What is the Difference between Product Manager, Head of Product, Director of Product, and Chief Product Officer?

Even if we would frequently hear this title, we might not be aware of the distinctions between them or we might mistake one for the other. Product manager, Head of Product, Director of Product , and Chief Product Officer are the four position that make up these roles.

25 days ago   •   3 min read

Ferhan Gül

Big companies create different titles within the team to share their work within the team and to enable their teams to work more efficiently. These titles are abundantly available within the product team.

Even if we would frequently hear this title, we might not be aware of the distinctions between them or we might mistake one for the other. Product manager, Head of Product, Director of Product , and Chief Product Officer are the four position that make up these roles.

What is Product Manager?

A product manager ties together corporate strategy, design expertise, and consumer demands to create products that are useful, practical, and valuable. PMs are concerned with making a product as efficient as possible while still meeting user needs and company objectives.

The entire transparent area surrounding the product is managed by the product manager. The product manager works in three main groups: technology, business and design. Think of them as connective tissue.

What is Head of Product?

Head of product is a business title for the person in charge of a company's product development. This person is in charge of creating new products and ensuring that they are suitable for the company's target market.

A Head of Product should be extremely knowledgeable in such matters:

  • marketing strategies
  • strategic thinking
  • business
  • technical analysis
  • interpersonal relationship
  • flexibility capabilities

They are most common in technology companies, or organizations where technology is now a large part of the way they serve customers (such as banks and newspapers).

What is Director of Product?

The director of product is the person in charge of overseeing the product development lifecycle. This individual is a leader who can aid other product experts in their job and address any issues they may encounter.

A Director of Product should be extremely knowledgeable in such matters:

  • market research
  • product research
  • competitor research
  • technical product development
  • data analysis
  • computer programming
  • web development
  • technical writing
  • understanding of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design

At the same time, the Director of Product is a role that evolves over time, with the individual generally starting their career as a Junior Product Manager or other forms of junior role. From there, with time and experience, an individual can progress through the hierarchy until they are promoted to Director of Product

What is Chief Product Officer?

A chief product officer is the head of the product department who is responsible for the product discipline. A CPO is someone who oversees teams and products to improve customer results. It is an essential job for businesses to scale. For their work in product-related execution and strategy, a chief product officer may also go by the titles of vice president or head of product, product head, and other titles. A chief product officer is responsible for overseeing the efficient delivery of products.

A Chief Product Officer should be extremely knowledgeable in such matters:

  • be strong leaders and supervisors
  • be capable of understanding and interpreting data
  • possess strategic product vision skills
  • understand marketing and publicity
  • be sensitive to customers and users

The CPO is to the business's product what the CTO is to technology. They focus on bringing the product strategy to align with the business strategy and to deploy that throughout the organization. They are most common in technology companies, or organizations where technology is now a large part of the way they serve customers (such as banks and newspapers).

In summary

Even though the titles are similar, it becomes clear that they refer to different departments when we consider what they actually signify. Product managers are in charge of the technology, design, and business elements. The division, referred to as the Head of Product, collaborates with the commercial division and completes technical tasks. The Director of the Product Department, evolves into a framework that combines technology and product, especially by incorporating computer science. The chief product officer is also accountable for being a strong leader, overseeing the user-product relationship, and selecting the marketing strategy.

Finally, we understand that not every company needs 4 different product titles. Companies need product people who go paralell with their work. For example, 1 Chief Product Officer/ Head of Product / Director of Product can manage the product team of a company. But other companies may need 2 different product titles. The main thing here is to understand companies products and product titles.


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