How was your experience with a newly hired VP/Head of Product?

For those who’ve worked at a company where a new VP/Head of Product was hired:

  • How much disruption was there?
  • Did the new VP shake things up i.e. strategy?
  • Were people let go?
  • Or was it business as usual for the most part?

Gibson B. wrote about this from the perspective of a new Head of Product, but would love to hear the other side of this. Thanks.

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Answer to this question depends on whether:

  • the company is in war-time or peace-time and
  • if you report to this person directly or not

I have been in both situations so can speak from my experience.
Generally speaking, there is higher disruption when it’s war-time and if you report to this person since the company has probably hired them to come in with a clean slate and wipe the slate clean if needed. More things will be shaken up, more people might be let go and expect a up-and-down few months.

If it’s peace-time, expect a lot of questions since if it’s the right kind of VP, they’ll mostly be curious to learn as quickly as possible so they can establish a sense of what’s going on. People will leave since there’s always internally a person who was vying for this role and they’ll probably want to go somewhere else. People are not generally let go unless priorities need to shift drastically

If you don’t report to this said person, you might be buffered by a lot of this and unless there are dramatic changes, it’ll feel like business as usual

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@MichaelYofffe, thanks for sharing your experience. For context, we are in war-time, I won’t report directly to this person, and the current VP is transitioning to a new role.

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Our company just went through this.

  • Disruption: it really depends on their working style. I’ve honestly found just more of a workflow disruption because we’re more of a feature team, and so the new VP doesn’t have the context required to clarify & pinpoint senior management asks (silver burritos everywhere!)
  • Strategy: Nope, because we’ve had a pretty strong top down structure in place.
  • Our director of product left, but I think on his own terms, shortly after.
  • Yes, but with the added chaos of a new person that wants to be helpful and influential that doesn’t have the context, product wise nor politically.
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Interesting. Thanks for sharing @PriyaVarma !

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Having been that HoP and left so that a new HoP could be brought in, I think the easy answer, it depends on the kind of problems your organization has, and the kinds of problems the new head of product is skilled at solving. I have a personal preference for people who watch slowly and then act quickly.

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Thank you so much @NathanEndicott