3 Things to do when starting as a new Product Manager
1. Learn the Product
The clue was in the name – Product Manager. A big part of your role is being the expert on your product. You’re never going to know every aspect in detail, but you should know 90% of 90% of the work. That means you don’t need to know how to code the widget, but you better know why we’re using that widget, what the alternatives are, how long it’s going to take, any dependencies and what the impact is.
2. Learn the Process
Agile, scrum, teams, pods, Jira and Github – there are going to be lots of things about your new role that are really familiar. But the devil’s in the detail. Start by working out what processes you need to be a part of. They’ll likely be divided into
- Development: How does a feature/bug go from concept to release?
- Reporting: How do you track your team’s success?
- Planning: How do you know what you should be working on?
Understanding these processes will help you slot into them more naturally. They’re how you move from being the new guy to a part of the team. Structure is your friend; if you learn these ‘on the job’ you’ll miss things that the current staff do without thinking. Having to constantly learn one more thing will make it seem like a never ending, constantly moving, target. Take the time, set a meeting and run through every aspect of each process once or twice and you’ll be golden.
3. Meet the people
It’s often forgotten, but key to your success. You need to take a practical approach to meeting the people you’re going to be working with. Start in small circles of the people in your team, but move quickly outward. Depending on the company’s size, you might not be able to meet everyone, but you never know where you’re going to get that nugget of information that’s going to unlock your understanding, or make that personal connection with someone that will become a diehard friend down the line. So take an active role and try avoid lunch with the usual gang everyday.