Head of Product
If you’re interested in exploring Head of Product job opportunities or gaining insights into the role, such as salary ranges and the key qualities required for success, you’ll find a comprehensive guide below.
If you’re an employer searching for the perfect candidate to fill a Head of Product or Product Lead position, we invite you to explore our product management recruitment services and discover a detailed overview of the services we offer to employers.
What is a Head of Product?
A Head of Product is responsible for overseeing the development and management of a product or a portfolio of products. They play a crucial role in defining the product strategy, setting the product vision, and ensuring the successful execution of product initiatives.
The Head of Product is typically involved in various aspects of the product lifecycle, including conducting market research, gathering customer insights, defining product requirements, collaborating with cross-functional teams (such as engineering, design, and marketing), and prioritising feature development. They work closely with stakeholders to align product goals with business objectives and ensure that the product meets the needs of the target market.
In addition to strategic responsibilities, a Head of Product may also be involved in tactical activities such as conducting competitive analysis, monitoring product performance and user feedback, and making data-driven decisions to drive product improvements. Strong leadership, communication, and analytical skills are essential for this role, as the Head of Product needs to effectively guide and collaborate with teams, influence decision-making, and drive innovation.
Head of Product responsibilities
In addition to strategic responsibilities, a Head of Product may also be involved in tactical activities such as conducting competitive analysis, monitoring product performance and user feedback, and making data-driven decisions to drive product improvements.
Strong leadership, communication, and analytical skills are essential for this role, as the Head of Product needs to effectively guide and collaborate with teams, influence decision-making, and drive innovation within the organisation.
The top 10 responsibilities of a Head of Product are usually:
Defining a clear product vision: setting a clear and inspiring vision for the product, outlining its purpose, target market, and unique value proposition. This guides the entire product team and aligns their efforts towards a common goal.
Conducting competitor analysis: monitoring the competitive landscape, identifying competitor offerings, strengths, and weaknesses. This analysis helps inform product differentiation strategies and ensures the product remains competitive in the market.
Conducting user research: Through user research methods such as interviews, surveys, and usability testing, the Head of Product gathers deep insights into user needs, pain points, and preferences. This data informs product decisions, ensuring that user-centric features are developed.
Defining product requirements: Based on market research and user insights, the Head of Product creates detailed product requirements that outline the functionality, user experience, and technical specifications. These requirements serve as a roadmap for the development team, guiding the creation of a high-quality product.
Setting product roadmap: Createing a strategic roadmap that outlines the product’s future development, including feature releases, enhancements, and major milestones. They prioritise the roadmap based on market opportunities, customer needs, and business goals, ensuring resources are allocated effectively.
Monitoring key product metrics: establishing and tracking key product metrics, such as user adoption, retention, and revenue generated. They analyse these metrics to assess the product’s performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to improve business outcomes.
Product team management: managing a diverse team of product managers, designers, and engineers. They provide guidance, support, and mentorship to ensure efficient collaboration, effective decision-making, and timely delivery of high-quality products.
Partnering with sales and marketing: collaborating closely with sales and marketing teams, providing product expertise, training, and support. They ensure that sales teams have the necessary product knowledge to effectively sell the product, while marketing teams have the right messaging and materials to promote it.
Product launches: coordinating and overseeing product launches, working closely with cross-functional teams to ensure successful and impactful launches. They develop launch strategies, coordinate marketing campaigns, and monitor customer feedback to refine the product post-launch.
Product innovation: encouraging creativity within the team, and exploring new technologies and market trends. They identify opportunities for product innovation, drive experimentation, and champion continuous improvement to stay ahead of market demands and drive business growth.
Head of Product salary
On average, a Head of Product in the UK can expect a salary range of £90,000 to £110,000 per year.
In addition to the salary range, candidates may want to consider:
Bonus and incentives: the potential for performance-based bonuses or incentives tied to achieving key objectives or milestones.
Equity or stock options: Some companies, particularly start-ups or high-growth organisations, may offer equity or stock options as part of the compensation package. This provides the opportunity to share in the company’s success and potentially gain financial rewards as the company grows.
Salary progression: inquire about opportunities for salary increases, performance reviews, and career advancement within the organisation over time.
Benchmarking: research industry benchmarks and compare the offered salary with market rates to ensure that they are being compensated fairly and competitively for their skills and experience.
Read our guide:
Product management salary 2023
Head of Product job description
A typical Head of Product job description will read something like the below:
The Head of Product will join the founding team as the first product hire to define the product strategy and roadmap, build a team, implement feature delivery, and drive a product first environment.
The Head of Product will be responsible for:
- Driving product development and the product roadmap
- Developing a mass market customer proposition
- Develop a deep understanding of the needs of the audience
- Align stakeholders, direct the product roadmap, prioritise features, build consensus, and coordinate product schedules with wider business
- Defining, hiring, coaching and mentoring a full team of product managers
- Foster a culture of testing, data-driven decision making, and accountability for metrics and results
- Staying hands on – the role will come with line management of product managers but in the early days it’ll just be you
The Head of Product will have:
- Have a strong background consumer mobile app and/or fintech product management experience
- Product team leadership experience
- Achieved success delivering consumer facing products that drive real user value and business financial goals
- Leveraged both user experience and AB testing to find product/market fit
- You create structure out of ambiguity and have a pragmatic “can do” and “make it happen” attitude in a collaborative way
Download full Head of Product job description
Head of Product career path
The career path for a Head of Product can vary depending on factors such as industry, company size, and individual aspirations. While there is no set linear path, here are some common career progression opportunities for Heads of Product:
Senior Product Manager: Many Heads of Product start their career as Senior Product Managers. In this role, they gain experience in product strategy, roadmap planning, and cross-functional collaboration. Senior Product Managers typically manage a specific product or product line.
Product Director: After gaining extensive experience as a Head of Product, individuals may progress to a Director role. In this position, they oversee multiple product teams, drive the overall product strategy, and collaborate with executive leadership to align product goals with business objectives.
Vice President Product: This role involves leading the entire product team. They are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the product portfolio, managing a team of Directors and Product Managers, and driving the overall product vision and innovation.
Chief Product Officer (CPO): As a CPO, the role takes on strategic leadership responsibilities, overseeing the entire product function, influencing company-wide product strategy, and aligning product initiatives with business objectives. The CPO works closely with the executive team and plays a crucial role in driving the company’s growth and success.
What skills does a Head of Product need?
If you are a candidate looking for a Head of Product role within a start-up tech organisation for example, you would need specific skills to effectively navigate the unique challenges this role presents.
Some of the common challenges faced by a Head of Product include:
– balancing priorities and workload
– stakeholder alignment
– managing ambiguity
– scalability and growth (across the short term and long term)
– managing change
– accurately measuring success.
With these challenges in mind, here are key skills that a Head of Product should possess:
A Head of Product in a start-up needs to have an entrepreneurial mindset, embracing a fast-paced, agile environment and being comfortable with ambiguity and risk. They should be proactive, adaptable, and able to thrive in a dynamic start-up culture.
The ability to develop a clear product strategy and articulate a compelling product vision is crucial. The candidate should be skilled in aligning the product roadmap with business goals, identifying market opportunities, and driving innovation.
Conducting thorough market research, gathering user insights, and staying informed about the competitive landscape are essential skills. The Head of Product should be able to identify user needs, pain points, and emerging trends to inform product decisions and ensure the product meets customer demands.
Lean and Agile methodologies
Proficiency in lean and agile methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, is vital for effectively managing product development cycles within a startup. This includes being skilled in prioritising features, managing backlogs, and delivering iterative releases in a lean and efficient manner.
A strong understanding of product analytics and the ability to derive actionable insights from data is crucial. The Head of Product should be skilled in leveraging metrics and user feedback to make informed decisions, improve product performance, and drive continuous improvement.
UX/UI design principles
While this role may not be a designer themselves, having a solid understanding of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design principles is essential. They should be able to collaborate effectively with design teams, ensuring that the product delivers a seamless and intuitive user experience.
While not necessarily needing to be a software engineer, the Head of Product should possess a strong technical acumen. They should have a good understanding of technology trends, be able to communicate effectively with the engineering team, and make informed decisions about technical trade-offs and feasibility.
This person should possess the ability to identify and validate product-market fit. This involves understanding the target market, validating assumptions, conducting user testing, and iterating the product based on feedback to ensure it meets customer needs and achieves market success.
Collaboration with cross-functional teams is essential. The Head of Product should excel in working closely with engineers, designers, marketers, and other stakeholders, fostering effective communication, and ensuring alignment to deliver successful product outcomes.
Growth and monetisation strategies
This role should have expertise in formulating growth and monetisation strategies for the product. They should be skilled in identifying revenue opportunities, defining pricing models, and driving customer acquisition, retention, and monetisation efforts.
These specific skills, in addition to the more general communication and leadership skills, enable a candidate to excel in the unique challenges and opportunities presented in a start-up tech company.
Head of Product tools
As a Head of Product, several unique tools can enhance productivity and streamline daily tasks. Here are some tools that can be beneficial:
Maze – User testing platform: Maze allows you to conduct user testing and gather valuable insights on your product’s usability and user experience. It helps you create and run tests efficiently, collect data, and analyse results.
Feature Upvote – feature prioritisation and feedback management: Feature Upvote is a tool designed to manage feature requests, prioritise them, and gather feedback from users. It helps streamline the product roadmap and decision-making process.
Miro – collaborative whiteboarding: Miro is a versatile online whiteboard tool that facilitates collaboration and brainstorming sessions. It enables visualising product concepts, organising ideas, and collaborating with cross-functional teams.
ProdPad – product management tool: ProdPad offers a comprehensive suite of product management features, including roadmapping, idea management, prioritisation, and feedback tracking. It helps you centralise product-related information and collaborate effectively with stakeholders.
Roadmunk – visual roadmapping: Roadmunk is a visual roadmapping tool that allows you to create and share interactive product roadmaps. It helps communicate product strategy, timelines, and dependencies in a visually appealing and easily digestible format.
Chameleon – product adoption and user onboarding: Chameleon provides a platform to create interactive product tours, tooltips, and in-app messaging to guide users through your product. It helps improve user onboarding, increase feature adoption, and reduce churn.
Userpilot – user engagement and product adoption: Userpilot offers a user engagement platform that enables you to create personalised onboarding experiences, feature adoption campaigns, and in-app surveys. It helps drive user engagement and optimise the user journey.
Pendo – product experience platform: Pendo provides a comprehensive platform to understand user behaviour, gather product usage analytics, and deliver targeted in-app messages and walkthroughs. It helps improve product experiences and drive user engagement.
Appcues – user onboarding and product adoption: Appcues is a user onboarding and product adoption platform that allows you to create interactive product tours, tooltips, and in-app messages without coding. It helps improve user activation and engagement.
Notion – collaboration and knowledge management: Notion is an all-in-one collaboration tool that combines note-taking, project management, and knowledge sharing. It helps you organise product-related information, collaborate with teams, and keep track of important documentation.
Head of Product FAQs
- What does a head of product do?
- A Head of Product is responsible for designing and executing the overall product strategy, including insights from customer and competitor analysis. By understanding any gaps in the market, the Head of Product can lead their team, within budget, to design and deliver the product roadmap against the business vision. The Head of Product will need to possess good leadership skills to ensure their team is working efficiently and effectively to deliver results for the business.
- What is the salary for a head of product management?
- A Head of Product Management vacancy in today's market will be advertised within the region of £95,000 and £130,000. Often this salary will be enhanced through a benefits package to include pension contributions, healthcare insurances, and performance bonuses.
- How do you become a Head of Product?
- A Head of Product is often promoted from a Senior Product Manager position. This often requires a transition from owning one product or set of products, to owning the whole product portfolio of the business.
- What makes a good Head of Product?
- A good Head of Product is responsible for ensuring the customer is considered at each stage of the development process and oversee the product experience from start to finish. This process will require excellent cross functional communication, collaboration, and leadership skills.
- How much are Head of Product / Product Leads paid in the UK?
- A Head of Product could expect to be paid £95,000 to £130,000 in the UK. This would be dependent on many factors including the business and its growth ambition and financing status.