New PM's onboarding experience

What is the best Product Manager onboarding experience you have made for you team or previously experienced yourself?
I have 2 new PMs joining my team soon and I would like to make sure that they have a great start


How senior are they? How similar is their past experience to what they are doing on your team?


Both are Senior PMs. They have related domain experience but not exactly the same


I’m still working on refining our onboarding experience, but one thing we do for all new product team members is have them work through a lean canvas that articulates our business model. They have a list of company executives and other folks throughout our company that they speak with to flesh out the lean canvas. This serves not only as a great jumping-off point for introductions but also helps them understand the bigger picture business model and the assumptions/hypotheses that define it.


I don’t have a TON of experience here. I’ve on-boarded 4 PMs in total over my career, but here’s what’s worked for me in general:First 2 weeks:

  • Onboard into culture
  • Meet the team, they schedule them and control the pace
  • Build understanding of the customer. Both by interviewing and reviewing past interviews and interview notes
  • Try out the product. Important to do this before spending too much time talking to team, reviewing goals, or thinking data to avoid bias. It’s good to talk to some customers first though.
  • Build an understanding of our goals (mission, vision, annual plan, quarterly goals)
  • Build understanding of data. Review our targets, KPIs, and success metrics of recent projects

Next n weeks: Get close to execution. How long this lasts depends on how much experience they have. Some people can pick this up in a week, some take a few months. What I mean:

  • Be the first point of triage for bugs.
  • Pair on scoping out projects
  • Do lots of QA and product reviews.
  • Pair with design and engineering as they work

After they get a good feel for that, they start working a bit higher level. Start taking ownership on projects, then on goals, then on goal setting. It’s more organic at this stage and very tailored to the person.

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I think one of the best things you can do when onboarding new PMs is setting expectations about their first 30/60/90 days.
The biggest mismatch I see in this area is new hires thinking they have to hit the ground running in the first 2 weeks or something. I think that pattern comes from the types of people my hiring process selects for, but it’s important to set the expectation that a decent chunk of time should be dedicated to getting to know the business, products, and customers.
I generally think of it as first 30 is all about learning and being in the same meetings and conversations you normally would. 30-60 is about taking on things that were already in motion and fully owning them t o experience the product development process of the company end-to-end without being expected to fully own the planning phase. 60-90 is about establishing and owning their own projects and roadmap.
This timeline is about right for a mid-level PM and it scales based on PM experience and industry experience (i.e. more experienced PMs will progress faster and those with no industry experience will progress a little slower).