On a strategic level, the CPO focuses on the why of the product while the CTO on the how — how development will be carried out and how the product will be implemented and delivered.
Ultimately, the CPO and CTO should align on the same company vision and work together as a team to build the best product for their customers.
You will typically find that more established companies invest in both roles. However, in emerging companies, the CTO may have complete responsibility for leading efforts to design, develop, and build a great product.
As the company grows — either organically or through acquisitions — company leaders often bring on a CPO to handle the increased complexity that comes with having multiple product lines and a diverse set of customers.
With the growing demand for the role of Chief Product Officer, there is high potential for product people to take their career to the next level. To climb the ladder into this role, you must build excellent strategic, analytical, and communication skills, as well as demonstrate a talent to motivate and inspire product employees and cross-functional teams.