Hiring a Head of Product

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.

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Lying To Customers

I don’t think that product managers should lie to customers or prospects. In enterprise selling cycles, though, there is a lot of gray space around what’s true enough. Can we draw some hazy lines?

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Delegation for Product Leaders

Leading a product management team includes delegating most product-level decision-making. How do we match that to team maturity and differing difficulties of various product work?

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Product Consequences and a Product Code of Ethics?

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.

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What Do Product Leaders Do?

Product leaders look after teams of products managers, and sometimes designers or developers. What do they do, and how is it different from the individual product managers on their team?

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The Product Leadership Career Ladder

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?

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Videocast: Moving Up into a Product Leadership Role

A videocast with Mike Belsito of Product Collective about “Moving Up into a Product Leadership Roles”

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Metrics for Product Career Schools?

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…?”

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What Do Recruiters Look For in a Product Management Resume?

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.

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Eight Mistakes You’ll (Probably) Make in Your First Product Management Job

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?

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