How to not freak out in your first days as a Product Manager

First days in a new job usually get us a little bit anxious, will I be doing what they expect me to do?

First days in a new Product Manager job at a startup, for sure would be chaos.

If this is your first time as a Product Manager, take it easy! It’s normal to feel a little bit overwhelmed right now.

I often compare the Product Manager job to learning how to drive a car. Do you remember when being aware of changing gears felt like a huge challenge? This is it, the PM job. I’m sure right now even the relation between a PRD, an Epic and a User Story can be a demanding exercise. But do not panic, those little things would be easy peasy in less than no time!

Even if it’s your first time or if not as a Product Manager, here are some advice I think are important in the first weeks at a new company.

  • Relax, no one expects you to fully understand everything the first day. It’s not reasonable to arrive and start executing. There is a team that has been working for a long time and you have to adapt yourself to their rhythm and dynamics.
  • Spend time understanding the business, because it will make the difference when you have to prioritize your squad backlog. A good PM deeply comprehends the business and is capable of transferring this knowledge to the team. Take advantage of those first days to talk to stakeholders and try to understand where the company is and where they want it to go.
  • Find out what the process of your squad is. It’s very common that when you enter a new company you are told you can manage the meetings and dynamics the way you want to, but remember your squad might have been working on their processes for a long time, so it’s going to be more efficient if you just adapt yourself to those ones. Also, this will allow you to know exactly what you can iterate.
  • Know your squad. Processes are important but more important are the people behind them, your squad team. You’re going to work alongside them everyday and knowing how to talk to everyone is a key skill.
  • Ask, ask and ask again. This is so obvious but it’s never enough. Believe me, I’ve been working for more than a year in my current company and I feel there are a lot of things I should’ve asked in my first week. Don’t be ashamed to seem annoying, everybody is willing to help you and everyone has gone through the same feelings, so ask any doubts you have.

You can now enjoy this new job !

Product & Design lover! | Product Manager @Smart Protection

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