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Why You Should Adopt a PRODUCT MOPs Framework

Posted January 10, 2022
Crissy Saunders

P.R.O.D.U.C.T.’s Inspiration

Crissy is the CEO and co-founder of CS2, commonly known as C2S Marketing. CS2 is a marketing ops agency that focuses on helping growth-stage companies set up their marketing ops function. Crissy is an old hand in this game, with more than ten years of experience in marketing ops. It occurred to her that many of the methodologies she observed product teams used could help mitigate some pain points in the marketing operations space.

“The P.R.O.D.U.C.T. MOPs method is a 7-part framework, and each part has its letter that forms the acronym. This method considers how product teams work and ties that to how marketing ops people can use the same principles. It also outlines how marketing ops can apply the method to the way their teams are run and how they approach their work to become more effective using their time and resources. Finally, it also deals with how marketing ops can better track their outcomes while focusing on continuous improvement.

product framework for mops

“The inspiration for the P.R.O.D.U.C.T. MOPs method developed over time. At CS2, we have a podcast and newsletter called Forward Thinking. One of our missions is to help our clients adopt practices to prioritize projects properly. This prioritization framework should be–and is meant to be–used in conjunction with a roadmap. Other key aspects of the framework include documentation, user experience, and tracking project results and outcomes.

“These are things we talk about on the podcast. We even did a LeanData workshop last year where we gave out templates for a roadmap. This covered how to prioritize and the importance of documentation. This year, we’re going to present LeanData again in another workshop.

“All agencies have different methodologies. It’s quite tactical for us because that’s the way we approach work and how we’ve set things up. I think what’s important for marketing ops leaders is figuring out how the whole team will approach the actual work. Most marketing ops folks tend to get stuck when determining what to work on. And then, how do they get their resources and teams tied back to that work?

“So we’ve had discussions with product leaders on how there are parallels between marketing ops and product teams like how their engineers are doing the tactical setup.”

A Rundown of the P.R.O.D.U.C.T. MOPs Framework

Crissy took the time to provide a breakdown of her framework, which can also be found on her company’s website.

product framework prioritization

“P is for prioritization, which kind of speaks for itself, and in marketing ops, we can build around it. Prioritization is key in whatever position we’re in as far as our internal and external users are concerned. There’s so much to do. There are boundless amounts of things that you can do with your teams.

“Prioritization is number one because if we don’t have a framework for doing that, there will always be chaos.”

product framework roadmap

“The next one that feeds into that is roadmap. This isn’t a list of priorities. It’s a robust description of what your team needs to achieve over time mapped to department and business objectives. 

“A prioritization model can be framed in such a way where you can be looking at gathering all the things that come your team’s way. We also recommend scoring your list of items. We’ve got a template we use where we score the request based on the feasibility of work to be done, what resources you need, and the impact. All of these things could be prioritized but tie them back to business objectives.

“If you can take a bunch of your priorities and tie them to a business objective, you’re essentially building a roadmap. The roadmap is like a shared artifact that your whole team can use to show the main projects we will be working on. Of course, there are going to be random things that might come up that you need to do. I would leave a 20% – 30% buffer for those, but your roadmap will show this is what we will be working on.

“A lot of times, we suggest that what’s on your roadmap should tie back to business objectives or even departmental objectives. Those departmental goals must tie back to the business goals.”

Crissy’s template is fantastic because project management tools can easily be configured to support it. When teams move from prioritizing what’s in their queue to looking at a roadmap, they’re moving to a more strategic mentality. In turn, this can earn you a lot of respect within the business because you’re no longer just a ticket-taker.

product framework objectives

“The next part is outcomes. A lot of times, people think so, ‘I’ve got a roadmap! I have a list of things I need to do.’ That’s not a roadmap. That’s simply a project list. It’s key to have your roadmap as a set of projects that are lined up with marketing or revenue teams’ objectives. But also tracking an outcome because your business has key outcomes that they are looking to achieve or improve.”

Tracking outcomes isn’t just about aligning with key business objectives, although that is very important. It’s about taking the time to measure the impact your team’s work is having on the business. While we’d love to say that marketing operations is always recognized and appreciated, it’s not always the case. Recording and socializing a conversion rate going up by a percentage point has a huge impact on the bottom line and will keep your team top of mind. (It also looks great on your resume!)

product framework documentation

“When you look at each task as a product feature rather than a stand-alone product, it’s easier to see why it’s essential to create customer-facing documentation. I recommend not creating customer-facing documentation after everything’s completed and tested. Starting that documentation from the beginning makes it easier to maintain it over time. When I think of internal users, I think of what documentation or what type of training is necessary to ensure the success of that feature. Don’t think about documentation only for technical purposes, but also to support your process and make it more effective for your internal user.”

Crissy also reminded us that documentation is a fantastic tool for deflecting time-consuming requests. Documenting why a process runs and when is a great tool to have on hand to send to people every time they have a question. And as someone who has managed territories, I can tell you the questions are never-ending.

product framework user experience

User-experience – this encompasses both the internal and external customer. 

User-experience is the next item. Marketing ops is unique because we have two sets of users to think of: internal and external users. The first is your stakeholders–the people you’re building these features or processes for. The external users are your customers. 

“Both of these groups need to be kept in mind to build the right features for each of them. It might be a feature that helps them do their work much better or something that helps improve the customer experience for the end-user. 

product framework continuous improvement

The only constant (in startups in particular) is change. Your requirements, objectives, and systems should evolve over time, which is why C stands for continuous improvement.

Adopting a feature mindset or thinking about operations tasks as building components of a bigger whole instead of stand-alone projects allows your team to remain open to revisiting and reiterating.

The feature mindset also allows a little bit of grace. Instead of shooting for perfection on each task, we put something good enough in place and revisit after receiving feedback. Speaking as someone who has agonized over a project only to find the department stopped using it nine months later when their process changed, hindsight often shows that overengineering is to be avoided at all costs.

product framework team coalition

“A team coalition is a group of people who have a shared incentive to see the outcome through and can work together. So, for marketing ops, you’re a very low resource team. Getting people outside your department invested in that outcome or that project for a long period means you can get people working together in a way that’s repeatable.

“In growth-stage companies, you have a certain set of outcomes that can’t be solved in a quarter and can’t be solved with one product feature. Forming a team is great. An opportunity to work on a goal or outcome you’ve been trying to improve for a long time is a great way to build relationships.

“The P.R.O.D.U.C.T. mindset works so well because, like a product’s features, our work has intended outcomes. This method gives us a different way to approach our work and get into the mentality of continuously improving upon what we’ve already done. That was our inspiration for developing this method.”

How To Get P.R.O.D.U.C.T. Buy-In

“If you’re lucky to have a MOPs team, you may start developing your team members into product managers. When I had teams in-house, I would align someone to a different cross-functional department. It helped them build rapport with that team, and they knew the ins and outs of that field. They started to build synergy with that team.

“They also get more comfortable working with that team. So you’re really building a relationship. And sometimes, you can even work to make the position a more enriching role for their career development.

“I think when you have a product management approach, you can say, ‘We’re going to tie that request back to these coalition teams or these outcomes.’ It will bring clarity and focus to the types of projects assigned to them. If it’s anything that supports a business outcome or the coalition team, it’s worth doing.“

For more details about the P.R.O.D.U.C.T. methodology, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.

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