Getting a head of item is a vocation aspiration for several product or service professionals and products house owners. But what exactly must a head of merchandise do? Which are the obligations the unique should really fulfil? Go through on to discover out my respond to.

Pay attention to this report:

The Head of Merchandise Position

A head of solution is a person who manages a team of product people—individuals who look immediately after just one or much more products and who may be referred to as product or service manager or products proprietor. Based on the measurement and org framework of your organization, the role may well also be referred to as Main Item Officer, VP Item, or Director of Product or service Administration.[1]

As the head of product or service, you play a critical part in acquiring the people on your staff, making an setting that will help them triumph, and enhancing the effectiveness of the product administration purpose in the business.[2]

The tasks I share under are primarily based on my function with product leaders and product practitioners. To make the duties extra accessible, I have grouped them into four sets: folks administration, processes and applications, business enterprise approach and organisational growth, and self-leadership. Note that I have held the description of the duties concise. To understand more, you should comply with the backlinks in the textual content.

Be aware that there is no a person proper way to implement the head of product function or a golden common for performing the position. You should really consequently tailor my recommendations to your team and organisation. The finest way to do this is to check with the persons on the item management team how you can properly assist them as the head of item.

Individuals Management

  • Create an atmosphere where men and women really feel valued and equipped to speak their minds. Genuinely treatment about the individuals on your team and display appreciation for their efforts. Apply active listening, empathise with the workforce members, communicate and act with integrity, and develop powerful, trustful connections. Give folks a alternative about the items they do the job on, for case in point, by making use of self-variety. This boosts drive and it shows the team members that you worth them.
  • Established clear expectations and agree on distinct, measurable, and end result-based mostly aims. Owning well-defined roles in spot will support you with this, as I’ll discuss underneath.
  • Make confident that the merchandise folks have the authority and autonomy they need to triumph in their employment. People today who regulate items should really have complete-stack possession and be empowered to make not only tactical product selections but also strategic ones. Additionally, ensure that the items are loosely coupled so that they can be effectively progressed and not held back by dependencies.
  • Maintain men and women accountable to meet up with the agreed ambitions. Use, for instance, the CEDAR design and appreciative inquiry procedures to offer you responses in the appropriate way and aid people today get back again on monitor.
  • Produce the people today on the team. Enable them get greater at products management and develop as item pros. This includes attaining new capabilities and deepening existing ones—depending on the distinct position the human being plays. You could possibly attain this by mentoring and coaching the folks as effectively as recommending ideal training programs. Really don’t forget about to capture the discovering and growth evaluate, for illustration, on a understanding roadmap.
  • Build crystal clear profession paths to keep crew users and clearly show them how they can progress their occupations. For occasion, another person could start as a aspect owner, then choose on the Scrum item operator role, next come to be a portfolio supervisor and eventually a head of products.
  • Persuade a development state of mind and create a failure-tolerant surroundings wherever experiencing setbacks and creating issues is found as a necessary component of understanding new techniques as effectively as bringing new merchandise and options to dwell. Just one way to do this is to share failure activities from your career.
  • Take out impediments the workforce customers deal with and act as an escalation associate for difficulties the specific item people today can’t resolve. Illustrations are extreme red tape and the absence of qualified Scrum Masters.
  • Assist the team customers practise sustainable pace so they don’t sacrifice their wellbeing but keep healthy and determined. For case in point, encourage men and women to choose frequent breaks from function and do not anticipate them to function more hours, at the very least not on a typical foundation.
  • Grow the product or service management crew. This consists of generating work descriptions and interviewing candidates. A great way to establish the team is to organise all over goods, as I explore in extra depth in the write-up Recommendations for Expanding a Products Management Team.

  • Make certain that the item administration roles are well described and comprehended by all team members. Obviously state the authority, duties, and vital techniques of each individual function. Require the workforce member in describing the roles. This leverages their expertise, results in a shared comprehension, and displays them that you benefit their input.
  • Assist establish the correct product or service management processes. For illustration, concur with the staff members what ambitions must be used to manage the products and solutions, how product discovery is practised, how typically the product or service technique and roadmap are reviewed, how the right KPIs are picked, and how merchandise backlog refinement is carried out.
  • Aid the assortment of the appropriate product or service management equipment, for occasion, to seize the item technique, to explain the products roadmap, and to handle the merchandise backlog.
  • Assistance the people today on your group continuously increase their way of doing the job. Established some time apart the moment for every quarter to collaboratively assessment the roles, procedures, and instruments, discuss any challenges and improvement strategies, and alter them appropriately.
  • Make sure that the solution portfolio—the team of solutions the staff members look after—is successfully managed. This consists of setting strategic targets for the portfolio, balancing the team of products and solutions, running dependencies concerning items, and aligning launch dates. As the head of item, you may possibly be capable to have out this do the job, particularly if the portfolio is not as well big. If which is not the scenario, employ a focused product portfolio supervisor who carries out the operate.

Business enterprise Technique and Organisational Development

  • Lead to the small business method. Make certain that the strategy is sensible and share it with the solution folks. This will assistance them fully grasp the course the business is heading in and the strategic objectives the overall enterprise is pursuing.
  • Represent the product or service administration purpose on the leadership workforce (when you act as a Chief Merchandise Officer, VP Merchandise, or Director of Merchandise Administration), and make strong connections with the other heads, for occasion, head of progress, head of advertising, and head of sales.
  • Foyer for the needed organisational alterations to fully set up an helpful solution management perform, if expected. This may consist of securing the required empowerment for the product folks on your team and creating a item-led way of operating.


  • Seem immediately after yourself. Be certain that your workload is sustainable and that you keep nutritious and inspired. There is no issue in doing an incredible job for your workforce and corporation but becoming continuously overworked. Cultivating mindfulness will enable you place early indicators of pressure so you can swiftly react and alter your get the job done. Acquiring self-compassion will aid you being kind towards yourself. It avoids staying overly self-crucial and expecting far too considerably of on your own.
  • Just take time to reflect on your very own get the job done. Recognize ways to bolster your techniques, acquire as a leader, and get far better at guiding and supporting some others. For occasion, you may possibly choose to deal with a lingering conflict, transform your management model, or make a concentrated effort to follow energetic listening.
  • Invest in your possess career enhancement and figure out the steps that will enable you take the up coming move.


[1] See Rich Mironov, “Employing a Head of Solution.”

[2] This method is encouraged by Esther Derby’s perform, which builds on Kurt Lewin insight that the conduct an particular person displays is the final result of the person and the atmosphere, see “Abilities Are Only 50 % the Equation for Success.”


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