VP of Product for Multi-Million Enterprise SaaS Platform
Former Founding PM for $20M-Raised Startup
- Mobile Apps
Former VP of Product and Interim CEO for 100K+ User SaaS Startup
3X Founder and Award-Winning Product Executive
Marketing Executive with Cybersecurity Experience
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How to Hire a Great Head of Product
What does a fractional Head of Product do?
A Fractional Head of Product, sometimes known as a Part-Time CPO (Chief Product Officer), is a part-time or contract-based role occupied by an experienced product lead who directs the company’s product vision and strategy. It’s usually sought out by startups and small-to-medium product-led companies who want to either build a formal product function or provide senior leadership to their current product team.
Here’s what a fractional Head of Product typically does:
- Sets the process and standard procedures for product development from ideation to launch.
- Provides guidance to product managers and product trios on key product decisions.
- Works with multiple teams, including engineering, design, sales, marketing, and customer success, to ensure handoff of product development, design, and marketing transitions smoothly.
Alignment of Product and Business Goals
- Ensures the goals of the product team(s) are aligned with overall business goals set by the executive or leadership teams.
Product Vision and Strategy Creation
- Develops a long-term vision for the product to guide strategic decisions.
- Creates a product strategy that builds towards that product vision over time.
Product Roadmap Planning
- Builds out the product roadmap of specific features to be developed and when.
- Updates and pivots within the roadmap when necessary.
Stakeholder Collaboration and Alignment
- Champions the product vision and roadmap during key decision-making periods.
- Communicates regularly with stakeholders, especially within the leadership team, to align expectations and ensure continual progression of the product roadmap.
Goal-Setting and Measurement for High-Level Product Metrics
- Identifies the most useful metrics for measurement of overall product success.
- Tracks and updates approaches based on metric progress.
A fractional Head of Product can be a fresh set of eyes to identify the best opportunities for a product. For businesses with newer product functions or product teams suffering from a lack of cohesion, a fractional Head of Product provides necessary leadership, alignment, and guidance on strategy.
When to Hire
When to hire a fractional Head of Product?
A fractional Head of Product is often a smart choice for companies with newer product functions. Here are some scenarios when you might want to consider hiring a fractional Head of Product:
Developing A Formal Product Function:
- Most companies initially develop their product approaches on-the-fly and may be missing components or processes for their team. A Fractional Head of Product can unite engineering, design, and product contributors into a productive product function without the cost of a full-time hire.
Exploring New Product Opportunities
- If your company wants to pursue new product opportunities, a fractional Head of Product can provide senior expertise in a cost-effective manner.
Uniting Multiple Product Teams
- If your company already has multiple product teams responsible for different products or parts of a product, a Fractional Head of Product can ensure those teams are in alignment and work together to create success.
Decreasing Founder Workload
- Almost every founder will eventually find they can’t “do it all” as their company continues to grow. A fractional Head of Product is a cost-effective way to free up a founder’s time and resources to focus on areas outside the product.
Transitioning Between Founder-Led Product and CPO:
- For companies that start off with the founder acting as product leader, a Fractional Head of Product can provide an excellent bridge between the founder and a full-time CPO hire.