Understanding Product Operations


Creating value for customers and driving business growth is paramount in product management. However, Product Managers are often burdened with operational tasks that take away valuable time and energy from strategic activities.

This is where Product Operations, or ProductOps, comes into play. In this article, we will explore the concept of Product Operations, its benefits, potential challenges, and how it can empower Product Managers to focus on creating the most value for customers and businesses. By balancing operational efficiency and strategic innovation, organisations can maximise their potential for success.

Are you a Product Operations specialist? Has your organisation implemented ProductOps? If so, I’d love to hear from you and hear your stories on what went well, what didn’t, and what you’d do differently in the future – email me directly at mike@mike-dixon.com.

What is Product Operations?

Product Operations, or ProductOps, is a strategic function that shares similarities with DevOps in its objective and philosophy.

ProductOps encompasses a range of activities, including streamlining workflows, defining processes, driving data-driven decision-making, managing tools and technologies, and ensuring efficient communication and collaboration.

While DevOps focuses on operational challenges to enable software engineers to focus on writing good software, ProductOps aligns people, processes, and technology to optimise product management efforts. It acts as a bridge between product management, development, marketing, and other cross-functional teams.

Not all organisations have a dedicated DevOps team; ProductOps can be approached similarly. Instead of establishing a separate Product Operations team, organisations can empower their Product Managers to streamline their work and share their learnings with their peers, benefiting the entire organisation.

If the conditions are right, establishing Product Operations as a dedicated function within an organisation, much like DevOps in a software development context, companies can unlock the full potential of their Product Managers and drive sustainable growth.

Is Product Operations for Every Organisation?

While the benefits of Product Operations are considerable, it is essential to note that there might be better fits for some organisations.

Like many strategic functions, Product Operations can provide the most value in organisations with mature product practices where specific operational challenges may be inhibiting the performance of Product Managers.

When an organisation is discovering or refining its product management principles, introducing Product Operations might add more complexity than streamline processes. The focus should be on first establishing a strong product management foundation.

However, for organisations with mature product practices, Product Operations can play a pivotal role in operationalising and automating a lot of the busy work that takes away from the core responsibilities of Product Managers.

A mature product organisation often has well-defined processes, clear product strategies, and an established product culture. However, operational tasks can still become time-consuming or unwieldy due to the complexities of scale.

It is in these scenarios where Product Operations can truly shine. By handling the operational burdens and optimising workflows, ProductOps frees Product Managers and technology teams to focus on higher-value activities such as strategic planning, innovation, and customer value.

Therefore, while Product Operations can be a powerful strategic function, organisations should consider their current product maturity level before evaluating the need to establish a ProductOps function.

Regardless of an organisation’s product maturity, the ultimate aim should be to ensure that Product Managers can focus on what they do best – creating outstanding products that deliver value to customers and drive business growth. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we will dive into real-world examples of ProductOps.

Navigating the Product Management Labyrinth: Strategies for Aspiring UK Product Leaders in Prioritisation

In the ever-evolving landscape of product management, aspiring leaders often find themselves caught in a whirlwind of tasks and responsibilities.

The demands of stakeholders, the need to connect with customers, hypothesis creation, engineering team support, and participation in various agile ceremonies can overwhelm even the most dedicated product manager.

The key to success lies in the art of effective prioritisation.

This article aims to guide aspiring UK product leaders in navigating the complexities of their roles, helping them regain control of their time, focus on the right tasks, and achieve impactful outcomes.

Embrace Strategic Vision

To overcome the challenges of prioritisation, aspiring product leaders must adopt a strategic mindset. This begins with setting clear objectives that align with the overarching business goals. Understanding the ‘why’ behind your tasks provides a solid foundation for making informed decisions about where to invest your precious time and energy.

Harness the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is a venerable tool for prioritisation. Categorise tasks into four quadrants: Urgent and Important, Important but Not Urgent, Urgent but Not Important, and Neither Urgent nor Important. By concentrating on tasks in the “Important but Not Urgent” quadrant, you can prevent crises and allocate time for strategic planning.

Utilise the RICE Framework

The RICE framework (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) offers a systematic approach to evaluating potential initiatives. Assign scores to each component and prioritise projects based on their RICE score. This method ensures that your efforts are focused on projects with a high potential for impact while minimising distractions.

Mastery of Delegation

One of the hallmarks of effective leadership is recognising that you don’t have to handle everything yourself. Delegating tasks that can be managed by others frees up your time for high-priority responsibilities. Effective delegation empowers your team and guards against burnout.

Set SMART Goals

The SMART goal-setting technique (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) provides a structured framework for defining objectives. Break down larger goals into smaller, actionable tasks that are aligned with your strategic vision. This approach enhances clarity and keeps you on the path to success.

Prioritise Customer Insights

While engaging with customers is a crucial aspect of successful product management, it’s important to focus on gathering insights that directly impact your current objectives. Selective customer interactions ensure you remain customer-centric without becoming overwhelmed by excessive feedback.

Adopt Agile Time Management

Just as Agile methodologies drive product development, they can also guide time management. Implement practices like time-boxing and regular retrospectives to continuously refine and optimise your approach to prioritisation.

Mitigate Meeting Fatigue

Meetings are essential for collaboration, but an excess of meetings can drain valuable time and productivity. Evaluate the necessity of each meeting and explore alternatives like concise status updates or asynchronous communication to alleviate the burden.

Embrace the 2-Minute Rule

Tasks that take less than two minutes to complete should be tackled immediately. This rule prevents minor tasks from accumulating and consuming your mental resources.

Regularly Review and Adapt

Prioritisation is an ongoing process. Dedicate time each week to review your goals, tasks, and progress. Adjust your priorities as necessary, considering changing circumstances, emerging opportunities, and new insights.

Seek Feedback and Mentorship

Don’t hesitate to seek feedback from peers, mentors, or seasoned product leaders. Their valuable insights can provide fresh perspectives on your prioritisation strategies and offer suggestions for improvement based on their wealth of experience.


Becoming a successful product leader is a journey filled with challenges, but with effective prioritisation strategies in place, aspiring UK product managers can confidently navigate the complexities of their roles.

By embracing strategic vision, using powerful frameworks, mastering delegation, and staying customer-focused, these managers can rise above the daily chaos and concentrate on tasks that truly matter. Through these strategies, aspiring product leaders can confidently lead their teams towards innovation and success, impacting the products they create and the businesses they serve.