Along with the rest of the management team, I need to be attentive that a brilliant culture continues to develop and evolve and help foster effective collaboration. My own role is primarily about communication and coordination, and providing direction and focus. The main difference between the Chief Product Officer, Head of Product and VP of Product is their ranking within the company/department. The Chief Product Officer ranks the highest, as part of the executive team, followed by Head of Product, then VP of Product. Often, the VP of Product and Head of Product are two terms that are used for the same role. In teams with both, however, the Head of Product sits slightly higher on the ladder.

what does a head of product do

A product manager may take on responsibility for a specific product or feature (e.g. the news feed for a social media site). Passionate about leveraging data-driven insights to drive customer satisfaction and retention. Skilled in building strong client relationships and providing strategic solutions. Since there is a lot of collaboration involved in the product management sphere, it is important to have excellent communication.

Business skills

Anyone stepping into a Senior Product Manager role has experience in the field. They’ve likely worked their way up from a more junior role, so years of training and skill development are usually part of the road to this position. User experience (UX) has become a much greater focus for businesses in recent years. This is because users are now more discerning and expect a better user experience from the products they use.

what does a head of product do

In larger companies, the head of product may be beneath the director of product management or even the VP of product. Smaller companies may not have those roles which would make the head of product the top product management role. Generally speaking, if there is a product director within a company, the head of product isn’t in a higher position than them. Becoming a head of product may be the first step for a product manager to move into an executive role. But first, they will need to develop a strong product portfolio, build a robust skillset, and learn how to effectively manage a team. Transitioning from an individual contributor product management role to one where you’re managing product managers can be a rewarding step in your career path.

What is a VP of Product?

The main responsibility of a Head of Product will be to guide improvement within the teams they work with. They should be making sure that everyone working under them is a strong player. Managing products is very different from managing people, and knowing who has the skills to move up in your organization can be a big challenge. Generally, a technical Product Manager will lead product development teams’ work and has a tighter grip on the specifics of proper prioritization. “At the heart of every product person, there’s a desire to make someone’s life easier or simpler. If we listen to the customer and give them what they need, they’ll reciprocate with love and loyalty to your brand.

what does a head of product do

The VP of Product’s scope will probably overlap with that of the Head of Product to some degree. Both may also be involved in the hiring and recruiting of people to the product team. Some employers expect more educational qualifications- master’s, doctoral, information technology, marketing, or more. Keep in mind that Chief Product Officers (CPO) are different from Chief Technology Officers (CTO) and Chief Marketing Officers (CMO). Natascha has been a product manager for over 5 years, last with Studydrive, where she managed an interdisciplinary scrum team and driven initiatives for web products. In her free time she likes to sew her own clothes and do DIY-related things, as a way of living a more sustainable life.

People Management

You need to be able to work with the engineers to identify and solve problems and ensure that the product delivers a positive user experience. Finally, one of the best tools you have at your disposal to build a great product team is you. You will lead the team into projects, and you will be the one responsible for energizing them and facilitating ideas. If you have strong leadership skills that can inspire teams — even during tough sprints — you are guaranteed to have a great product team behind you. The Product Director must have a strong background in product management and understand the product job responsibilities of those across the development team. They’ll attend meetings on a regular basis, interacting with those from inside and outside the company.

  • The VP of Product is slightly below the Head of Product, though in some teams these titles may be used interchangeably.
  • In a start-up, this person may also be the most experienced product manager.
  • While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, some companies require their product managers to obtain a master’s degree.
  • So it’s important to know what to look for in a candidate as it can make or break a product management team.
  • What’s more, it will be difficult for you as the head of product to offer effective feedback and help the individuals develop and grow if it is not clear what’s expected of them.
  • Those sessions keep all product teams super creative, engaged and with high sense of ownership for the entire product portfolio.
  • Finally, one of the best tools you have at your disposal to build a great product team is you.

Those sessions keep all product teams super creative, engaged and with high sense of ownership for the entire product portfolio. They also allow the team to “break out” of their highly demanding daily routine. Their ability to groom the best in product managers and, subsequently, in the products they build defines the company’s trajectory in the long term. As a result, hiring the right Director of Product could take time and careful evaluation. In addition, understanding what opportunities lie ahead in the business and tying them to the business strategy would build confidence in your leadership to consider you for the directorial role. As you evolve from a product manager who has just begun their career to someone who’s spent considerable time building products, you’ll find yourself at a classic fork in your career path.

Head Of Product Skills

Read on to learn more about the difference between the most common product management job titles, and the part each role plays in the product team. A CPO needs to have a product-focused skillset that will help them ace the job. A chief product officer must upskill to meet the various requirements of the team. The CPO is also required to understand insights on products and customer needs. CPO needs to plan strategies that are in line with KPIs and customer metrics.

A principal product manager (PPM) is a senior product manager who doesn’t have any people-management responsibilities. This is a perfect role for those who are incredibly technically-minded but struggle with managing people. Anyone looking to become a product lead needs to be flexible, knowledgeable, and comfortable managing multiple teams. While the role is still mostly focused on the product rather than management, it is still a leadership role.

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They’ll be involved with a development team and take some responsibility for its progress too, aiming to prove themselves suitable for a senior role in the future. Because tech companies live or die on the strength of their products and that means the product management team has to be firing on all cylinders (pardon the cliche). The Chief Product Officer (CPO) or the head of product is the person in charge of managing all product-corresponding tasks in any organization to achieve institutional goals. While they report to the CPO, everyone else in the department ultimately reports to them. For more on what product managers do, check out this example of a product manager job description. Generally speaking, this position will take on more responsibility, and begin to work more on setting processes and strategies, rather than implementing the day-to-day task of executing those strategies.

what does a head of product do

A head of product career can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s important to consider the many different paths that are available. You could choose to lead a team that develops products from start to finish, or you could focus on leading a team that oversees the entire product lifecycle. You could also choose to specialize in a particular area of product management, such as UX design or marketing. The head of product is the highest-ranking person in a company’s product department. They are responsible for overseeing all aspects of their organization’s product offerings, including research and development, design, marketing, sales, etc. Smaller teams may not have all these positions, while large-scale, enterprise teams could have multiple people in some roles, or even additional roles in between.