What is a chief product officer?

Should You Hire a Chief Product Officer

In software, it is important to have a solid product that sticks. A software application that is not even sure of what it is and how it will be used wouldn’t get a taste of success. The product should be specific and have clear objectives. Thankfully, implementing best practices for product management with a skilled chief product officer pacifies this issue.

Product management serves as an important process to deliver a solid and justifiable product in the market. It should inspire the company to strategically design, develop, and deploy a product. 

In software development, hiring highly-skilled talents is the key to success. A team of great developers, testers, and business analysts, among others, would make significant progress. Overall, the team, with the help of key leaders, should work together to yield profits, identity, and most importantly, success.

Such responsibility would fall in the hands of a well-equipped leader. In this case, a Chief Product Officer who is fluent in both the technical and commercial aspects of a software product is needed to steer the business forward.

What is a Chief Product Officer?

As mentioned, development team members are all important in setting the product up for success. Each role has a different set of responsibilities to fulfill. But how can we make sure that everyone in the team has the same goals and expectations? How do we ensure that the product meets all factors considered before being deployed?

For example, you have hired the best team of developers, an experienced project manager, and the highest quality testers. But, your product is still rough around the edges. The product is premature and does not meet specific and measurable traits to pass as a minimum viable product (MVP). This is where a product officer comes in.

The Chief Product Officer (CPO), also known as the Head of Product, is the executive responsible for overseeing the overall product-related activities for the company. This is a corporate title that entails responsibilities related to the procurement, manufacturing, and distribution of company products under its belt.

From 2017 to 2019 alone, there is a 32% rise in open product management positions. This shows no signs of decline as companies realize the importance of product officers for their businesses.

For several reasons, product officers offer significant value to businesses when coming up with products. These advantages are why companies continue to leverage Chief Product Officer responsibilities into processes to achieve success. One way or another, having an effective CPO boosts a company’s brand identity and productivity.

Here are some advantages of hiring a Chief Product Officer:

Explore Company Market Reach. Chief Product Officers connect their company with the market and potential clients and users. Through this, CPOs will help the company identify actual problems that their products can resolve. As a result, the company can strengthen its product by fine-tuning objectives and goals based on the audience.

Champion Company Products to Clients and Investors. As the overall in-charge of a company product, the CPO’s role is to engage with potential clients and investors and sell the product to them. The Chief Product Officer knows what the product does and its edge, so it’s easier for your company to break into the market.

Strategize Overall Software Application Development. With development and market expertise, the Chief Product Officer will spearhead software development strategies. Hence, this could lead the team to identify proper product scopes and limitations. This means that the CPO is a unifier of all team members to achieve the goals. The CPO leads the product vision and objectives.

These advantages don’t come easy. To maximize these benefits, you’ll need an executive who can fill in the role of a Chief Product Officer effectively.

CPO Roles and Responsibilities

The role of Chief Product Officer is powerful. But let’s not forget what’s said in Spider-man: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The quote remains true, especially in this context. A well-rounded Chief Product Officer needs to attend to responsibilities only they can fill.

Primarily, the CPO’s role is to lead the creation of products relevant and useful to both the business and its users. This includes identifying product vision and innovation, managing product design and development, and marketing it.

Here are the responsibilities associated with the role:

  • Strategize product development and delivery in consideration of the resources and the target market
  • Spearhead the product vision, identity, scope, and limitations
  • Manage product design processes
  • Engage with target market, client, and investors to enhance and market the product
  • Take charge of research results and data analysis to wisely execute the project

To properly perform the roles and responsibilities, a Chief Product Officer must possess ideal skills for the position. It will be a mix of hard and soft skills.

Here are skills associated with a great Chief Product Officer:

  1. Leadership. To oversee the entire product development team, a CPO must have leadership skills to lead and to facilitate and streamline communication. That said, they must understand and collaborate with multiple teams in one organization.
  2. Industry knowledge. To ensure a holistic approach to product management, the CPO must understand how the industry works. This is an indicator of how far they can lead the team without getting lost in the process.
  3. User-side expertise. A Chief Product Officer must apply to look into the product from the outside. They must learn to empathize with the target users. This way, it’s easier to build a product that resonates with its target market. Moreover, they must be familiar with the psychological implications of UI and UX.
chief product officer responsibilities

Should you hire a Chief Product Officer?

The answer is YES.

As business owners, we want success for our products and, generally, in what we do. Having laid out the advantages and roles of Chief Product Owners, it is evident that this particular position is suited for success.

You can even be your own Chief Product Officer. Some companies have blended executive roles where CPOs and CTOs are handled by one person. 

However, if you’re not very confident taking over the role, there is no shame in seeking help. You can hire product managers who can help you mold the software product of your dreams. As an option, you can seek consultation from people who are industry experts in product management.

At Full Scale, our Guided Development program allows you to hire from our pool of software development industry talents. Achieve this while having complete ownership of the product. Simultaneously, our development leaders are available to ensure you deploy a relevant and high-quality software product.

Full Scale founders Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson are industry leaders from Kansas City. They guide businesses in achieving their business goals through one-on-one consultation and recommendations.

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