How to start your new job as Product Manager?

So you got your new job, that too of product manager. How exciting 🤩.  Well first thing first, congratulations on your new job. You are awesome, and your company has recognised that. So don’t let any imposter syndrome or nervousness kick in. You are the best and it is time to believe in it.

Now let’s see how you are going to integrate with your new company, new product, new people. Well, let’s break down the process of onboarding into 3 parts to better understand and organise: People, Product, Process.

Let’s start with my favourite: people. 


Meet your team members. Exchange some high fives. But if meeting in the real world is not possible (I hate you COVID) meet them virtually. Don’t do it just for the sake of formality. Do it for fun. Meet with your stakeholders. If possible meet your customers. We, humans, are social animals. And socialising in the workplace where you are going to spend ⅓ of your life is very important. I recommend not talking about work in the introductory meeting or limiting it to less than 20% of the time in the meeting. Now here are some quick pointers to have awesome first meetings :

  • Set the precedent of meeting to be more human and personal. I prefer to establish some sort of emotional connection with my collegues rather than having just work related talks. Start by introducing yourself. And don’t just go bla bla about your work experience and achievements only. Instead tell them about what you do in your free time. Which TV Series you are watching? What sports you play? When you talk about these aspects, your counterpart in the meeting will also let you into their personality. Listen carefully about their interests and hobbies. If you find something mutual, talk about it. Doing so will help you and your team members to empathise better with each other. 
  • Humour, an OP weapon in your arsenal. If you are good in making jokes, it wouldn’t hurt to crack few in your meetings. But FEW. I will say it again FEW. Don’t overdo the houmour joke thing. 
  • Keep in mind the cultural differences. If you are working in an international company, chances are that you will meet with people from different cultures. Be careful about things you are talking about and chose your topics and direction of conversation keeping in mind the culture and background of your counterpart. General rule of thumb is don’t indulge in any controversial/ political conversation.
  • Gauge and consider the people’s reaction. If someone is not enjoying the conversation than don’t try too hard or drag it anyway. There are millions of factors which may be affecting their mood or reaction. They might be going through a bad day. They might not be feeling well. They might not like you. And sometimes it is inevitable, you can’t do anything about it. Just accept it and close the conversation with proper ending.

Let’s talk about the product next.


Okay so now you have met some of your team members and are ready to dive into the product. Now there could be different approaches you can take to understand your products. But my favourite is to see it through the eyes of your users first. This will help you to get an unbiased perspective and understand how new users are seeing the product. Try to go through the product yourself and see how much of it you can understand. First access all the information which is publicly available about the product. It can be via website, reading documentation, trying the product yourself, do whatever floats your boat. Try to understand how it is delivering value to users. 

After understanding the product from an external point of view, it is the perfect time to explore the competition. This will give you the consumer’s perspective of comparison. You will be able to see more clearly what are your advantages over the competition and where your weaknesses lie.

After conducting thorough research, now it is time to access the company’s internal documentation, onboarding documentation and guides. Take your time and read about them. Compare how this information is in alignment with your perception of the product. My favourite approach to understanding a product is to create a human version of the product. I imagine my product to be a system of people where each module is a person working with each other to accomplish some tasks. Now I try to imagine how things are working together. Imagining a product as a collection of these human characters helps me to create a better empathetical version for end-users. 

Ask your tech team to give you a short overview of the project and tell you about things that they feel are important for you to know. It is important to not get lost in the technicalities of the product too much. It is advisable to not get into technical details too much otherwise you might make the mistake of having some personal bias about the product. This holds especially true if you have a technical background and start the role of product manager. As a rule of thumb, I try to understand only as much as it is important to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. There are some exceptions to this point. 


So finally we are in the endgame. Kidding, the story is just starting. Processes are all about structuring the functioning of the organisation. Every organisation has some processes and rituals. My approach is to ask my team members about all the rituals and processes which exist. This is the fastest way to understand the importance and purpose of each of these processes. Let’s go through some of the common processes which exist 

  • Tools & Softwares : Go through all the softwares which your team is using for working. It includes collaborative tools and project management softwares. If you are not experienced with these softwares already, then it is always a good idea to ask someone to show you how to use them. Don’t waste too much time to learn something on your own when you can ask someone to show you around.
  • Recurring Meetings : Make a list of all recurring meetings. Determine the purpose of each of these meetings. Align your own expectations with these meetings. Figure out what information you can extract from these meetings and what all information you can share in these meeting.  
  • 1 on 1 meeting: Determine your 1 on 1 meetings. These includes meetings with people you are reporting to and people whom you are working with. Determine what all are the deliverables in these meetings and how you can abide by people’s expectation. Also be very clear about your expectations from these meetings.
  • Documents : Make a list of documents already available for your quick access. Determine which documents you need to create and in what frequency. Explore company’s templates and already existing documents to see what people expect. Its always a good idea to bring familiarity in the document, however don’t shy away from bringing some new awesomeness with you.
  • Now this may seem very obvious, but it is important. Determine how to schedule meeting, organise calender, procedure to schedule meeting with your team members.

So here we are. At the end of this article. Time to wrap things up. In short product manager’s job is very liberating with a lot of creative freedom. You are going to write your own story and this article is just a general guide for you. So fill yourself with positive energy and go rock it champ 🔥

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *