What is Product Operations? How is it Different From Product Management?

What is Product Operations? How is it Different From Product Management? | Product Management | Emeritus

Product management and product operations play critical roles in the success of a business. The former is vital for aligning product development with customer needs, defining product strategy, and making informed decisions to maximize the product’s value and market fit. On the other hand, product operations focus on the efficient execution of product-related processes.

Indian companies like Flipkart and Zomato have demonstrated excellence in product management and product operations. Flipkart, for instance, has a product management team that prioritizes understanding customer needs, improving user experience, and driving innovation. Meanwhile, its product operations team ensures the smooth execution of product-related processes, including order fulfillment, logistics management, and customer support. This cohesive approach contributes to customer satisfaction and overall business growth.

Although product management and product operations may have variations in their functions and responsibilities, they work hand in hand to develop and deliver successful products to the market. Let’s understand what product operation is and how it is different from product management.

What is Product Operations?

Best courses product managementThe main objective of a product team is to build products that meet customer needs and delivers value. However, as a company grows, they start building multiple products and adding several features and functionalities, making it more and more complex. This is where the product operations team comes into role.

Product operations, or product ops, is an operational function that focuses on optimizing the collaboration between product, engineering, and customer success teams. It plays a crucial role in improving alignment, communication, and processes related to the product.

ALSO READ: Who is Operations Manager?

Why are Product Operations Necessary for Delivering Successful Products?

While product operations may not be necessary for small businesses, they become essential as a business grows and expands its product offerings. This is when having a dedicated product operations manager becomes crucial. By having a product operations team, product managers can focus on their core responsibilities while being informed and supported by the product ops team.

The primary advantage of having a product operations team is the time-saving aspect for product managers. Initially, product managers may have been responsible for handling both low-level and high-level tasks. However, a product ops team is provided with the necessary data and insights to make informed decisions. This empowers product managers to concentrate on crucial aspects such as product development, improvement, and launch.

By offloading operational tasks to the product ops team, product managers can fully dedicate themselves to driving innovation and delivering valuable products to the market. The product ops team provides valuable information and insights, enabling product managers to make informed decisions that align with business goals and customer needs. In essence, the product operations team enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the product management function, allowing product managers to focus on their core job and drive the product’s success.

What are Some Common Product Operations Strategies Used in the Industry?

Product operations teams weren’t a thing until recently. Gradually, the importance of having a team that can streamline operations, address customer feedback, and analyzes performance metrics has started gaining importance. This team has helped businesses gain a competitive edge, increase customer satisfaction, and drive revenue growth. Let’s shed some light on the strategies operations management teams use to drive successful businesses.

Process Standardization

Implementing standardized processes and workflows to ensure consistency, efficiency, and quality throughout the product development lifecycle.

Metrics and KPI Tracking

Defining and tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure product performance, identify areas for improvement, and drive data-informed decision-making.

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Facilitating collaboration and communication between product, engineering, marketing, sales, and other cross-functional teams to align goals, share insights, and ensure smooth coordination.

ALSO READ: A Comprehensive Guide to Operations Management: 10 Key Principles

Data Analysis and Insights

Leveraging data analytics to extract meaningful insights, identify trends, and make informed decisions to drive product strategy and enhancements.

Continuous Improvement

Establishing a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging feedback and implementing changes to enhance production and overall efficiency.

Stakeholder Engagement

Actively engaging with stakeholders, including product managers, executives, and customers, to gather requirements, address concerns, and ensure product goals and strategy alignment.

Tooling and Automation

Evaluating and implementing tools, technologies, and automation solutions to streamline processes, enhance productivity, and optimize production.

Documentation and Knowledge Management

Establishing robust documentation practices to capture product requirements, specifications, and lessons learned.

Customer-Centric Focus

Emphasizing understanding and meeting customer needs by incorporating user feedback, conducting market research, and employing user-centered design principles.

Agile Methodologies

Applying agile principles and frameworks like Scrum enables iterative development, adaptability, and rapid response to changing market dynamics.

ALSO READ: What are the Roles and Responsibilities of Operations Manager

How do Product Operations Differ From Product Management?

Product ManagementProduct management primarily concerns a product’s strategic planning and development throughout its lifecycle.

Suppose a company wants to develop a new mobile app; the product manager will conduct market research to understand customer preferences, gather requirements from stakeholders, define the features and functionalities of the app, create a roadmap outlining the development milestones, and collaborate with the engineering and design teams to deliver the app to the market.

Product operations focus on the operational aspects of managing and supporting a product throughout its lifecycle.

Once the mobile app is launched, product operations professionals will monitor its performance, analyze user data, and generate reports on key metrics such as user engagement, conversion rates, and customer feedback. They may identify areas for improvement, coordinate with customer support to address user issues and collaborate with the product management team to prioritize feature enhancements based on user feedback and data insights.

What are the Day-to-Day Responsibilities of a Product Operations Manager?

  • Coordinating and facilitating cross-functional collaboration between product, engineering, and customer success teams
  • Streamlining and optimizing product-related processes and workflows
  • Gathering and analyzing data to provide insights for informed decision-making
  • Ensuring effective communication and alignment across teams
  • Monitoring and tracking KPIs to measure product success
  • Identifying and addressing operational inefficiencies
  • Supporting product managers with data, insights, and resources
  • Managing and maintaining documentation of product-related processes and standards
  • Collaborating with stakeholders to gather requirements and prioritize product initiatives
  • Driving continuous improvement and operational excellence within the product operations function

Learn More About Product Operations With Emeritus

Product management courses from Emeritus provide a blend of theoretical concepts and practical insights, enabling learners to understand real-world challenges and apply effective product management techniques.

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Yashvi is a dynamic content creator with 5+ years of experience crafting content for global brands, specializing in tech, finance, and healthcare sectors for both B2B and B2C audiences. Her diverse knowledge base empowers her to create meticulously researched, value-packed content for the EdTech sector, catering to various audiences. In her downtime, she explores the realms of mental well-being, reflecting her holistic approach to personal and professional growth and deepening her empathy for her audience's pain points and needs.
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