What To Do When Starting a New Product Manager Role

New Product Managers Knowledge 5 min read , February 14, 2021

Firstly, congratulations on your new role as a Product Manager!

It’s not easy getting a job with this type of responsibility, and you’ll soon learn there is a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to building and managing products and the team under you.

To lighten this burden, in this article we’ll cover the top 5 things new Product Managers should do in the first 30 days of their new role.

So, let’s take a look at the top 5 things you should be doing in the first month of starting that are guaranteed to set you up for success:

Getting To Know Your New Role As Product Manager

1) Meet Everyone & Make Yourself Known As Product Manager

Everything that makes a Product Manager successful comes down to one thing: relationships.

Crafting positive relationships with your new peers and subordinates is vital to set yourself up for success.

Within the first few days of starting as Product Manager, try to make appointments with as many of your new colleagues as possible.

These don’t have to be long meetings, just a quick 1:1 to show your face, introduce yourself as Product Manager but, more importantly, find out about them and what their role entails.

Knowing who within your team and the wider organisation is responsible for what function is very important.

This is especially true as product release deadlines or ship dates approach and, inevitably, things go wrong - knowing who can get you out of a jam can be a lifesaver for any new Product Manager on the block.

2) Familiarise Yourself With The Existing Product Management Processes

When starting any new job it’s important not to jump straight in and ‘shake things up’.

Believe me, nobody likes this type of person, especially in Product Manager type roles.

No doubt the team you are fitting into has existing processes and ways of working, so coming in guns blazing with new ideas before you are familiar with what works already is a bad move.

You’ll soon find this type of bullish attitude is usually countered with ‘that’s now how we do things here’ type responses.

But, on the other side of the coin if you make a clear and conservative effort to ‘fit in’ with the existing ways of working, you’ll much quicker earn the respect and (hopefully) trust of your new product team.

Tweetable snippet: “Don’t try and shake things up as a new Product Manager. Instead, listen, take notes and understand how things are done, then figure out how they can be improved.”

Instead of reservations, your suggestions and new ideas will be met with consideration when you actually invest the time to understand how things were done before you joined.

This will also make it much easier for you to spot areas for improvement - remember you are still an outsider which means you have an outsider’s perspective, which is very valuable for the company as you’ll find it easier to improve processes when you aren’t clouded by years of doing the same thing like the rest of the team will be.

3) Understand Who Your Customer Is

Knowing your customer is essential.

These people are, after all, the people that will make or break your success as a Product Manager.

Ship the wrong thing? They’ll be sure to let you know quickly.

Ship the right thing, though, and you’ll build better customer relationships and exceed your internal company targets.

That’s why knowing the exact pain points of your customers is important.

You can get this insight through firstly chatting to peers who have customer experience, but then set up time within the first 30 days to chat to 10-20 key customers about why they use your product, and what they are trying to solve.

Not only will this give you ammunition to reset your team’s expectations, it will also strengthen the customer relationship and show them you are committed to solving their problems.

Customers love this. Do it.

Product Managers should know their customers to build better products
Knowing your customers will help you make better solutions for them.

4) Review Existing Tools Used For Customer Feedback & Product Management

This ties into point 3, but is so often overlooked.

It’s a common mistake for Product Managers to ‘check in’ with customers here and there usually on a rare basis.

This is a bad idea as it’s pretty transparent to the customer that you don’t really care, you are just trying to fit in to you new job.

Feedback should be collected all the time and customers should have an easy way of sending new feedback, bug reports and suggestions for what they want your new product team to build.

This is where you come in.

Does your new employer have a system like this? Are they actively engaging with customers (and I don’t mean just providing live chat support) in a way that actually gets insights into their needs?

If the answer is no, then implement a system. It doesn’t need to be expensive and it doesn’t need months of setup time.

It just needs to work and provide a frictionless experience to collaborate with your customers and you can be the driving force behind that.

Use a customer roadmap to be a successful Product Manager
Please please don’t be this Product Manager

5) Set Some Goals For What You Want To Achieve In The Next Few Months As Product Manager

Finally, set yourself some clear targets and goals for what you want to achieve in your new role as Product Manager.

At this stage, these don’t necessarily need to huge life-changing goals.

Instead, make them short, clear, achievable and, crucially, measurable goals that you can then use to illustrate your progress to your Head of Product or management.

Again, the idea here is to simply show your value and that, despite only being new to the role of Product Manager, you have already started making achievements and taking strides to improve the Product’s output.

This will hopefully put you in the good books of the management team and even fast track you for promotion later down the line.

Always keep track of every goal attained throughout your career as a Product Manager.

Trust me, it makes review sessions with your superiors a lot easier if you know exactly how you helped the company get closer to meeting its Mission and when you did so.

There you are! Our top 5 steps every new Product Manager should take when starting in a new role to ensure they put themselves on a path for success. Taking these steps will not only help you build a solid foundation for developing amazing products, but it will strengthen your relationships with your colleagues and help you understand where you fit in the bigger picture of the company.

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