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What Does a Chief Product Officer Do? Everything You Need to Know
The constant evolution and shifts in customers’ needs and expectations have made it necessary for today’s products to show continuous improvement and the addition of new features. This strategic imperative has underscored the requirement for a Chief Product Officer (CPO), whose role is to facilitate business growth through product enhancement. According to TechTarget, a CPO is a C-level executive who is responsible for designing the product strategy and implementation of all product-related activities in an organization, including product launch and product success. Let’s dive deeper into understanding what does a chief product officer do, how they can bring transformation to their company, and the qualifications to become one.
The Role of the Chief Product Officer
The success of an organization’s products depends on a number of factors such as strategy, design, development, execution, and how well the entire process is executed. That is the broad answer to the question ‘what does a chief product officer do’. Let’s take a closer look at the role of a CPO:
Design a Product Development Roadmap
CPOs devise product development strategies and the subsequent roadmaps for an organization. They work closely with leadership teams and departments, such as marketing, sales, and engineering, to ensure that product development efforts align with the business objectives.
The process begins with the CPOs studying the market to understand the trends and customer requirements. They define product goals to identify key features and requirements. Thereafter, they create a timeline, allocate resources, and review the product development roadmap to convince the stakeholders about its scope and development.
Create a Product Management Procedure
CPOs are responsible for the product management procedure that outlines the steps and processes to be followed when developing, launching, and managing products efficiently. They define the roles and responsibilities of the product management team comprising engineers, designers, and product managers.
CPOs also lead and facilitate the product management teams to ensure they create products that deliver value to both the business and the users.
Participate in Product Development
Product vision is the core idea behind a new product. That is why the CPO works with team members to define its value and mission to create attributes that enhance customer satisfaction. The process involves creating a roadmap for innovative product development.
Instruct Product Managers
A CPO guides product managers with the day-to-day execution of different tasks and organizational activities. It helps them meet the desired business goals while ensuring efficient product development processes.
Assemble the Product Team
A CPO assembles the product team by identifying the roles needed to effectively manage the process. This task also includes defining the team structure and deciding how the roles and responsibilities will be divided among the members.
The CPO seeks help from the HR department to provide training and development activities to the new recruits. They establish clear communication channels to ensure all team members get all the necessary updates related to the product development process. This also helps foster a positive work environment.
Chief Product Officer Qualifications
A chief product officer is a senior-level executive who leads an organization’s product development process and management efforts. While the qualifications for this role may vary depending on the industry type and specific company, there are some essentials that set you up for this position.
To start with, you need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in subjects such as product management, marketing, business administration, or economics to become a qualified CPO. You can also choose certifications in product development to understand the different tools that aid in organizational tasks and activities. It will also enable you to learn and manage end-to-end product life cycles that cater to business growth.
According to Zippia, many companies require you to have at least 10 years of experience in product management to be a CPO. Apart from that, you must possess strong leadership, communication, and organizational skills, and be comfortable managing vendors, stakeholders, and staff members.
Example of Chief Product Officer Job Description
A chief product officer guides the product department and controls product development strategies and goals. A typical job description contains the following points, tying back to what does a chief product officer do. Keep these job requirements in mind while preparing for such a role.
- Ability to ensure the success of product development
- Developing products that meet business goals
- Proficiency in all facets of supply chain management such as procurement, manufacturing, and distribution
- Monitoring products after release to verify that they generate profit
- Designing product strategy, including product roadmaps, setting KPIs
- Utilizing the product analytics data to check if products are meeting customer requirements
READ MORE: How Chief Product Officers are Boosting the Digital Transformation
Chief Product Officer vs Head Of Product
Let’s explore how this CPO role is different from that of the Head of Product (HP) in most organizations.
Chief Product Officer
The CPO of a company is accountable for the entire product-related operations. As the ultimate leader of the product team, they ensure that products meet customers’ demands and generate income for the company. Furthermore, they collaborate with different executives to ensure that all the products developed are aligned with the culture and objectives of the business.
Head of Product
The Head of Product is the most senior member of the product team and serves as its leader. They report to the CPO and are responsible for overseeing everyone else in the department. The responsibility of a head of product is to drive the profitability of the product.
Chief Product Officer Career Path
The career path to becoming a successful CPO can look like this:
- It starts with gaining a bachelor’s degree in subjects such as business administration, economics, information technology, psychology, or engineering.
- You can then pursue a master’s degree in product management, marketing, advertising, or any related field.
- Thereafter, a product manager role is the first step, climbing up to positions such as senior product manager, product director, and Vice President (VP) of product to finally reach the title of CPO.
Chief Product Officer Salary
The exact salary estimates of a CPO depend on the location, industry, and level of expertise. According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a CPO is $197,510 in the U.S.
Is the Chief Product Officer a Good Career Choice?
As companies are realizing how important it is to have a CPO on the board in today’s fast-changing business environment, the demand for a qualified CPO is increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of top executives is expected to grow by 6 percent from 2021 to 2031. This means pursuing a career as a C-level executive, particularly CPO, is definitely a smart choice.
To increase your chances of reaching this coveted top position, enroll in the leadership courses available on the Emeritus platform. These will help you polish your skills and enhance your professional standing as a senior executive.
By Riku Ghosh
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