Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Understanding the role of product ops | Christine Itwaru (Pendo)

Understanding the role of product ops | Christine Itwaru (Pendo)


Brought to you by Amplitude—Build better products: https://amplitude.com/ | Vanta—Automate compliance. Simplify security: https://vanta.com/lenny | Lenny’s Job Board—Hire the best product people. Find the best product gigs: https://www.lennysjobs.com/talent

Christine Itwaru is a longtime product operations leader at Pendo and more recently has taken on the larger role of Principal Strategist there. Before leading product ops, Christine spent 12 years in product management. In this episode, we delve into the rapidly growing field of product ops and discover how Christine is part of shaping the role industry-wide. She helps us define the role of product operations, what kind of person would be a good fit for the product ops role, when your company would benefit from product ops, and what red flags to look for if you decide to go down this path. 

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript here: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/understanding-the-role-of-product-ops-christine-itwaru-pendo/#transcript

Where to find Christine Itwaru:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/christineitwaru

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christineitwaru/

• Website: https://theproductheart.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/


• Ben Williams on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.podpage.com/lennys-podcast/how-snyk-built-a-product-led-growth-juggernaut-ben-williams-vp-of-product-at-snyk/

• Pendo: https://go.pendo.io/

• Marty Cagan on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-nature-of-product-marty-cagan-silicon-valley-product-group/

• Salesforce: https://www.salesforce.com/

• Looker: https://www.looker.com/

• Tray: https://tray.io/

• Zapier: https://zapier.com/

• Zendesk: https://www.zendesk.com/

• Casey Winters on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-sell-your-ideas-and-rise-within-your-company-casey-winters-eventbrite/

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love: https://www.amazon.com/INSPIRED-Create-Tech-Products-Customers/dp/1119387507/

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t: https://www.amazon.com/Leaders-Eat-Last-Together-Others/dp/1591848016/

The Product-Led Organization: Drive Growth by Putting Product at the Center of Your Customer Experience: https://www.amazon.com/Product-Led-Organization-Putting-Customer-Experience/dp/1119660874

Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty: https://www.amazon.com/Product-Roadmaps-Relaunched-Direction-Uncertainty/dp/149197172X/

The Product Experience podcast: https://www.mindtheproduct.com/the-product-experience/

Matilda the Musical: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3447590/

Rise on Disney+: https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/rise/6Yv1uRnw2uAJ

• Miro: https://miro.com/

• Figma: https://www.figma.com/

• Seismic: https://seismic.com/

• Gong: https://www.gong.io/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Christine’s background

(02:34) How working with Ben Williams led Christine to Lenny’s Podcast

(05:02) The role of product ops in product management

(07:31) How 2019 became “the summer of product ops”

(11:19) The different ways product ops can assist product teams

(15:50) How Pendo used product ops to bring teams together and share data

(18:15) Where user research fits in 

(22:39) How product ops are being utilized—and not exclusively in B2B companies

(24:47) How to convince a product leader that you need product ops

(27:41) Why customer experience is the core of a PM’s role

(29:47) Who is doing the work of the product ops person before that role is created

(31:37) Christine’s response to Casey Winters’s take on ops teams

(37:40) Signs your company could benefit from a product ops team

(30:56) How a lack of transparency led to Pendo adding product ops

(46:11) The line between product ops and product marketing

(47:30) Who might be a good fit for a product ops role

(53:39) Red flags for product ops roles (that apply to any role) 

(54:08) How product teams are structured at Pendo

(57:18) Lightning round

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

1 Comment
Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.