What presents the largest difficulty for a new PM?

What difficulties did you face when you first began working as a product manager?

It was really difficult for me to comprehend what I was intended to perform, what the term “product manager” genuinely meant, and how to locate the appropriate frameworks when I first began working as a PM ten years ago.

After ten years in the business, I’ve reached a point where I want to give back to the community, but I’m not sure how to do it most effectively.

Are you just now beginning to work as a PM? Where do you focus the most of your attention?

What did your prior experience—if any—help you learn when you first started?


Since I am from the accounting industry, there was a lot of structure and a clear understanding of what needed to be done and how.

As a product manager, you must be prepared to prioritize and work on tasks without being given clear instructions. That can only be determined via experience. You can get a basic notion of what to do by reading up on best practices and product frameworks, but ultimately it is up to you to decide what is best.


Yeah, talking about enjoying building structure out of ambiguity turned out to be a lot easier than actually building structure out of ambiguity.


Correct me if I am wrong, but product management is more of an art than a science. Everyone is always learning on the job because the discipline is still relatively new and has substantial variations depending on the context and industry of each firm. Also true of those who oversee us and do our interviews. So, be kind to yourself and just do not give a fuck! Be humble and keep learning, please.


Gaining the Product Director’s confidence in your judgment and giving you discretion. Currently dealing with this and feeling defeated by every rejection and nay I receive whenever I submit a fresh proposal. It is hard. Every time I make a choice, people strongly disagree with it and ask me why I did not act in a particular way. Although hardly everyone encounters it, micromanagement is terrible!


@KaneMorgan, I am aware that it does not make things any nicer, but this is not a product-specific issue. The culture and management style of the company are crucial.

Because of this, it is crucial to ask management during interviews how they assess progress and create expectations.

It is acceptable to disagree with your approach in order to support you and force you to think about alternative options, but it must be obvious that the choice is ultimately yours. Your employer might have reservations about a decision or even disagree with a method, but she should allow you make the final decision and should back you up once it has been carried out. The sole basis for evaluation should be results, not processes.


I have been working in product management for about 7 years now, and I can tell that people are expecting more and more of me. When my senior left, I had to step into the shoes of the entire product team.

It was difficult, but once I accepted that sometimes I am the target of stakeholders’ complaints and that it is okay to be mistaken, it got easier. I am content with who I am.

I take things day by day and accept that things can go wrong and that I might have to make tough choices now and then. At the end of the day, we are all seeking understanding.


I believe my new PM colleagues wrote the comments posted here :wink: They are all disoriented and uncertain as well. And I become so angry with myself or my abilities because I feel so horrible for them (and you guys). But ultimately, all we need to do is persevere.

I find it particularly challenging to distinguish between what you know and comprehend and what you don’t. I could be more direct where it is actually needed if I understood that. However, I must appreciate your scope ownership and empowerment because I count on you to come up with a lot of solutions on your own. I am unable to micromanage or belittle. Additionally, because every business is unique, it is impossible to apply theory without experience.


I can see there are a lot of folks here who are confused and do not know where they belong. Unfortunately, I believe product managers frequently behave in this way. You will find that companies hire people for PM positions without truly understanding what those responsibilities include or what the company needs from them. I am a product director with around 15 years of experience, and frequently one of the first things that has to happen in a company is a piece of education for the business and the PMs on what constitutes a fair expectation.

I am willing to react on this thread if anyone has a specific question they would want some advice on (sadly, I will not have much time to respond to many DMs right now).


I am a year into my first PM position.

My biggest struggle is determining the appropriate level of uncertainty.

Due to a last-minute decision to take up work that another team had initially committed to, we have spent two of the last three months working on unforeseen tasks.

I have been requested to draft our roadmap for the upcoming six months, and since I have a strong suspicion that it will alter over that time, I am not sure whether I should:

  1. Make one blueprint for a happy future while acknowledging that it will alter.

  2. Create many roadmaps that adhere to various timetables based on our reliance on various teams.

What is an acceptable level of uncertainty, assuming the work cannot be fully formed before beginning development, and how do I know whether I am under or over that?


@AmyWalker, Never follow the happy route plan since it would appear that you failed to deliver if it does not occur. Attempt to be as upbeat as you can, but your best bet is to be honest and realistic. People who receive roadmaps frequently lack all the context, therefore you must provide it to them. To offer you the best chance, ensure that the team has a strong level of buy-in regarding the timeline.


Thanks, you’re spot on about the happy route- I’m going to find a realistic path instead and double down on that.


I am aware that “feature factory” organizations have a bad rap, but when you are starting out, all you can really do is use the product for yourself, speak with anyone (internally and outside) who will listen to you, and be as comprehensive as you can in explaining the reasons behind your modification. Pull a few triggers, and then explain why.

You will not start a revolution in business on the first day. You will make a lot of less-than-optimal choices, but if you produce something that at least SOMEONE will appreciate, you will buy yourself enough time to define your position.


7-year into PM here. There are still times when I have had enough. The previous week was noteworthy.

Everything is on fire, we are seven weeks behind schedule for the current release, and new things are breaking every day. At the same time, I am attempting to comprehend and strategically plan for a variety of needs we have. Additionally, I received a short notice assignment to create some strategy presentations for a product “All hands.”

I can still hear myself telling my wife that I want to leave my work because I have had enough. However, a week later, I am completely fine and am working hard. I have to constantly remind myself that I can only focus on one subject at a time and to avoid undercommunicating.

More or less, everyone was reasonable, I was able to accomplish the tasks that were most crucial, and I was able to communicate when I was not able to. It increases people’s confidence in you as a PM.

You will occasionally feel as though you are drowning, but you must guard against it. Spend a moment refocusing, talking too much, then deliver.


If there are any significant distinctions between a PM role in an American company and one in a European one, please let me know. I am not sure if you have done both. I am an American working in a company in Berlin, and while I have thought about returning to the States in the future, I am not sure how my position would be suited over there.

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Coming straight out of college, I was used to having exams, quizzes, and projects that were assigned to me, so for me, it was dealing with the absence of downstream chores and the level of initiative required. When several of my other friends entered junior level positions in industries like finance, consulting, accounting, law, etc., all of which have highly hierarchical cultures, the status quo effectively persisted for them.

At a software company, however, you immediately begin by determining what the best leverage project is to focus on at any given time (with the help of your team and stakeholders). That is a difficult transition to make, and it took me some time to get used to it. But eventually, you start to get really adept at setting priorities for your own needs and those of your product line. Additionally, you become proficient at understanding who to contact and how to do so.

Without the training wheels of rigid hierarchy, navigating ambiguity and determining direction and priorities.