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Product operations predictions for 2023 that might actually come true

It’s December, which means that it’s time for predictions about what’s going to happen in the new year. Product-Led Alliance shared a number of product operations leaders’ predictions for 2023, including things like more companies adding product ops as a separate function, consolidation of the definition of product ops, and increased resources to product operations.

I have been thrilled to see prodOps getting substantial attention. And while I think that we will see more companies investing in it over time, you hear a very different story when you talk to product leaders generally versus people who are already in product operations roles. Here’s the honest truth: the majority of companies don’t have formal product operations roles right now, and won’t be adding them in 2023 either.

No product operations? You’re not alone

Product operations is a new specialization, taking responsibilities that have traditionally belonged to product management leadership and formalizing them in the org structure. That means that product operations is relevant to every product organization, because every company has product operations, whether they know it or not.

Whether that company is any good at prodOps is a different question. Nonetheless, since every company is doing product operations, many don’t see the need to separate out and invest in specialized staff. And especially for smaller teams, if a product leader has to choose between adding another full-stack PM or a prodOps professional, they’ll almost always choose the PM.

The rise of frameworks and training

Even though most teams won’t add a formal ProdOps role, we are going to be seeing more and more teams thinking about ProdOps as a discipline that deserves its own frameworks and approaches. Product management leaders will bring these frameworks into their own day-to-day work, taking advantage of the thought leadership coming out of the companies that have invested in separate product operations teams.

With that, we’ll see material designed to train product leaders in how to improve product operations within their own companies. Whether online courses, videos, books, or articles, 2023 will be the year we see hockey-stick growth in the volume of material.

Fractional support and consulting

More companies will decide to invest in product operations as a result. They’ll test the waters by bringing on short-term support. We will see an increase in fractional product operations teams or product operations consultants available to support product leaders for less than a full-time hire as the leaders think about how they want to improve their teams’ efficiency. They will choose one of a few paths: getting an outside product operations assessment, coaching, attending trainings, or bringing someone in-house for a few months.

What are your predictions?

With tech companies trying to go leaner in 2023, every product management team will be trying to accomplish more with a smaller group of people. This creates a perfect opportunity for product operations to gain a deeper foothold in these organizations, as it helps teams do more with less.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on where these trends will take us! Shoot me a message and share your 2023 product operations predictions.