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What does Product Operations focus on at your company?

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Clare Hawthorne
Clare Hawthorne
Oscar Health Senior Director, Product OperationsMarch 22

My “north star” vision for the Product Operations team is to “unlock Oscar’s ability to ship more product, better and faster.” While this is a pretty broad statement, I want to highlight a few elements.

  1. Product Operations is not a function to make the life of a Product Manager better or easier. We do not “support” Product Managers. Our focus is unlocking Oscar’s capacity to ship software. In our context, this means that Product Ops focuses on the goals and delivery of our engineering pods. If there are opportunities to increase efficiency of engineering or design, those are on the table.
  2. Product Operations adds value in a few different ways. Here are a few examples:
  • Ship more product - We can maximize the time each member of the pod is spending at their “highest and best use.” This may mean that Product Ops takes on execution oriented work while we advocate for automation or create an operational process.
  • Ship product better - We can improve product quality by ensuring that we follow necessary testing protocols, or ensure downstream teams are fully enabled before product releases.
  • Ship product faster - We can create efficiencies by building repeatable processes and playbooks, both for ourselves and for other stakeholders.

In real life, this might manifest as a Product Ops Manager taking on the product launch process for a particular pod, which frees up capacity from the Product Manager and the Tech Lead (ship more product). Product Ops can ensure that their operational counterparts have visibility into the feature work and are communicated about launches in a timely manner (ship products better). Product Ops then codifies this improvement by creating a product launch checklist for themselves and other feature teams, thus avoiding “recreating the wheel” for each team (ship products faster).

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