How is Product Operations organized at Oscar Health?
Great question! As I’ve spoken to other Product Operations leaders, I’ve found that the team structure and role varies widely from company to company. Coming into Oscar Health, I initially assumed I would organize my team around different skills sets – data & analytics, product enablement, etc. – but ultimately, that structure didn’t address the business need for having deep domain expertise within Product Ops.
After a few different experiments, we decided that most of the Product Ops team would be embedded within 2-3 engineering pods. (Overall we have roughly 40 engineering pods and generally each has 1 Product Manager.)
By embedding within the pods, Product Ops feels invested in the goals and success of their pod-mates. This focus also allows Product Ops to learn their domain area deeply, rather than working with more pods at a surface level. About 85% of our roles are of this type and it’s a mix of Associate Product Ops Managers and Product Ops Managers.
However, this structure doesn’t address activities that impact all pods – such as our roadmapping process or our monthly product release communication. For our first year (2021), we federated these activities across several different people. In 2022 we’re hiring for a dedicated Product Ops Process Improvement Manager to take on these activities and implement process improvements.
Over time, I see these roles working in a very complementary way – the embedded Product Ops Managers can surface things that are working well (or things that are broken) to the Process Improvement Manager. And when the Process Improvement Manager wants to test a new process they can work with an embedded Product Ops Manager to pilot their ideas before ultimately leveraging the full Product Ops team for implementation.