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A Comprehensive Guide to Chief Product Officer

A Comprehensive Guide to Chief Product Officer

Introduction

Who is the Chief Product Officer?

A chief product officer (CPO) is a title given to an executive who is in charge of the entire product organization. The CPO is also known as the Vice President of Product or the Head of Product.

CPO’s responsibility is the strategic product direction. Product vision, product invention, product design, product development, project management, and product marketing are typically included. This job is also responsible for the distribution, production, and procurement of many IT companies.

In a nutshell, a CPO leads a product management (PM) team in developing excellent products that create long-term company value. A CPO balances the demands and goals of both the product and the business from the early stages of developing a new product concept to beyond product launch.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Chief Product Officer in an organization

The CPO is the company’s highest-ranking product manager, tasked with aligning product development with the company’s business strategy and client requirements. The CPO is in charge of the following duties and processes in order to attain this broad and difficult goal.

Creating a product vision

The core value and mission of the company’s providing are reflected in the product vision. It discusses how the product will affect customers’ lives and, more broadly, how it can improve the world.

Putting together a product plan

Companies require a long-term plan or product strategy to accomplish their vision, which defines how they will turn concepts into a product and service that will generate revenues. The strategy takes into account the organization’s internal resources as well as external considerations such as the business climate, competition, and, of course, client requirements. It connects the vision to the financial results, making daily decisions easier.

How you create a product development strategy?

One of the CPO’s most important roles is to develop product vision and strategy. It necessitates a thorough awareness of consumers and their needs, as well as the capacity to comprehend the broad picture and a desire to create cutting-edge solutions.

Check out How to showcase product value in this extensive guide.

Managing multi-functional groups

A corporation must coordinate the efforts of people from various functional areas to build a winning solution: software engineers, product managers, UX/UI designers, analytics, and marketers. It is the CPO’s responsibility to guide these disparate groups toward a similar objective, properly expressing the company’s vision of success to personnel from various backgrounds.

In some ways, the CPO serves as a mini-CEO, orchestrating processes across several departments and coordinating key players such as the Head of UX, VP of Product, and Director of Product Marketing.

Evangelism and product marketing

The CPO is a significant figure in product promotion and sales, as the executive in charge of constantly enhancing a product’s attractiveness to loyal customers while also attracting new ones.

The CPO uses product analytics data, engages with salespeople, and analyses consumer input to make the best marketing decisions. The executive also participates in product presentations at exhibitions, conferences, seminars, and other events. The CPO gives presentations to a large audience to convey the product’s value and mission.

Customer research and product analysis are ongoing.

The product division’s chief organizes and oversees several sorts of customer research to learn more about their practical demands and emotional wants. Data from market research is used to design enhancements and set the product apart from its competition.

The CPO also ensures that plans and strategies are in line with product performance metrics (KPIs), which measure revenue, customer growth, engagement, and retention.

CPO responsibilities differ for each organization, but they always demand a strong educational and professional background to carry out.

If you want to be a chief product officer, you’ll need to carefully consider your schooling and job options. The good news is that you have more options when it comes to things like your undergraduate degree. A CPO’s career path, on the other hand, is more well-defined than that of other executives.

There are some things that you really must do. That’s what we’ll look at next.

Measure Product Stickiness for better product success

How do you become a Chief Product Officer?

The talents you’ll need to succeed in this profession are divided into five categories:

  • Leadership. You’ll be leading teams on a regular basis, so get accustomed to it. People will look to you for direction and guidance. We strongly advise you to take a Leadership Fundamentals course.
  • Management. Every day, you’ll interact with a diverse group of folks. You’ll need a good understanding of organizational behavior and how teams function for anything from managing project managers to the coaching staff.
  • Data Analysis. Many of the decisions you make about a company’s product portfolio will be guided by product analytics. To make informed selections, you’ll need to know how to conduct proper research. This will be made easier if you have certain expertise in comprehending one-variable statistics.
  • Product planning. The ability to spot market and positioning opportunities is crucial to a successful product.
  • Marketing. From concept to launch, you’ll advertise and evangelize items as the CPO. This involves persuading other board members to support your ideas, talking to investors about the product’s potential, and even motivating staff to become brand ambassadors. You may also supply campaign suggestions to the marketing department, so make sure you know your marketing principles.

Your Options for CPO Education and Degrees

To become a CPO, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree at the very least. However, because 53% of CPOs have a master’s degree and 7% have a doctorate, you should consider going above and above the basic requirements to get this job.

CPOs have a wider range of undergraduate degrees than other categories of executives, according to our research. Among the possibilities are:

  • Economics and business administration
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Management of products
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Psychology Engineering

What MBA program is best for a CPO?

At the executive level, you’ll make decisions that have a direct impact on the company’s direction and success. As a result, if you’re looking for that advanced degree that more than half of all CPOs have, think about getting an MBA. This will ensure that you have the perspective and tools necessary to make wise, well-informed judgments.

There are a few options for you to choose from. Here are some things to think about to help you figure out which option is best for you:

  • MBA in the traditional sense. A standard MBA is often completed on campus and requires full-time attendance. You’ll have a disciplined, challenging experience that allows you to connect and network with peers. Traditional MBAs are also well-liked in the corporate sector.
  • Online MBA. Because of their flexibility, many people choose online MBAs. This is a great option for self-motivated working professionals who can’t or won’t quit working. Many online MBA programs have historically missed important features of traditional MBA programs, such as networking opportunities. This is beginning to change, as more MBA programs include professional networks and other groups.
  • MBA (Executive). An executive MBA is a customized MBA program that focuses on the skills and information that individuals need to secure a position on a board of directors. Individuals that choose this path are typically mid-career or experienced professionals who already have some business expertise but need to improve it in order to be effective in the boardroom

What Are the Steps to Becoming a CPO?

Being a CPO isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, we recommend that you apply for the job after you’ve worked in product-related sectors for at least 10 years. We propose that you do two things to increase your chances of success:

  • Continue to work in the same field. While it’s acceptable to switch jobs, you’ll need to demonstrate industry knowledge.
  • Assume a variety of product-related roles. The more product lifecycle knowledge you can exhibit, the better candidate you will be. Consider Lisa Collier, Under Armour’s Chief Product Officer, who has held every position in the clothing retail industry for the previous 36 years.

Aside from that, here’s how your job path should go:

  1. A bachelor’s degree is a must. As previously said, you have more options in this decision. A technical degree is totally okay if you already know what field you want to work in.
  2. Take on a product-related position. There is no alternative for real-world experience in this field. Product development, product management, and comparable roles should all be on your resume. Each position should take on more responsibility than the one before it. This is likely to take five to seven years.
  3. Obtain an MBA. If you want to, you can begin an MBA program as soon as you finish your undergraduate studies. Make it a point to network with other professionals in your field during this time.
  4. Keep expanding your network and looking for new chances. After ten years of expertise, you’ll begin to attract the attention of firms seeking a new CPO. It will be beneficial to tap into your professional network.

What Do Chief Product Officers and Other Product Leaders Have in Common?

The CPO is in charge of all product-related matters at a corporation. Product management, user experience (UX) research and design, and product analytics are among the areas they oversee. The CPO is in charge of important product management executives (e.g., the Director of Product Management, the Director of UX, the Head of Product Analytics, and the Director of Product Marketing). The CPO is responsible for ensuring that these critical roles are carried out effectively and in accordance with the organization’s vision and strategy.

In addition, the CPO serves as a valuable mentor to other product management staff. They have a significant impact on the culture and strategic direction of a product organization.Additional Resource: Role of Customer Success in Product Management.

Is a Chief Product Officer (CPO) required in every organization?

A CPO should be present in every organization that prioritizes establishing a product excellence mindset — a customer-focused foundation for developing an effective product. Read about one CPO’s professional path here.

What are some of the Chief Product Officer’s main goals?

A CPO must have a wide view of the company’s goals, needs, and success while still maintaining a laser-like concentration on the aims, needs, and success of a specific product.

The key goals of a CPO are to lead the PM organization, supervise PM managers, and mentor their team.

Developing a vision and strategy for the PM organization as a whole

From concept to launch, marketing and evangelizing products Research that leads to informed decision-making within the company

How much does the CPO earn?

As more firms recognize the value of having a product and customer experience expert on board, the CPO is gaining in favor. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these specialists are seeing a 20% increase in job opportunities (compared to just six percent of other top executives).

Several large corporations have recently hired their first CPOs. In March 2020, Overstock hired a CPO. Deep Bagchee, the former VP of Product and Technology for CNBC, was hired by The Economist a few months later.

Even the United States Department of Health and Human Services has hired a CPO.

If you’ve been considering switching to CPO, now is a great opportunity to do so.

Here’s how much you’ll make:

CPOs make an average of $183,724 per year, according to Glassdoor, with the potential to earn as much as $291,000 for those with more than twenty years of experience. According to Glassdoor, the average yearly salary is $193,636 per year, with top earners earning roughly $312,00 per year.

According to Payscale, your income is largely determined by your experience. With around 10 years of experience as a CPO, you may expect your income to skyrocket. Similarly, 78 percent of your competitors for the job will have at least 10 years of experience.

Introduction

Who is the Chief Product Officer?

A chief product officer (CPO) is a title given to an executive who is in charge of the entire product organization. The CPO is also known as the Vice President of Product or the Head of Product.

CPO’s responsibility is the strategic product direction. Product vision, product invention, product design, product development, project management, and product marketing are typically included. This job is also responsible for the distribution, production, and procurement of many IT companies.

In a nutshell, a CPO leads a product management (PM) team in developing excellent products that create long-term company value. A CPO balances the demands and goals of both the product and the business from the early stages of developing a new product concept to beyond product launch.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Chief Product Officer in an organization

The CPO is the company’s highest-ranking product manager, tasked with aligning product development with the company’s business strategy and client requirements. The CPO is in charge of the following duties and processes in order to attain this broad and difficult goal.

Creating a product vision

The core value and mission of the company’s providing are reflected in the product vision. It discusses how the product will affect customers’ lives and, more broadly, how it can improve the world.

Putting together a product plan

Companies require a long-term plan or product strategy to accomplish their vision, which defines how they will turn concepts into a product and service that will generate revenues. The strategy takes into account the organization’s internal resources as well as external considerations such as the business climate, competition, and, of course, client requirements. It connects the vision to the financial results, making daily decisions easier.

How you create a product development strategy?

One of the CPO’s most important roles is to develop product vision and strategy. It necessitates a thorough awareness of consumers and their needs, as well as the capacity to comprehend the broad picture and a desire to create cutting-edge solutions.

Check out How to showcase product value in this extensive guide.

Managing multi-functional groups

A corporation must coordinate the efforts of people from various functional areas to build a winning solution: software engineers, product managers, UX/UI designers, analytics, and marketers. It is the CPO’s responsibility to guide these disparate groups toward a similar objective, properly expressing the company’s vision of success to personnel from various backgrounds.

In some ways, the CPO serves as a mini-CEO, orchestrating processes across several departments and coordinating key players such as the Head of UX, VP of Product, and Director of Product Marketing.

Evangelism and product marketing

The CPO is a significant figure in product promotion and sales, as the executive in charge of constantly enhancing a product’s attractiveness to loyal customers while also attracting new ones.

The CPO uses product analytics data, engages with salespeople, and analyses consumer input to make the best marketing decisions. The executive also participates in product presentations at exhibitions, conferences, seminars, and other events. The CPO gives presentations to a large audience to convey the product’s value and mission.

Customer research and product analysis are ongoing.

The product division’s chief organizes and oversees several sorts of customer research to learn more about their practical demands and emotional wants. Data from market research is used to design enhancements and set the product apart from its competition.

The CPO also ensures that plans and strategies are in line with product performance metrics (KPIs), which measure revenue, customer growth, engagement, and retention.

CPO responsibilities differ for each organization, but they always demand a strong educational and professional background to carry out.

If you want to be a chief product officer, you’ll need to carefully consider your schooling and job options. The good news is that you have more options when it comes to things like your undergraduate degree. A CPO’s career path, on the other hand, is more well-defined than that of other executives.

There are some things that you really must do. That’s what we’ll look at next.

Measure Product Stickiness for better product success

How do you become a Chief Product Officer?

The talents you’ll need to succeed in this profession are divided into five categories:

  • Leadership. You’ll be leading teams on a regular basis, so get accustomed to it. People will look to you for direction and guidance. We strongly advise you to take a Leadership Fundamentals course.
  • Management. Every day, you’ll interact with a diverse group of folks. You’ll need a good understanding of organizational behavior and how teams function for anything from managing project managers to the coaching staff.
  • Data Analysis. Many of the decisions you make about a company’s product portfolio will be guided by product analytics. To make informed selections, you’ll need to know how to conduct proper research. This will be made easier if you have certain expertise in comprehending one-variable statistics.
  • Product planning. The ability to spot market and positioning opportunities is crucial to a successful product.
  • Marketing. From concept to launch, you’ll advertise and evangelize items as the CPO. This involves persuading other board members to support your ideas, talking to investors about the product’s potential, and even motivating staff to become brand ambassadors. You may also supply campaign suggestions to the marketing department, so make sure you know your marketing principles.

Your Options for CPO Education and Degrees

To become a CPO, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree at the very least. However, because 53% of CPOs have a master’s degree and 7% have a doctorate, you should consider going above and above the basic requirements to get this job.

CPOs have a wider range of undergraduate degrees than other categories of executives, according to our research. Among the possibilities are:

  • Economics and business administration
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Management of products
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Psychology Engineering

What MBA program is best for a CPO?

At the executive level, you’ll make decisions that have a direct impact on the company’s direction and success. As a result, if you’re looking for that advanced degree that more than half of all CPOs have, think about getting an MBA. This will ensure that you have the perspective and tools necessary to make wise, well-informed judgments.

There are a few options for you to choose from. Here are some things to think about to help you figure out which option is best for you:

  • MBA in the traditional sense. A standard MBA is often completed on campus and requires full-time attendance. You’ll have a disciplined, challenging experience that allows you to connect and network with peers. Traditional MBAs are also well-liked in the corporate sector.
  • Online MBA. Because of their flexibility, many people choose online MBAs. This is a great option for self-motivated working professionals who can’t or won’t quit working. Many online MBA programs have historically missed important features of traditional MBA programs, such as networking opportunities. This is beginning to change, as more MBA programs include professional networks and other groups.
  • MBA (Executive). An executive MBA is a customized MBA program that focuses on the skills and information that individuals need to secure a position on a board of directors. Individuals that choose this path are typically mid-career or experienced professionals who already have some business expertise but need to improve it in order to be effective in the boardroom

What Are the Steps to Becoming a CPO?

Being a CPO isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, we recommend that you apply for the job after you’ve worked in product-related sectors for at least 10 years. We propose that you do two things to increase your chances of success:

  • Continue to work in the same field. While it’s acceptable to switch jobs, you’ll need to demonstrate industry knowledge.
  • Assume a variety of product-related roles. The more product lifecycle knowledge you can exhibit, the better candidate you will be. Consider Lisa Collier, Under Armour’s Chief Product Officer, who has held every position in the clothing retail industry for the previous 36 years.

Aside from that, here’s how your job path should go:

  1. A bachelor’s degree is a must. As previously said, you have more options in this decision. A technical degree is totally okay if you already know what field you want to work in.
  2. Take on a product-related position. There is no alternative for real-world experience in this field. Product development, product management, and comparable roles should all be on your resume. Each position should take on more responsibility than the one before it. This is likely to take five to seven years.
  3. Obtain an MBA. If you want to, you can begin an MBA program as soon as you finish your undergraduate studies. Make it a point to network with other professionals in your field during this time.
  4. Keep expanding your network and looking for new chances. After ten years of expertise, you’ll begin to attract the attention of firms seeking a new CPO. It will be beneficial to tap into your professional network.

What Do Chief Product Officers and Other Product Leaders Have in Common?

The CPO is in charge of all product-related matters at a corporation. Product management, user experience (UX) research and design, and product analytics are among the areas they oversee. The CPO is in charge of important product management executives (e.g., the Director of Product Management, the Director of UX, the Head of Product Analytics, and the Director of Product Marketing). The CPO is responsible for ensuring that these critical roles are carried out effectively and in accordance with the organization’s vision and strategy.

In addition, the CPO serves as a valuable mentor to other product management staff. They have a significant impact on the culture and strategic direction of a product organization.Additional Resource: Role of Customer Success in Product Management.

Is a Chief Product Officer (CPO) required in every organization?

A CPO should be present in every organization that prioritizes establishing a product excellence mindset — a customer-focused foundation for developing an effective product. Read about one CPO’s professional path here.

What are some of the Chief Product Officer’s main goals?

A CPO must have a wide view of the company’s goals, needs, and success while still maintaining a laser-like concentration on the aims, needs, and success of a specific product.

The key goals of a CPO are to lead the PM organization, supervise PM managers, and mentor their team.

Developing a vision and strategy for the PM organization as a whole

From concept to launch, marketing and evangelizing products Research that leads to informed decision-making within the company

How much does the CPO earn?

As more firms recognize the value of having a product and customer experience expert on board, the CPO is gaining in favor. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these specialists are seeing a 20% increase in job opportunities (compared to just six percent of other top executives).

Several large corporations have recently hired their first CPOs. In March 2020, Overstock hired a CPO. Deep Bagchee, the former VP of Product and Technology for CNBC, was hired by The Economist a few months later.

Even the United States Department of Health and Human Services has hired a CPO.

If you’ve been considering switching to CPO, now is a great opportunity to do so.

Here’s how much you’ll make:

CPOs make an average of $183,724 per year, according to Glassdoor, with the potential to earn as much as $291,000 for those with more than twenty years of experience. According to Glassdoor, the average yearly salary is $193,636 per year, with top earners earning roughly $312,00 per year.

According to Payscale, your income is largely determined by your experience. With around 10 years of experience as a CPO, you may expect your income to skyrocket. Similarly, 78 percent of your competitors for the job will have at least 10 years of experience.

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