As a Product Operations leader, your key responsibility is to streamline operations and foster cross-functional collaboration. This can be challenging in larger organizations where aligning teams with different objectives is a struggle. However, adopting a customer-centric approach helps overcome these challenges by aligning your business strategy with stakeholder needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore how a customer-centric approach drives streamlined operations and successful cross-functional collaboration.
When leading highly cross-functional projects, it’s important to be aware of the size and complexity of the organization and the product(s) involved, as well as the specific challenges faced by the organization. For example, I once faced a challenge leading a highly cross-functional project across senior leadership, legal, and HR to quickly generate and evaluate design options for a future state of a long-running program.
This program had a lot of visibility to stakeholders internally and externally, and there was sensitivity around potential reputational and legal risks if not managed effectively. To address this challenge, I conducted a comprehensive analysis of the existing program using sprint and prioritization frameworks, which gave me an extensive knowledge of cross-functional team dynamics across HR, legal, finance, and engineering. From there, I was able to propose a strategy that aligned with our overall business objectives and influenced leadership alignment, accelerating progress towards a solution.
Once a decision was made, the next step was to showcase the vision to relevant stakeholders to gain buy-in and alignment. This requires leveraging the resources available to you, such as budget, staffing, and tools. As a Product Operations leader, it’s important to bring teams together by working closely with cross-functional teams. This includes designing incentive structures with clear value exchanges to ensure alignment on the strategy, and defining measurable goals based on desired business outcomes.
The last stage is implementation, which can be challenging without the right resources and tools. As a Product Operations leader, your role is to enable teams to execute across the desired business goals. This could include developing policies and procedures to help lead teams through business transformation or creating a communication strategy to manage the narrative and bring internal and external stakeholders along. Ultimately, the goal is to strike the right balance between providing value to your stakeholders while achieving your business objectives. In the case of this example, through aligning on the desired business goals, the team was able to achieve 30% improvement in efficiency while also mitigating reputational, legal and business risks.
In conclusion, cross-functional collaboration is crucial for any Product Operations leader, and a customer-centric approach is key to achieving successful collaboration. By understanding stakeholder needs and preferences, proposing a strategy that aligns with business objectives, showcasing the vision to stakeholders, and enabling teams to execute, you can streamline product operations and achieve desired business outcomes.