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A force for good or lip service?

According to LinkedIn, there are 750K profiles that list people in product roles and the number of Chief Product Officer roles is only gathering pace. Below we outline the requirements that a Chief Product Officer needs to succeed in your organisation.

What do you need to succeed as a Chief Product Officer?


As the Chief Product Officer role continues to gain momentum, My Product Path have outlined what we think it takes to succeed in the role


Key Requirements

  • Balances the technical side of things with the non-technical. A solid all-rounder from a management perspective.
  • Obsessed with the needs of the customer, develops strategy around market and customer requirements.
  • Ability to lead and inspire x-functionally across numerous departments, technical and non-technical.
  • Sits on the top table. If not then you are fighting against the tide already.
  • Mini-CEO to be as effective as possible.
  • P&L management is a must. If you don’t have it. Go get it!
  • Execution is massive. Nice words and PowerPoint only get you so far! This is what you will be judged on.
  • Strong product culture. The product needs to be at the heart of the business, not the feet.


  • How are you assessing a product leader’s competence? By using your senior management team? Do they understand product? Getting an assessment of their skillset during the shortlisting phase is key. Use a recruitment company who specialises in product hires and use industry experts to validate skillset.

Budget to Succeed

  • Don’t hire a CPO and then have them doing a jumped-up product owner role. Give them support to grow the team and to structure it correctly to the needs of the business.

Combining Accountability

  • The chief product and technology officer (CPTO) is a worrying development and amounts to a CTO whom product reports into or vice versa. Clear and distinct accountability for these areas is necessary as otherwise products are developed into existing tech roadmap or technology follows product without any influence or challenge. Of course, there will be projects or phases of companies growth where it may work but long term will fail.

Lack of influence

  • If the CPO doesn’t report to the board regularly and drive company strategy then it’s a head of product dressed up as a CPO.

CEO who understands product

  • Doesn’t have to be a product person but needs to understand how a good product person can drive a company forward.

Agile structure

  • I’ve seen examples of where CPO’s are brought into rigid waterfall structured organisations. It will fail.


  • If you’ve not assessed whether the CPO will lead you to the culture you want to create then you’ll waste 1 year of their and your companies time. Psychometric testing of the candidates, your management team and cultural assessment are key.

The verdict

Having a CPO in your executive management team is a force for good given the undeniable advantages. The success of the appointment depends on the hiring, onboarding and organisation culture.

At MPP we have placed a number of CPO’s this year through a unique packaged solution and you are one click away from understanding what good now looks and feels like.

So if you do need support in hiring your next CPO, feel free to get in touch with us:

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