What about the other areas?

Operations

The operations area is responsible for maintaining the product. For online products, ops is responsible for ensuring that all the infrastructure is available and with good performance.

  1. The product must have a good performance: Each customer request to the product must respond in less than X seconds. The definition of this X is the performance definition of this product. It is important to know that X is not an integer; it can and ideally should be a fractional number less than 1 (for example, the product must answer requests within 0.3 seconds). Different product features may have different performance expectations.
  2. The product should be available for use as long as possible: This is the SLA (Service Level Agreement), defined as a percentage number, for example, 99.9%. This number can be measured in a day, month or year. Within a month, 99.9% availability means 43.2 minutes of unavailability, while 99.5% means 3 hours and 36 minutes of unavailability. When we look at the availability of a product, we must take into account two factors. (1) Frequency of problems: the time between each outage. Imagine that your product has 99.9% availability, which means a maximum of only 43.2 minutes per month of unavailability. If this unavailability happens on a particular day for 1 minute every 10 minutes, this means the product will be unstable for more than 7 hours that day. There is an operational metric that should be tracked that helps to measure the frequency of problems. This is MTBF, or mean time between failures. (2) Duration of the problem of unavailability or malfunction: here the rationale is simple. If there is a problem with the product, the problem should last as little time as possible. There is also an operational metrics that must be tracked that helps you measure the duration of the problems. This is MTTR, or mean time to resolve, or average time to resolve.

Customer support

Ideally, your product does not require phone, chat, or email customer service. This is what we call no-touch or low-touch products. However, as much as you work with UX to make this true, there will always be customers who want to talk to someone at your company for some reason related to your product. Therefore, you should prepare your customer support team to talk to your customers and to solve their problems.

Legal

Your business legal area can be internal, external, or even a hybrid of these two options. Regardless of the model, it is important that it has good knowledge in the digital field, and is constantly updating itself, as many laws and regulations are still being created. New laws and regulations related to software products, digital products, and online products come up quite often, and it is important that your legal department monitors and knows the details of these new laws and regulations.

  • User Agreement: In this agreement, the main product features are documented, including service level, service type, data privacy policy and payment methods. In addition, this contract must contain the rights and duties of both your customer and your company, ie the rules that must be respected for the proper functioning of the product. For example, at Locaweb we decided at a given time to provide our Website Hosting product with unlimited disk space. To be able to do this, we have contractually agreed what can and cannot be done on our Unlimited Disk Space and Hosting Website Hosting product to ensure the product works well for all customers. We’ve created the unlimited policy explaining that “having unlimited space doesn’t mean you can use your hosting in a way that impairs the operation of the server, for unlawful purposes or otherwise violates applicable law”. In addition to writing the contract, the legal handles all claim that your clients make in the legal context, usually through lawsuits against your company; therefore, you should use empathy to understand the concerns your legal area certainly will have about your product and how it is used.
  • Vendor Agreement: In this agreement, the focus is on how your company’s relationship with the software vendors that will be part of your product will be managed. For example, at Locaweb we have the Web Hosting product, which can be on Linux or Windows. On Linux, we have to understand the open-source software use agreements to see if the Linux Website Hosting product can be built using such software and if there are any restrictions we should consider. On the Windows platform, we must constantly check Microsoft’s software licensing agreement to make sure that we are offering the Windows Site Hosting product in accordance with Microsoft policies.

Sales

The sales team needs to be trained by you and the product marketing person about the product to be launched. After that, it is important to make training updates whenever you release news about your product.

Finance

Finance is the area that will allow product managers to understand if the product they manage is a good product for the company; that is, if the return on the product is bigger than its costs. Of course, you and product marketing will keep track of your product revenue on a daily basis, but the costs aren’t as simple to track. Finance can help you calculate and track product costs.

Human Resources

At first, it may seem that HR has nothing to do with the product and its management, but it’s all about it. HR is essential to product success, as it will be part of the process of finding and attracting new professionals to work with.

Administrative

This is another team that seems far from the product and the team that develops the product, but it is not. The administrator maintains the necessary infrastructure for the business to continue to function. Office, meeting rooms, furniture, office supplies, office services (cleaning, snacks, meals, coffee, deliveries, etc.) are all necessary for your business to function and, consequently, for the product development team to be able to do their work.

Summing up

I chose to put all of these areas in one chapter rather than devoting one to each, as I did to talk about engineering, UX, product marketing, and project management because interaction with these areas is not as intense. However, keep in mind that these areas and the product manager’s good relationship with them are essential for the success of your product.

Digital Product Management Book

Do you work with digital products? Do you want to know more about how to manage a digital product to increase its chances of success? Check out my book Product Management: How to increase the chances of success of your digital product, based on my almost 30 years of experience in creating and managing digital products.

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Joca Torres

Joca Torres

2.5K Followers

Digital product development advisor, coach, and board member. Also an open water swimmer and ukulelist.