If I were to begin a technical Product Manager position with a Fortune 100 organization in a few weeks, what would your advice be as I’m still rather inexperienced, and my expertise is in analytics and development.
I was looking for advice on how to make an impression in this new role since I really want to. Everything I read, such as “show up on time,” etc., is applicable to any job.
What can I accomplish or learn over the next few weeks to make a good impression on my first day?
Congratulations on your appointment as a new Technical Product Manager. Here are a few things you would be expected to do as a new TPM:
Get familiar with the company’s products, services, and overall mission. Understand the target audience and the competition.
Read up on the latest trends in product management and familiarize yourself with common methodologies, such as Agile and Scrum.
Understand the key metrics that drive product success and be able to articulate how you would measure the success of a product.
Brush up on your communication and presentation skills. Being able to clearly articulate your ideas and thoughts will be important in this role.
Network with other product managers in the industry and reach out to your new colleagues.
Be proactive and have some ideas ready to present on your first day. Show that you have done your homework and you are ready to hit the ground running.
Be a team player and be ready to collaborate with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, marketing and sales.
Be adaptable and ready to learn and be open to feedback and suggestions.
Hope this helps.
All the best
Very much agree with @MatthewShun. Additionally, I’m adding a few more points which you might find useful:
Keep an eye on things. Learn everything there is to know about your projects and try to get along with the developers.
When others are interested in what you have to say and are aware that you are interested in what they have to say, leading becomes much simpler.
Ask detailed questions, drawing on your previous experience as a developer. They’ll appreciate you more if they realize that you are “one of them.”
One way to impress in your new role as a technical Product Manager is to familiarize yourself with the company’s products and industry. Research the company’s competitors and market trends and try to understand the company’s target audience and their pain points. Additionally, it would be beneficial to understand the product development process and familiarize yourself with the tools and methodologies used in product management.
Another way to impress is to come prepared with ideas and suggestions for the product. Think about how you can add value to the product and the company. Try to have a clear understanding of the company’s goals and objectives and align your ideas with them.
Additionally, communicate effectively with your team and stakeholders. Be proactive in seeking feedback and be open to constructive criticism. Show your enthusiasm and willingness to learn and grow in the role.
Finally, be a team player and be willing to take on additional responsibilities as needed. Show that you are dependable, reliable, and willing to go the extra mile to help your team succeed.
When I started a new job, I used the advice below by one of my mentors:
Discover your product (obvious, right?) but seriously, become knowledgeable about your product. Spend time with those who use technology most frequently.
Be a yes-man, which means to enthusiastically agree to doing things, even if they seem uninteresting.
In order to gain an answer, don’t be afraid to “bother” the person in issue with inquiries. To integrate a new team member, a village is needed.
Give yourself some leniency, forgiveness, and space if you make a few mistakes or don’t complete your first few tasks flawlessly. Particularly in a sizable matrixed organization—as I’m guessing your fortune 100 firm will be—onboarding may be difficult and time-consuming…
Agree with @BinaCampos but have to be careful with #2. Can’t be a “yes-man” always. Being a PM there will be a lot of instances where you will have to be stern and say No.
Totally in agreement @ChristieDook. As a PM, you have to say “no” to a lot of requests, and doing so artfully is difficult. You must be clear that your backlog or prioritisation is the result of a process. Saying “yes” to something might prevent you from getting other, better things. Being open will help you gain support. Display the backlog for them.
I would suggest you read Inspired by Marty Cagan and
The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins.
Additionally, I advise looking at The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen. You can simply discover his talks on it on YouTube for the sake of time. It’s helpful to think about how to achieve product market fit since it will provide a solid basis and framework for you while you determine the “why” of your product.
Since there is a lot of background information to take in at first, things could seem overwhelming. Don’t worry about trying to suggest any novel or innovative ideas because nobody will expect that.
One thing you can do, though, is simply to volunteer to summarise the topic at the conclusion of each meeting. Larger firms frequently have project delays as a result of unclear action steps and inadequate notes that cause workers to forget.
People will begin to trust you to lead and start your own projects if you consistently prove to them that you are in charge of all of the projects.
Congratulations on starting your new role. I have found the following helpful personally before joining a company:
- A form of reset really helps going into a new role. Its like getting rid of all the old baggage. So anything you can do to unwind and get closure
- First 90 Days book by Watkins and identifying elements for your 30-60-90 day plan
- Reflecting on things that made you successful in the past and those that slowed you down. Unlearnings are equally important
- Identifying a little of “intelligent” questions to ask a few people when you join
- Read about the industry/domain, trends, competitors
- Try the product, sign up if you can, research customer reviews
All the best!
Always keep this weapon in your quiver. “What specific action/task/question/info do you need?”
Use the two second rule before giving an opinion. Trust those around you and build solid relationships. Your unspoken responsibility is to lead the development team in delivery of outstanding products. The best way to do that is gain their trust and learn how to motivate/excite them about a new feature.
Always be super transparent. With stakeholders, your boss, your team, etc. This helps foster trust and solid relationships and builds your ability to use a “powerful NO”.
Also, I second what @notarobot said. All valid items.
At the end of the day though, know your weaknesses, and rely on the expertise of the people you will be surrounded by.
Sit down with your manager (who presumably has strong product management experience) and come up with a 30,60,90 day plan and goals for your role. Set your own OKR/STAR, quantifiable metrics and early contributions to product execution. When asked to drive a feature or enhancement, do the basics of sprint delivery well always
I have been a PM for a few years now. I haven’t ever been able to impress on the first day. PM around me are still learning how the product is built and sold well past their first month. The best figure out where they are useful and where the gaps are. The rest wait for work to be handed to them.
Keep up your enthusiasm. When anyone new joins the team the best use for the rest of the team is a fresh pair of eyes. Take notes, share your observations, and ask your questions. You have a free pass for the first 90 days.
Forget about adhering to rigid “means of analysing.” Get used to making educated assumptions in the absence of precise and readily available evidence. Your background in analytics will be problematic in this situation. Don’t be critical of your data scientist and analyst (If you have those).
Finally, make decisions based on first principles (also known as what is best for the product), not to impress others, as decisions made using this optimization function are usually always incorrect.