CPO is the highest-ranking product manager who is expected to align product development with the company’s business strategy and customer needs. To achieve this broad and challenging goal, the CPO takes responsibility for the following tasks and processes.
Developing product vision
Product vision reflects the core value and mission of the company’s offering. It explains how the product will impact the lives of customers and, globally, how it can change the world for the better.
Some popular product vision statements are
“to create innovative technology that is accessible to everyone and that adapts to each person’s needs.” (Microsoft)
“to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” (Amazon)
“to provide access to the world’s information in one click.” (Google)
“to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” (LinkedIn)
Developing a product strategy
To realize their vision, companies need a long-term plan or product strategy that outlines how exactly they are going to turn concepts into a sustainable product that will drive profits. The strategy considers inner resources of the organization as well as external factors — business climate, competition and, of course, customer needs. It connects the vision and financial outcomes, assisting in making daily decisions.
Product development strategy: from vision to roadmap. Source: This is Product Management
Building product vision and strategy is one of the CPO’s critical responsibilities. It requires a deep understanding of users and their requirements, the ability to see the big picture and passion for delivering innovative solutions.
Managing cross-functional teams
To create a winning solution, a company must coordinate efforts of employees from various functional areas: software engineers, product managers, UX/UI designers, analytics, and marketers. It is up to the CPO to lead these separate groups to the common goal, clearly communicating the company’s vision of the outcome to employees with different backgrounds.
In a way, the CPO acts as a mini-CEO who orchestrates processes across multiple departments and coordinates principals like the Head of the UX Department, VP of Product, Director of Product Marketing.
Product marketing and evangelism
The CPO is a key person in product promotion and sales, the executive responsible for a product’s constant refining so that it continues to appeal to loyal customers and attract new ones.
To make the right marketing decisions, the CPO uses product analytics data, communicates with salespeople, and studies customer feedback. The executive also takes part in presentations of the product during exhibitions, conferences, meetings, and other events. The CPO delivers speeches explaining the value and mission of the product to the broad audience.
Continuous customer research and product analysis
The leader of the product division initiates and supervises various types of customer research to get insights into their practical needs and emotional desires. Research data is used to plan improvements and differentiate the product from its competitors.
The CPO also aligns plans and strategies with product performance metrics (KPIs), which reflect revenue as well as customer growth, engagement, and retention.
CPO functions can vary from company to company, but to perform them an extensive educational and professional background is required.