Making the right moves when you first accept a product management position can make all the difference in your success. This post will discuss the first few of several steps a product manager should take that will make getting up to speed faster and easier. This will enable you to jump-start your career as a product manager.
Action Item #1 for Product Managers
Knowledge is power and the key to making a strong start in your new position as a product manager. If your company is agreeable, get your hands on the business plan so you can begin to understand the original business assumptions under which the company was founded. Familiarizing yourself with the business plan will set you on the right path to form your own conclusions about the current state of your business and how best to approach achieving your product objectives.
Action Item #2 Product Managers
Once you’ve become familiar with the business plan, reach out to your bosses direct reports so you can better understand the details behind the plan. This step accomplishes two things:
1 – It gives you a glimpse into others’ perspective on the state of the business.
2 – It subtly lets these colleagues know that the company has enough confidence in you to trust you with the business plan, something that can positively impact your standing in their eyes.
Product Managers Must Be Information Magnets
It’s important to remember that your business is not a static enterprise. A lot may have changed since the business plan was written.
For this reason, it is important that the newly hired or promoted product managers roll up their sleeves and meet with customers while also striving to pull together and immerse themselves in the most up-to-date information available about the company.
The following is a list of resources that every product manager new to the company should gather and review carefully:
- Market research
- Customer list
- Presentation materials currently in use
- Company collateral
- Win/loss analysis data
- Customer proposal template and signed contracts
- Available competitive information
- Customer data sources within the organization
- Defect reports
- Product cost information or a product P&L
- Existing product-related materials
Conclusion: Jump-Starting Your Career
By gathering this data you will jump-start your career as a product manager and establish data-driven momentum in your role.
In my next post, I’ll dig deeper into the first of these important categories of information and what the product manager should look for when reviewing information uncovered.