Chief Product Officer in the Stages of Growth

Harvard Business School sees 5 stages of growth in any business. Often for small to Mid-Sized businesses there is the challenge of what was successful to build the first stage of growth is not sufficient for the next. That exciting, chaotic and founder driven success now creaks with the size of the team. What were simple meetings in coffee shops or around the table now need to be more formal.

However the founder may be someone with a technology mindset and struggles to let go. They may feel that:

  • they are losing access to their ‘baby’,
  • they are the only one who knows the technology
  • obliged to do every thing

For this person, having a Chief Product Officer, gives them a sounding board for ideas, and an ally in the growth of the business. It releases them from thinking about ALL aspects of the product, to spend more time on the growth of the business.

Another type of founder is someone with a sales mindset. They may feel that:

  • processes constrain the business and create bureaucracy – just do it
  • a product roadmap stops them from innovation
  • the detail is boring

For this person, having a Chief Product Officer, who drives the process means that ideas are not lost, the founder can spend time on decision making and not chasing, and that ideas are widened in the business.

A starting point about moving to the next stage of growth is to get insights on the personality types of all the leaders, and adapt the product decision processes to those personality styles.

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