I’ve seen some patterns in how companies recruit their Heads of Product (aka Chief Product Officer, VP Product, Director of Product Management, or Group Product Lead). This post unpacks some fundamental misconceptions — and how to get the strong product leadership we need.
As product folks, we should be responsible for reasonably anticipating misuses of our products, as well as harm that flows from fundamental product/economic goals. It’s not clear how we step up to this, though.
I talk with lots of senior individual contributors about the risks and challenges of moving “up the ladder” into product leadership roles. Here’s a survey I fielded to capture their top questions and concerns about getting promoted. What do product leaders do? How do product managers signal their interest in becoming one?
Various product management schools, workshops and certificate programs strongly suggest that attendees will get jobs as product managers. Success metrics seem critical here, but are notably missing. “Of the people who’s already spent thousands of their own dollars on this course, how many are now working as product managers…?”
Recruiters and hiring managers wade through a tall stack of incoming resumes, most of which are not at all a fit, and often miss subtleties. Strong candidates may need to work around the process to make an impression and get hired.
New product managers have often studied the daily mechanics of the product development process, but tend to be light on soft skills, product strategy, organizational savvy, and market insight. Where do they get into trouble?