“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. ” These words were famously said by Francis Brown, a product development manager at Alaska Airlines, and they encapsulate the essence of what it means to be the head of the product department.
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.
The Head of the Product is an individual who has the responsibility of creating a new item according to the needs of a community and managing all product-related concerns like product design, development, awareness, and so on to achieve organizational goals and customer satisfaction. The Head of product or Chief Product officer is an executive who is accountable for the working of the entire product cycle, starting from defining the product creativity to making the masses cognizant of the existence of the same while simultaneously communicating and coordinating with the sales, marketing, and financial department. A Product Head also ensures that the product visions align with the overall organizational strategies and goals, that is, increased sales, improved firm reputation, and better quality, among other things.
VARIOUS DESIGNATION LABELS OF THE HEAD OF PRODUCT
Frequently, a Head of Product is known by different titles in different organizations. Some of them include:
- Chief Product Officer
- Vice President of Product
- Director of the Product strategy
- Vice President of Product Design
- Director of the product (Management)
In huge organizations, it is also possible that all these titles may be used to refer to different people in the dissimilar position of authority in the hierarchy of the management.
DUTIES OF THE HEAD OF PRODUCT
The Head of Product overlooks various daily tasks that play an important role in the proper functioning of an organization. Some of them include:
- The Head of Product is responsible for creating a product vision, that is, the core concept of the product.
- The Head is also responsible for creating a detailed strategy as to how the product will function? How will it enter the market? etc.
- The Head must coordinate the product team with various other departments to improve product invention.
- The Head is responsible for conducting meetings with the various department heads to facilitate efficiency.
- The Head is responsible for providing consultancy on marketing strategies.
- The Head is responsible for creating the timelines and goals for product development.
- The Head is responsible for conducting market analysis and research.
Apart from academic enrichment, a candidate is also required to possess the following skills:
- The candidate should possess good communication skills to get their idea across several boards and stakeholders.
- The candidate should possess adequate leadership skills to lead the entire team and have effective results.
- The candidate should possess proper product rationale skills to produce better quality products.
- The candidate should be well equipped with customer consultation skills to improve customer experience.
- The candidate is required to have good decision-making skills.
- The candidate should have an eye for details.
- The candidate should have sufficient knowledge about the analytical aspects of the field.
To reach the position of the Head of Product, an individual has to invest exclusively in education and additional skills. A person is required to fulfill the following requirements:
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree: To become a CPO, it is mandatory to acquire an undergraduate degree in any of the courses offered in your area.
- Get a Master’s Degree/or a Doctorate: Though not compulsory, it is advised to pursue a higher degree of education after undergraduate to gain more experience to make smart decisions, thus, increasing your chance at becoming the head of product.
- Gain Experience in Product – related work: To lead a department, you are required to gain adequate experience in the appropriate field to equip yourself with good knowledge about the workings of the industry. You are required to have at least five to seven years of experience in the respective field to increase your chances of being appointed as the Head.
- Expand Your Social Network and Learn Supplementary Skills: Once you have gained appropriate experience and skills in the product field, your chances of being appointed as the Head increase. During this process, your professional social network will play a pivotal role.
According to payscale.com, the salary of a head of product differs according to an individual’s experience. Someone in their earlier stages of the position that is from somewhere between 1-4 years of experience may earn up to an average of 125,142 dollars annually. An individual who is somewhere in the middle of their career experience that is around 5-9 years of experience earns an average of 156,659 dollars annually. A Chief Product Officer with experience of 10-19 years earns an average of 202,425 dollars annually and an individual who has experience of 20 years and more earns up to an average of 205,639 dollars annually. The salary range spectrum also depends on various other important factors like education, skills, and so on.
**Please note that the estimated salary includes bonuses, tips, and overtime pay**
The head of product is someone well-versed in how the industry works. This individual’s main aim is to improve product experience in this fast-paced changing world by offering new creative ideas to achieve maximum customer satisfaction. The Chief of Product should be someone who has the necessary knowledge, that is, practical as well as techniques needed to ensure that the product fits into the environment. To become the Head, a candidate should be ready to take on every challenge that the business environment possesses and convert it into an opportunity for growth for the organization.