Early in my career, I switched jobs fairly often.

Every time I switched, I felt as if I had to start product management from scratch -- understand the systems, the product, the people, and so on.

After a while, I realised I was doing the same steps every time. But I was so unstructured in my actions, that doing it took a lot of time. More importantly, it took a lot of pain and sweat.

After 5-ish years I started seeing clear patterns. Patterns of things that if I did in the first few months, creating impact became easier. And the opposite was also true. If I did not do these things, I found it hard to get noticed and create impact.

In a nutshell, the first 90 days as a PM are absolutely critical. This make-or-break period sets the foundation for your understanding of the product, relationships with stakeholders, and ability to execute effectively. Without a strategic approach to these 90 days, you risk missing opportunities to create a lasting impact.

I created this comprehensive guide to help you navigate and own the first 30, 60, and 90 days as a new product manager with confidence. By following this actionable roadmap, you'll gain a deep understanding of your product, build strong relationships, and start delivering impactful solutions from day one – setting yourself up for long-term success.

The First 30 Days: Immerse Yourself in Product Knowledge

The initial 30 days are all about learning – learning about your role, the users, the goals, the teams, and the processes that drive the product. This in-depth knowledge is essential for making informed decisions and contributing effectively to the product's success.

Understand Your Role and Definition of Success

Understand your manager's definitinon of the role and the success for your role. This will ensure that you're working towards the right goals from the start.

Get to Know the Users (and Non-Users)

Understanding the users, non-users, and how they interact with the product is critical for building solutions that truly resonate with their needs. Leverage data, user interviews, and documentation to gain this invaluable insight.

Identify Product, Team, and Organizational Goals

Aligning your efforts with the product, team, and organizational goals is crucial for driving meaningful progress. Learn about the larger goals of your product, team, and organization. Then understand how your role contributes to achieving these goals, and use them as a compass for your work.

Master the Product's Capabilities and Functionality

Developing a deep understanding of the product's capabilities, limitations, and functionality will empower you to make good decisions and provide valuable insights. Use the product extensively and work with engineers and other PMs to gain this knowledge.

Map Key Stakeholders and Their Roles

Identifying key individuals, teams, and their roles within the organization is critical. It will help you know the people and teams who can support or hinder your success.

Grasp the Technology Behind the Product

Obtaining a high-level overview of the technology and systems that will give you a holistic understanding of the product's architecture and enable you to make more informed tradeoffs and decisions.

Learn Processes, Tools, and Ways of Working

Familiarizing yourself with the organization's ways of working, communication styles, tools, and processes will ensure that you can operate efficiently and contribute effectively to the team's efforts.

The Second 30 Days: Build Relationships and Visibility

With a solid foundation, it's time to establish yourself as a valuable member of the team and build relationships with key stakeholders. Strong relationships are crucial for effective collaboration, gaining support, and creating impact.

Identify Influencers and Decision-Makers

Identifying individuals who can help you succeed, provide strategic guidance, offer tactical support, or potentially hinder your progress will help you prioritize your relationship-building efforts.

Introduce Yourself and Your Role

Schedule one-on-one meetings to introduce yourself, explain your role, and understand their goals and responsibilities. This will help stakeholders understand your role and the potential value that you will create.

Nurture Relationships Through Collaboration

Building and maintaining strong relationships is an ongoing process. Build these connections by creating recurring meetings, having two-sided communication channels, and finding ways to work closely with the important stakeholders.

The Third 30 Days: Execute and Deliver Impact

With a solid foundation of knowledge and relationships in place, you're now ready to start executing and delivering impactful solutions that drive the product's success.

Take Ownership of Well-Defined Projects

Start with well-defined projects. It is better to execute those tasks that are well defined. They allow you deliver with high confidence and help in minimising errors and issues. Taking ownership early on will help you build confidence and responsibility, setting you up for success in more complex initiatives.

Collaborate Effectively with Stakeholders

Leverage the relationships you've built. Don't hesitate to ask for help when needed. Collaborating with others (who know more and are experts) is key to finding your way in the short term. That will help you deliver high-quality solutions in the long term.

Focus on Initiatives That Drive Real Impact

While you're doing this, try to prioritize initiatives that create tangible value for the team and also for the organizational. Your efforts should be focused on delivering real, measurable impact from day one.

Promote Transparency and Open Communication

Sharing progress, wins, and failures transparently will help build trust. It will encourage stakeholders to work closely with you, fostering a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

A detailed roadmap on what you should do in your first 90 days as a product manager
A detailed roadmap on what you should do in your first 90 days as a product manager

By following this comprehensive roadmap, you'll be well-equipped to navigate and own the first 90 days as a new product manager with confidence, setting yourself up for long-term success, and creating a lasting impact.

How I can help you:

  1. Fundamentals of Product Management - learn the fundamentals that will set you apart from the crowd and accelerate your PM career.
  2. Improve your communication: get access to 20 templates that will improve your written communication as a product manager by at least 10x.
Mar 23, 2024
Career Growth

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