In this #mtpcon SF+Americas 2022 Spotlight session, sponsored by Pendo, Christine Itwaru, Senior Director of Product Operations, and Rick Kadlac, Lead Product Operations Systems Manager, look at how to rethink delivery with product operations.
Watch this video or read on for key highlights from the talk.
Christine says that it’s time to rethink the approach to product delivery if an organisation is to be truly product-led. Being product-led requires everyone around the company to play a part in successful delivery and adoption of the product and its features. It means putting the product at the centre of the customer experience. Christine gives the example of Etsy as a business that successfully manages fast-moving updates. Rick comments that everyone wants to release products quickly but it needs the right infrastructure and organisational mindset.
Christine explains why product ops has become the orchestrator of product releases at Pendo. Product managers have a hard job, she says, and must be freed of work that distracts them from their mission to serve customers and meet business needs. The CPO has also become more of a critical stakeholder over the last 10 years, she adds, and they are passing some of their accountability down to their teams. Splitting out responsibility for product releases to product ops frees up product managers to “have healthier conversations around pain and innovation” with the right people. Pendo’s Product Ops acts as the connective tissue between Product, Customer Success and Engineering.
Christine then runs through some pains signals that have prompted businesses to invest in product ops. Common reasons are as follows:
- Lack of transparency
- Release and beta management
- Product training and enablement
- Product managers not able to focus on plan
Impact of product ops
Pendo’s 2021 survey, The State of Product Leadership, found that product managers were much more likely to recommend their chosen career path to a friend if their organisation had a product ops team.
Rick then looks at product ops responsibilities. Iterative releases are a sweet spot he says, with new releases first going to internal stakeholders, then to a limited beta release, then to an open beta release, and then finally to general availability. Product ops is really strong at assessing whether the product is ready to move to the next stage, he says.