Product #32

Product #32

Product Operations · Melissa Perri, Denise Tilles · 2023


Prior to this book coming out last month, there wasn’t a definitive Product Operations text. Product Ops was only loosely defined in blog posts and job descriptions. Finally we have a stake in the ground, something to reference, or even, something to disagree with.

Key Highlights

  • Product operations is the discipline of helping your product management function scale well. Surrounding the team with all of the essential inputs to set strategy, prioritise, and streamline ways of working
  • Product Operations has 3 core pillars:
    • Business and Data Insights
    • Customer and Market Insights
    • Process and Practices (a.k.a. the Product Operating Model)
  • Steps to implementing data & insight capability:
    • Understand what questions you need to answer to inform your product strategy
    • Determine which pieces of data you need to track to answer those questions
    • Identify which systems the data lives in and how to extract it manually
    • Create a baseline dashboard (by pulling data manually)
    • Automate the dashboard creation in a Business Tool
  • Revenue and cost analysis is a core part of the product operations process. You should be able to provide a product-centric view of bottom-line costs and top-line impact.
  • When teams have real-time data, they’ll be able to react quickly to customer feedback and market demands
  • Get the internal data you already have to product teams. Catalog the sources, contextualise the data and create a 360 view for Product Managers
  • Make it easier to do generative and evaluative research. Train more people to conduct research and make it easy to book interviews with users
  • Create a single research repository to make existing research accessible and reusable for all teams
  • Product Ops isn’t about creating process, it’s about increasing the quality and speed of decision making
  • A Product Operating Model Includes:
    • Roles and Responsibilities: job descriptions, career paths
    • Process: templates, discovery, roadmapping, tool stack, codified software development lifecycle
    • Guidelines for working with other teams: Idea management, release guidelines, GTM guidelines and setting expectations about the software development lifecycle
    • Governance and Annual Planning: Cadences and types of meetings, cross-functional touchpoints
  • Roadmaps are a communication tool. To figure out which ones are right for your company, think about your audience and what they need to know
  • There’s an always-tricky balance between governance and agility
  • Measure how people in your organisation perceive the value of product management
  • Start small, work with one team first, check the pain points, iterate and improve.
  • Think about the intersection of what Product Ops can do, and what’s most strategically important for the company

Full Book Summary · Purchase on Amazon


In the News

Open AI move out of startup mode and host their first glitzy keynote. Satya Nadella joins Sam Altman on stage to emphasise the Microsoft partnership.

  • GPT-4 Turbo is announced and there’s a bunch of improvements:
    • The API is getting 2.75x cheaper
    • The knowledge cutoff has come forward to April this year.
    • The context window is now large enough to upload a book 🔥
    • Multi-modal support with DALL-E 3, Vision and text-to-speech
  • You can now train your own chatbot, using nothing but natural language and sell usage on the GPT AppStore. It seems GPTs will replace plugins.

Watch the Keynote

Quick Links

  • Lenny rebranding the RICE prioritisation to DRICE by adding more detail · Paywall
  • TIME’s 200 best inventions of 2023 · Article
  • You need two mindsets to analyse data from experimental work and observation work · Article
  • Humane announce AI pin · Article · Video
  • Don’t watch Musk’s appearance at the UK governments AI safety summit. Here’s an alternative track on AI safety instead…
    • Interview with Shane Legg of DeepMind · Video
    • Interview with Dario Amodei of Anthropic (formerly safety at OpenAI) · Video
    • Animated book summary from Mustafa Suleyman of Inflection AI · Video
    • Summaries of the summit roundtable discussions · Article
  • AirBnB winter product release · Site

The Evaluation of Business Strategy · Richard Rumelt ·1980


Richard Rumelt is a professor of strategy, he’s been writing about strategy for more than 40 years. This paper as just as insightful as the book he wrote last year. Anything that resonates from a paper written 40 years ago will likely resonate forever.

Key Highlights

  • “It is impossible to demonstrate conclusively that a particular business strategy is optimal or even to guarantee that it will work. One can, nevertheless, test it for critical flaws….”
  • Rumelt suggests a strategy should fit with at least one of these criteria:
    • Consistency: The strategy must not present mutually inconsistent goals and policies.
    • Consonance: The strategy must represent an adaptive response to the external environment and to the critical changes occurring within it.
    • Advantage: The strategy must provide for the creation and/or maintenance of a competitive advantage in the selected area of activity.
    • Feasibility: The strategy must neither overtax available resources nor create unsolvable subproblems.
  • If not, treat it with skepticism.

View the Paper · More Product Management Papers


ReadWise Highlights

We need to gather data, both qualitative and quantitative, to better target our interventions and find realistic solutions for our users’ lives.

Stephen Wendel · Designing for Behaviour Change

Cheating on customer development is like cheating on your parachute-packing class. It’s not worth it.

Wes Bush · Product-Led Growth

One theme common to all of these failures, however, is that the decisions that led to failure were made when the leaders in question were widely regarded as among the best companies in the world.

Clayton Christensen · The innovator’s Dilemma


Follow Paul Adams

Paul Adams is the CPO of Intercom, they’re known for being a strong product organisation. I saw Paul speak at Turing Fest a while back… and he spoke about the importance of pace in Product Development. Since then, Intercom have embraced AI and are building great products on top of foundation models.

Follow Paul on X

A Question for you…

Do you have a single research repository in your organisation? Can you put your hands on research insights gathered outside of your immediate team? Are you making sure the outputs of your research can be consumed by others?

What I’m Listening to

Atmos Groove · Moon Resort Soon it is Tomorrow · HNNY