Guidelines for a New Head of Product

For a new Head of Product, the beginning can be intimidating. There’s so much to know, and so many functionalities within a company to factor in. This can range from establishing trust to discerning the underlying issues that are presently occurring throughout the creation of the product. There are many things that you’ll need to accomplish, but here are some of the most important tasks you could do as a fresh Head of Product, as well as questions that you should give thought to. 

How to Get Started

As a new Head of Product, your first order of business after being assigned should be to familiarize yourself with the work environment. This includes the teammates, customers, and how cross-functional communication works within the company.

You should begin to fully build empathy and trust amongst your peers. One simple way to accomplish this is to create a guideline for yourself and share it with your peers. Show what you will accomplish within the company within an X amount of days, and make sure to get all of it done. This will demonstrate to your teammates that they can trust you, as you’ve finished all the work that you’d promised.

What should you include in your list of tasks to prioritize? Conduct one-on-one meetings with everyone involved, from teammates to customers, and highlight the main concerns you discussed.

Head of Product and Strategy

Another aspect of the Head of Product position to focus on is deeply understanding the company’s Product Strategy. A Head of Product should fully grasp what is going to be occurring within the next few months. Understand what issues or plans are ongoing, as well as how the company currently plans on tackling each task. There are multiple key questions you’ll need to answer:

  • Is this problem that the company is facing a large-scale issue, or is there an even larger issue affecting the situation?
  • Is the solution offered by the company the best solution, compared to the alternatives? Does it fully solve the core problem? How much more difficult or time-consuming would the solution be, compared to the alternatives? 
  • Is the product design as impactful as possible? Will it increase user retention or garner user attention? 
  • Are the deadlines for the product to be fully built and publicly released realistic? Can the team accomplish their tasks within the time frame?
  • Is the product being hurried? If so, what risks or gaps does that create?
  • How is the product different from the competitors that it can garnish some distinct attention? 

There are many factors to consider when becoming a Head of Product, but when first stepping up as one for a company, these are the primary factors you should consider. Make sure to establish trust, and to fully understand the product, including the issues currently present, possible future issues, and solutions.

Need a Hand?

There are so many skills required when it comes to being a Head of Product, but having past experience in that specific role isn’t the only way to prepare yourself. There are so many transferable skills from previous roles that can help you when it comes to interviewing for Head of Product jobs. For more help, check out our free training on writing the very best Product Manager resume, or schedule a call with one of our career coaches.

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