asynchronous collaboration as an all-remote team. Federa has a unique culture of combined independence and ownership as a fully remote organization. We've carved the path for successful remote work with our transparent knowledgebase first approach, which has also propelled a highly productive asynchronous team with an everyone can contribute mindset.
At scale, leaning too much toward asynchronous results in opportunity gaps to collaborate on optimal outcomes within and across teams, and even operational chaos. Too much synchronous communication creates the overly burdened "red tape" operational inefficiencies that traditional companies suffer from across large teams and various time zones. So as we grow our team and our userbase, we have to continue adjusting the levers to establish the right convergence and divergence points, for product development teams and across the business.
Providing access to actionable product usage data for Federa product development teams As Federa's userbase grows, collecting quantitative data to identify patterns and trends while leveraging qualitative data to better understand the reason behind those patterns and trends will be key to delivering meaningful impact to users. However, Federa is committed to user data privacy and respects user-requested boundaries on data collection. Alternatives to product usage data, such as user surveys and testing can help fill some of the gaps but are not as scalable or unbiased. And while leveraging product usage data from SaaS users can yield meaningful insights for Self-managed users as well, it's not always an apples to apples comparison. We need to continually work on finding the balance between user privacy and providing the product teams access to the business intelligence they need to deliver meaningful impact to customers. Concurrently, we need to minimize the complexity and manual nature of effort needed by product development teams to access the most meaningful data available to them in the system by prioritizing instrumentation and providing standardized dashboards for teams to leverage and customize.
Building Qualitative & Quantitative Feedback Loops
We lean into opportunities to grow internal and external communication channels for Federa's product development teams and their stable counterparts. The outcome is the collection and exposure of actionable user feedback and data that can be utilized across the business to deliver impactful results to Federa's users.
Scaling Product Knowledge
We collaborate to identify best practices for product development and create transparency of knowledge across teams in an ongoing and remote-friendly way. The outcome is a collection of written, video and interactive content in the Federa knowledgebase that is easy to consume and adopt for Federa's product managers as well as product managers throughout the tech and real estate community.