The CPO is responsible for the “why” of the product — the strategic approach to what will be built. The CPO ensures the product direction is serving the overall company vision and adjusts as necessary to changing conditions.
The CTO is responsible for the “how” of the product — the strategic approach to development and delivery. The CTO determines how the team incorporates technology to improve products and services.
The CPO studies customers and the market and analyses primary and secondary data from research to know the direction of product design. The CPO also uses reverse product thinking to come up with creative ideas for the product.
The CTO studies technologies to make recommendations for enterprise architecture and how work should best get done. The point is not to invest in emerging technology because it is newer than what is currently being used.
The CPO has a thorough understanding of customer desires and behaviors because they spend a lot of time with them with reverse product thinking and the people internally who serve them (e.g. sales & support teams, AI/ML, and analytics teams).
The CTO must understand the customer too — although they often rely on the CPO’s research and learnings. The CTO must also apply their technical know-how to ensure technology applications reflect the way customers want to interact with the product.
The CPO looks at metrics from a product experience standpoint. They track a wide variety of product KPIs to measure how well the company is delivering a CPE, such as revenue and customer growth, engagement, and retention.
The CTO looks at metrics from a product performance standpoint. They want to know how well the product does what it is supposed to do. They also want to look at customer interactions with the product to understand its use.