There is nothing more intimidating or crucial to your success than your first few days on the job.
The top 10% of product managers conduct themselves a little differently than the rest. They are usually better communicators, bigger thinkers, and have the ability to prioritize effectively.
In order to help you get your first days off to the best start possible, we have compiled 3 things that the best product managers do in their first week at a new job.
1. Schedule One-on-One’s and Listen
This depends on the size of the company of course, but you must make time to sit down individually with as many people as possible. Do not just meet with leadership. Meet with everyone involved in the team. Then, listen and get a feel for the organization. It sounds so simple but the most effective PMs are strong communicators and they do more than just make good cases or convincing. In a recent article by Ken Yeung, he states that a large part of the job involves “a good feel for what seems right or wrong, and are also good at listening to feedback from testers and others.” PM’s should know the culture of a company, the mission and the direction and get a feel for the kinds of customer expectations they are dealing with.
Gartner analysts observe that effective leaders: “embrace the idea that everything they need to accomplish will be achieved through people, by people, and with people.”
2. Resist the Urge for Immediate Change
This is a very difficult thing for many of us. We all come into a new role knowing that we are going to make changes. That is inevitable. However, after your one-on-one meetings, you are going to need to curb the urge to make major changes immediately. Let your ideas, thoughts and priorities settle in first. Hold back and try not to make any huge changes right away. Remember, you are building trust and confidence in your team, but you also are building credibility. Take time to get to know those who will be affected by your changes and to build support for your upcoming changes. In addition to your own organization, get a good sense of what is happening with your competition. Do not follow them, but know about what may make them successful.
3. Get to know your products technical architecture
One of the most critical parts of your job will be meeting with the lead engineer on your product and getting an inside look at every aspect of your product and its technical components. Let the expert lead. Ask all the questions possible and do not forget who the expert is. You’ll earn far more trust and confidence by admitting when there is something you don’t understand than trying to impress the architect with your impressive technical understanding. Use this opportunity to get to know the product and the architect. When she realizes you have confidence in her as an expert, you will definitely be impressive.
You are going to make waves as a new PM. There is no doubt about this. But be sure to get to know your organizations culture, your technical architect and how ready your business is for change. PM leadership is about communication, and building the critical framework for future success.