This is a good one; and I'll admit that I've never been the first PM hire in a company, but I have worked to establish a new PM team within an existing structure. Here are my tips:
Get into a rhythm by understanding the business/company goals. Then understand how the tech works (look at the customer/user interface first and then make sure you understand how the system behind the UI works). Begin collecting data in a transparent way and share your learnings with your stakeholders and leadership.
Conduct user research (both qualitative and quantitative) to help illustrate what product areas (epics/themes) you want to focus on and how these connect back to the business/company goals.
Whether you are the first hire or an early leadership hire that is trying to establish the product management function, the most important aspect is to show value. Beyond that, there are a few critical aspects of setting up the function
And finally, build out your team ensuring that you focus on hiring PMs that excel at the role as you have defined it and enable them to succeed!
All Product Managers need to be a sales person at different times in their career. As someone establishing a PM function for the first time, you'll be selling the vision of how an effective product manager will help the business and company achieve their goals. There's obviously at least one champion considering you got hired by somebody! But don't be surprised if some colleagues don't understand the need or value of a product manager, so this is the time to set expectations and build trusted relationships. The first step is learning as much as you can from the people around you. Try and become an expert in the business, where you can put yourself in their shoes when discussing needs and requirements. There's no exact playbook as the first PM, stay open minded and realize it may be a windy road to get where you need to be. Good luck!
Congrats on your new role! Joining as the first PM at a company can be both a blessing and a curse. The first thing to acknowledge is that you are going to be strapped on your time so you need to ruthlessly prioritize your time and focus to ensure you're driving value and impact to the organization. First, you should understand whether the roadmap is clear and that it is the most impactful items the company needs for the road ahead.
Is the roadmap clear and is there alignment amongst the leadership team? Work with executives to understand the companies priorities and why these items are prioritiesIs there research or data to back up customer needs? Set up the processes for understanding the customers through qualitative or quantitative methods.
Is there a way to measure the impact of past/present/future releases? Make sure the right tracking is in place to measure the impact of product releases
Are prod/design/eng + stakeholders aligned with the roadmap, what comes next and why? Ensure you have the right tools to provide transparency to the org and the right avenues for feedback + collaboration.