As of July 2022, there are over 2,000 openings for chief product officers (CPOs) in the USA on LinkedIn alone. Why? As a result of buyer expectations are altering, and companies have to ship excellent digital product experiences to fulfill their desires and wishes. And corporations want somebody with product information and enterprise acumen to supervise the supply of those product experiences.
Nonetheless, there are only a few chief product officers within the workforce, so many first-time chief product officers are unclear about their roles or find out how to thrive of their new place.
At Amplify 2022, Amplitude’s annual convention, Melissa Perri, CEO of Produx Labs and creator of Escaping the Construct Lure, mentioned what it’s prefer to thrive as a first-time chief product officer. Melissa’s session, titled You’re a First-time CPO! Now What? was filled with insights for brand spanking new chief product officers in each SaaS and non-SaaS areas. The session included frequent pitfalls to keep away from as they settle into their roles as new CPOs.
Listed below are 4 ideas all new chief product officers ought to know:
- Make clear your duties and the corporate’s expectations.
- Join your actions with enterprise outcomes.
- Spend time on constructing the product technique.
- Earn the belief of the chief group by being a group participant.
1. Make clear your duties and the corporate’s expectations
As a result of CPOs are sometimes senior product managers who ultimately tackle management roles of their firms, there are often no clear traces on what they need to drop from their earlier positions. However chief product officers ought to spend greater than 75% of their time on strategic initiatives, whereas senior product managers ought to focus half their time on tactical work.
Defining the precise position of a chief product officer is just not a straightforward activity as a result of the duties of a CPO fluctuate relying on the corporate and the product. Sometimes, a chief product officer ensures the product group’s actions align with the enterprise objectives whereas fixing buyer issues. Georgie Smallwood, CPO of Tier Mobility, says, “The position of the CPO is actually the identical as being a product supervisor. You’re the intersection of the consumer and the enterprise, however the stakes are a lot increased.”
To additional clarify how roles fluctuate relying on the context, Melissa grouped chief product officers into three classes: the startup, the scale-up, and the enterprise CPO.
- Startup CPOs are tasked with discovering product-market match, organising processes, and taking ARR from zero to seven figures.
- Scale-up CPOs work with firms within the development stage to assist scale groups and infrastructure. They’ve extra difficult methods and portfolios and take care of mergers and acquisitions, pricing and packaging, and extra.
- Enterprise CPOs work with giant firms. They should be extra diplomatic, have important monetary acumen, and navigate non-product spheres—like compliance and authorized—alongside their conventional product obligations.
Your organization’s expectations of you should align with the place they’re with their product. To outline your obligations, ask questions. Discuss to the product, advertising, gross sales, buyer success, improvement, and government groups in your first few days. Get a 360-degree view of the place the product is, examine it to the enterprise objectives, and use that info to map out your motion plans.
2. Join your actions with enterprise outcomes
Melissa talked about how new CPOs usually suppose that executives don’t perceive them. Nonetheless, one of many greatest errors new chief product officers make is speaking with the executives in “product administration communicate” with out tying it again to the enterprise outcomes.
New chief product officers can simply get distracted by speaking about issues like agile, dash planning, backlog, and so on. However if you’re speaking in regards to the product backlog, you’ve gotten to have the ability to clarify the impact it has on the enterprise. Based on Gijo Mathew, CPO of VTS, “For those who don’t know what are a very powerful outcomes for the enterprise then it’s essential get sensible on that. For those who do, then you’ve gotten to have the ability to determine and execute a technique to get to that final result.”
As Melissa Perri stated, “the language of the executives is cash.” A primary-time CPO ought to have the ability to discuss their position, obligations, and motion plans whereas framing it again to the income and price concerned.
For those who don’t know the anticipated enterprise outcomes, ask the executives. “There’s often some type of agenda there. They’ve an exit expectation. They’ve a aim that they’re truly striving for,” Melissa stated. “It is advisable to perceive what that’s since you are gonna be making selections based mostly on these forms of outcomes, not essentially simply on buyer issues.”
3. Spend time on constructing the product technique
The core of a chief product officer’s position is constructing a product technique, “a framework that permits groups to make product selections about find out how to drive buyer worth which in flip drives enterprise worth.”
The technique is the trail you lay for each the product and the chief groups to contribute to the general enterprise final result. Getting executives, management, and the product group concerned is crucial within the technique creation course of.
Melissa shared a four-tier technique deployment framework to assist first-time CPOs construct the technique and get everybody concerned. The framework consists of:
- Imaginative and prescient: The imaginative and prescient solutions questions like: The place will we see the enterprise in 5 to 10 years? What’s our worth for our prospects? What’s our place out there? The CEO primarily units the imaginative and prescient, when you contribute to it because the chief product officer.
- Strategic Intents: These are the enterprise challenges standing in the best way of reaching the imaginative and prescient. They’re the massive enterprise selections that the corporate has to make to realize its objectives. For instance, these selections could possibly be about increasing geographically, shifting upmarket, and so on. The chief product officer is accountable for recognizing the strategic intent and setting them along with the remainder of the C-suite.
- Product Initiative: The product management group under the chief product officer is accountable for setting the product initiatives. These are the enterprise challenges that they wish to resolve from a product perspective.
- Choices: These are your product options. The product managers and product entrepreneurs set these. A superb instance of an choice is including options to a product to extend consumer adoption.
Based on Melissa, on the finish of the day, everyone in your group ought to have the ability to inform the story from the Choices again as much as the Visions and the way the enterprise ought to attain them. It’s the CPO’s job to allow folks to inform this story.
Don’t rush via the technique course of to get the ball rolling shortly. It’s on the coronary heart of your job, so deal with your product technique fastidiously and diligently. Try Amplitude’s free product technique template for a straightforward option to get began.
4. Earn the belief of the chief group by being a group participant
Melissa defined the way it’s snug for chief product officers to spend time with their group of product managers. However CPOs usually overlook that they’re a part of the chief group. As a CPO, gaining the belief of different executives is crucial and the way you retain your spot on the C-suite desk.
By treating the C-suite as your group, you study to speak with executives the identical method you probably did along with your product group. You’ll pay attention and study from different executives to construct belief and rapport. Having that belief will make your job simpler as a brand new member of the group.
A group participant additionally is aware of when to pay attention and ask questions, particularly in difficult conditions. Get to know your fellow leaders and perceive their position within the enterprise. You will see it simpler to share your concepts, talk your impression, and hold your seat on the desk.
Communication is significant as a CPO
It’s one factor to get a job as a chief product officer and one other to thrive in it. As a CPO, you should acknowledge your strengths and align your ability set to the stage your product is in and your organization’s enterprise objectives.
Clear communication is the one ability that CPOs throughout firm sizes and industries will need to have of their toolbox. It should assist steadiness the product and government groups and ensure you’re in a position to talk your product technique successfully to each.
Watch Melissa Perri’s complete session to study extra about find out how to arrange techniques that will help you scale, rent the precise folks to your group, and dive deeper into the product technique course of.