What can new PMs do when there is time to yourself?

At my previous job, the key feature I was working on would occasionally have a lack of traction and downtime, but the senior PM would constantly reassure me that she still expected to feel my presence. I don’t, however, tend to produce things out of thin air. I’m dealing with the similar issue in my present position; the primary responsibilities I was hired to perform are currently moving rather slowly because they depend on integrating with other business partners who are doing so. I’ve only been working for this new company for a few weeks, so I’m still getting acclimated to things. What should a PM do in a situation like this to establish their authority inside the company? Thanks in advance.


I’ve been in my first PM role for about a year. We didn’t have POs at the time, so each one of us owned the every bit of the product. Today, we have established domain ownership categories. Review the current backlog to get a sense of what it contains if you know what you’re going to own. Are there several tickets with the same theme, outdated tickets that might be graveyarded, etc.?

If the product is software, experiment with it extensively and become as familiar as you can. Review any existing documentation on it. Schedule a meeting with the organization’s main players to find out more about them, what they do, and how you can assist them. Listen to their perspective. If they haven’t already, your manager should be able to locate those people for you.


Talk to your customers and ask for their feedback. This will help you understand their needs and improve your product accordingly. Additionally, building a strong relationship with your customers can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.


I would highly recommend reading “The Build Trap,” which has completely changed the way I think about product management and has really helped me see everything we’re either doing incorrectly or not doing at all.

The book “The Build Trap” is the one I believe is a must-read out of all the PM books available.


@MarioRomero, Thanks for sharing your experience.

@AhmadBashir, Great advice. Thank you so much.

@SamanthaYuan, Thank you dear, will definitely take a look at the book.


Review the available data, research, and experiments. Look at the shadow support team and customer service contacts, if necessary.

If b2b review win/loss data and causes. Speak with sales if necessary.

Use your offering. Use merchandise from your rivals.

Learn the business model and overall operating model of your product and company.


Maybe the least appealing, but documentation and backlog prioritization can be very fruitful.

Adoption can be greatly aided by ensuring that your immediate downstream clients, whether internal or external, have access to FAQs, user guides, etc.

Backlogs can be a stressful task, but it’s a good idea to set the dev teams up for success when THEY are working through tickets or have downtime.

  1. Identify new market opportunities

  2. Study your competitors for your advantage

  3. Learn more about your product and new skills

  4. Organize your work flow and documentations

  5. Shadow other people to observe and learn from them

  6. Think about your long-term roadmap

  7. Plan and research new potential features that would make an impact

  8. Meet with stakeholders to chat and build a strong relationship

  9. Go to other community discussions and learn from other PMs.


Agree with @YuriRoman and @Nathanendicott.

@AnushkaGarg, thank you so much for this answer, if you have the time would you mind elaborating on 4 & 7 please.


Sure. I’ll attempt to avoid writing a wall of text by keeping this brief.

Regarding point #4: Examine your workflow to see if there are opportunities to streamline and optimize it (whether it involves business processes or agile development) (trust me there will always room for improvements to be more efficient). The same is true of your notes and documentation. Your life may be made easier by being organized and having quick access to information.

Regarding point # 7, consider what your customers might need. You should begin strategizing on creating the right things to have a positive effect on your customers, whether it be through user research or crowdsourcing ideas from your teams. For instance, Apple developed a complete eco system to aid users in navigating and appreciating the integration.


How do you identify new market opportunities? I’m not well-versed in market analysis so I would love to have some pointers. thanks!



  1. Look for shifts in customer behavior. For example, are there cart abandonment issues or demand in specific features? Identify opportunities
  2. Investigate customer pain points and come up with solutions to address those pain points
  3. Track trends in your market (are there government subsidized programs that the industry is implementing? Any new tech being used? etc.)
  4. Competitive analysis. See what your competitors are doing to identify trends. Learn and use it to your advantage.
  5. Customer segmentation. Are there opportunities to capture new segments? Is there a demand for it? If so, how? What are the benefits and risks? etc.

Hope that helps.


Sure it helped a lot. Thank you so much.


Excellent list.

Finding out more about the product is also very important if you are new to the company.

Depending on the complexity of the product you’re developing, watching session recordings of users using it is a great way to get a real sense of how users interact with it and identify any potential pain points.


The only thing I would add to this list is understand your customer. It’s related to #1, but distinct enough to be a separate line item.


I’m going to be the bad influence and tell you to take advantage of the slowness a little bit. You will never have more time than you do right now. Cherish it (within reason).


I can’t believe this thread has only had one person saying to relax, so I’ll second that. For me, being in a good frame of mind, well-rested, and relaxed is a crucial component of making wise strategic decisions. Busywork for 40 hours doesn’t always get the job done. Taking a breath will help you connect with some of my less “grindy” teammates.


In our company, I was transitioning from presales to PM when I was hired as the first PM. There was a lot of confusion about what I was supposed to do even though we didn’t have much “down time.” That’s still true today, despite the fact that we have hundreds of employees, over a dozen PMs, and our own SVP of product at our multi-billion dollar company.

There has never really been a situation where I didn’t know what needed to be done; rather, the question was always what we could tolerate not doing at this time. What I ask engineering to do next is similar to the question of what I should be doing next. There are numerous options available to me.

  • Can you give me some estimates of what will be most valuable?
  • Can I put it to the test to see if I was right?
  • Am I prepared to change my course after making mistakes?

Sometimes I just jot down my ideas on paper, send them to my manager, and, as long as they don’t object, I just go ahead and do it.


What are you going to work on after this project?


@LawrenceMartin, Since we’re in a product management forum, rather than project management, the implication would be that the next step is to continue working on this product.