(2020-05-18) 5 Reasons To Combine The CTO And CPO Roles

Kaj van de Loo: 5 reasons to combine the CTO and CPO roles. When LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced in early February that he would step down on June 1, it was a noteworthy change at the professional networking platform that he had led for more than a decade. What also caught my eye, however, was the choice of his successor: LinkedIn product head Ryan Rolansky. They say it takes three or four to make a trend, so I’m calling one now on product leaders getting promoted to CEO. Other examples at high-profile companies in recent years include Adam Mosseri at Instagram, Sundar Pichai at Google, and Thomas Kurian at Google Cloud.

this growing stature has further blurred lines between the CPO and another senior executive: the chief technology officer (CTO).

I’d even suggest that at many companies the CPO and CTO should no longer be separate positions

1. The CPO job description has changed

As digitization forces businesses to align resources around delivering the best possible customer experiences, product heads have seen their role in driving the company vision intensify. It’s no longer enough for these executives to simply deliver good products: They have become key drivers of the company’s culture and business objectives. Simply put, they wear bigger hats these days, and that’s bound to create some duplication.

2. The definition of "product" has shifted

become a holistic, emotional assessment of whether the company and its offerings deeply grasp what customers think, feel, say, do, and want.

they must act as the voice of the customer across the organization, seeing things as customers see them and steadfastly holding the company’s feet to the fire on customer experience.

3. The CTO's role is sometimes fuzzy

The role is often tasked with pursuing multiple abstract goals such as “driving innovation,’ ‘identifying emerging technologies’, or simply ‘managing IT operations.’ Success and progress in these areas can be difficult to quantify, leaving the role inconsistently defined.”

4. The how, what, and why of product should no longer be separated

It’s often been said that the CTO is responsible for the “how” of the product and the product head for the “what” and “why.”

Companies today should avoid splitting up that triad and have a leader who is both internally and externally oriented, with all roads leading to the customer

5. A combined CPO/CTO can break down silos

It is less about having a single leader than about creating a unified, customer-centric culture across the whole product and technology organization. Having a single leader simply helps with that.

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