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Chief Product Officer (CPO)

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What Is a Chief Product Officer? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

Chief product officers (CPOs) are the highest position of product teams and drive defining product initiatives and expectations. Here’s what to know about a chief product officer’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is a Chief Product Officer?

Chief product officers are the head of product departments and conduct all high-level product development roadmapping, strategies and operations. They may collaborate directly with a company’s chief executive officer (CEO) and other department officers to meet key business objectives.


What Do Chief Product Officers Do?

Chief product officers create and implement overarching product strategies, track decisive product and market analytics as well as align the goals of product, engineering, marketing and related development teams.

Chief Product Officer Responsibilities

  • Direct and implement company-wide product vision and strategies. 
  • Oversee product development initiatives and roadmaps from conception to launch. 
  • Guide VP of product and product management director in accordance with strategic goals.
  • Understand product and market metrics to inform significant decisions.
  • Communicate development progress, suggestions and concerns directly with the CEO or other department officers.
  • Handle sensitive team and product information. 

Chief Product Officers Within a Company

Chief product officers are the primary leader of product teams, overseeing the work of vice presidents and directors of product within a company. They tend to report directly to a company’s CEO or similar C-suite executive role.

Importance of Chief Product Officers

Chief product officers hold the highest responsibility over a company’s product department and related product development. They relay business-critical information and shape goals between product teams, other department officers and C-suite roles.

What Does a Chief Product Officer Do? | Video: Product HQ


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Chief Product Officer?

Qualifications to Be a Chief Product Officer

  • Ten or more years of experience in product management, product development technical leadership or related roles.
  • Ability to create and execute company-wide product strategies and product vision.
  • Ability to communicate significance of product and lead a large-scale production roadmap.
  • Ability to align multiple teams and resolve issues in accordance with business objectives.
  • Familiarity with product management software and related tools used by product directors and managers.

Chief Product Officer Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, economics, marketing or related field.

Chief Product Officer Hard Skills

  • Mastery and comprehensive experience in product management and product development life cycles.
  • Full understanding of product strategy development and roadmapping tools.
  • Extensive knowledge of project management tools.
  • High-level modern technical and product knowledge.

Chief Product Officer Soft Skills

  • Adaptability.
  • Analytical thinking skills.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Detail orientation.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Project management best practices.
  • Leadership and ownership skills.
  • Verbal and written communication skills.
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How to Become a Chief Product Officer

Chief Product Officer Education and Experience

Chief product officers often hold a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, marketing or a related field. Some also earn a master’s or doctoral degree in business administration (MBA), product management or a related field.

Chief product officers usually hold ten or more years of experience in product management or product development and leadership. Knowledge of product strategy development, product initiative development, high-level product roadmapping, product analysis, product marketing, project management and cross-team collaboration are recommended.  

Chief Product Officer Certificates and Courses

Chief Product Officer Career Path

Chief product officers will likely have several years of experience in roles like product manager, director of product management and vice president of product before stepping into the CPO role. 


Chief Product Officer Salary and Job Outlook

Marketing management roles, including officer and management roles for products, are expected to grow 10 percent by 2031.

The full compensation package for a chief product officer depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average chief product officer salary. 


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