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What framework do you use when assessing a new opportunity at a different company?

10 Answers
Anton Kravchenko
Anton Kravchenko
Carta Sr. Director of Product ManagementFebruary 3

To make the decision, I think of opportunity, ambitions, passion, and time:

  1. Opportunity - obviously there is a matter of compensation, but there is also an opportunity for professional growth. For example, joining a startup allows you to grow much quicker -- you will be wearing different hats and working much closer to the company leadership. You will make a lot of mistakes, but the learnings will be much greater.
  2. Ambitions - depending on where you at in life, different things might take a priority and it's important to keep that in mind e.g. you are starting a family or want to work remote from an island in Hawaii. If you are ambitious and feel that you can do more, you can tell your manager you want more work or go to another company or start a project/your own company.
  3. Passion - you can gain your initial experience in one company, but if your heart is in the other place e.g. music, you probably want to consider getting a job at Spotify or Apple Music. That is where you will have the most fun.
  4. Time - from my experience, it takes ~2 years to get up to speed with a new product area and make significant contributions. That is why it's common to see PMs going to other companies or seeking other roles within the same company. This allows you to grow and shift gears a little. In my 5 years at MuleSoft for example, I worked on 3 different product areas -- I've learned how to build marketplaces, identity products, and API platforms.
496 Views
Natalia Baryshnikova
Natalia Baryshnikova
Atlassian Head of Product, Enterprise AgilityFebruary 16

First, like to work on problems that I am passionate about. I love to learn and make impact in areas that I think, pardon high brow speak, will make the world a better place. One such area of passion for me is helping people and teams achieve more through working together. I never even considered opportunities that I personally don't feel passionate about, as I know that would not make me happy at work. This is a privileged position to be in, and if you have to pick something in a different framework, don't feel bad please. It's okay to pick work that is just work. 

Second thing I consider is potential. Do I believe that a problem this product is solving has a high enough potential? Are there any macro signals suggesting that impact will grow? I love to understand the industries and their core current problems to make that impact assessment.

Lastly, I look at the prospective manager. This is a person who will make or break your experience at a new company. Study them well, and make sure you have a great rapport.

535 Views
Louisa Henry
Louisa Henry
Gusto Head of Product for Mid-Market BusinessesApril 21

This is a framework shared by one of my former executive colleagues. I've found it to be incredibly helpful when thinking through your career, taking on a new project, or considering your next move. 

Biggest suggestion is to get it on paper. Thinking about your career can be a lot like building product.

  1. Write lists of what you do and don't know. What you're confident about, what you're not sure about. After completing your do know/don’t know list, consider actions you can take to move your “don’t know” into the “do know” column. 
  2. Think through each of these topics and write down what's important to you, where you thrive, and what success looks like.  
  • Areas of passion - encompasses not only the domain you want to be in, but also the skills, experience, and strengths you bring
  • Fulfillment – includes reflecting upon alignment to your values, higher purpose and legacy
  • Environment – examines multiple ingredients that combine to create working conditions that set you up to be most successful
  • Success – creates intentionality around how you are going to measure success in your next role

3. Then think through your decision-making criteria for what is next? (PT, flexible, mission alignment, decision-making authority/span of control, wage, etc.)

394 Views
Yasmin Kothari
Yasmin Kothari
Bumble Director of ProductMay 17

When looking for a new opportunity, I ask myself four questions:

  • Am I excited to work on this mission? If I’m going to dedicate 40+ hours a week on solving a specific problem, I need to be sure that the solutions I’m working on are ultimately helping people and making the world a better place.
  • Will I be happy working with these people? I operate best in an environment that values transparency and high standards, has a low-ego culture, and encourages people to bring their whole selves to work. I need to be part of a culture that has values that align with my own, and frankly, I just want to enjoy working with my teammates!
  • What skills will I gain that complement my toolkit? Work is more fun when you consider yourself a lifelong learner. Any new role and company needs to offer me the opportunity to add new skills to my repertoire. This can come through my manager, other leaders at the company, or learning by doing the role itself. When joining Asana, I was particularly excited about learning a playbook for how to scale product teams.
  • Am I poised to have a deep impact? Finally, I want to make sure that I have some uniquely suited skills and experience that will help me make a lasting impact in my new role. I am most fulfilled when I feel like I’m adding value to the business and to my teams.
319 Views
Vasudha Mithal
Vasudha Mithal
Care Solace Chief Product OfficerAugust 23

You need to assess this based on the things that you care about. I have my few Ps:

  • People: Do I love this team? Do I want to be at the table (in a zoom room?) with this group to solve problems?
  • Purpose: What is the problem I'll be thinking about every day? Is that exciting/interesting?
  • Paisa (Hindi for money): Do I understand all components and what is my risk appetite?
  • Progress: Does this work help me progress - do I acquire a new way of thinking? Learn about a new area? Do I move ahead with my career ambitions? Does it satiate my desire to make an impact?
  • Processes: Can my interviewers articulate a few operating mechanisms of their company? How do they develop products? Who prioritizes, who reviews, who approves? Meeting heavy or document-heavy?

Assessing any career move requires A LOT of introspection. All the best!

278 Views
Era Johal
Era Johal
TikTok Product Leader, Search @TikTokAugust 25

What I evaluate: mission, people, learning potential. You may have different evaluation criteria depending on where you are in your career. Get clear on these ahead of time and never turn down the opportunity to ask questions.

How I evaluate: screening calls/ interviews provide very little time to ask about your needs. Hot tip: Ask your recruiter for the opportunity to speak with members of your daily working team – get more than 1 perspective the facets of the role that matter most to you.

Why I evaluate Mission, People and Learning Potential: Mission because I am at the point in my career where I am energized by the type of problem, not just the existence of a problem 😀. Mission is often telling of the culture, but it could also be lip service!👄 So next, I evaluate the people I'd be working with. Do we share the same work values? How’s the team’s energy? And last but not least, I ask myself, do I admire aspects of my future leadership team? These facets infuse my worklife with the things I enjoy most – connecting with passionate humans to solve important problems✨. Someone once told me, when you quit a job, you’re not quitting the company, you’re quitting your leader. I like to make sure my leader has qualities I would want to see in myself some day. My last criteria: learning potential. When I'm evolving alongside the landscape of digital experiences, I feel SO GOOD. I look for projects/teams/companies that can teach me something new- do I have room to develop here? Will I leave here with a set of skills that will make me smarter, faster and better equipped to tackle the challenges of the future? Sign me up! This may seem like a very privileged list.. I’d say it is. At many points in my career, I was just happy if the salary covered my bay area rent. One thing to keep in mind is, whatever your criteria, be honest with yourself. Evaluating the company for your needs is essential. Noone likes to waste time, and finding out 2 months in, that where you landed is not ideal, can be painful for both sides. So more than this criteria, have ANY criteria, write it down and be relentless in understanding if the opportunity or company is checking your boxes.

1972 Views
Julian Dunn
Julian Dunn
GitHub Senior Director of Product ManagementNovember 7

The answer to this is going to be different for each person, because it depends on so much on the intersection of your own values and what you're trying to achieve in life. Personally, I look at these factors:

  • The domain of the company and the domain I'd be working in at that company. Could I stand to work in that domain for 3-5 years or even longer, taking into account the market dynamics of that sector? It's why I don't want to work in health care or FinTech, but obviously, many other folks have no problems with these domains.

  • The size of the company. Honestly, I wish someone had told me to pay attention to this early in my career so that I didn't get stuck in the enterprise for far too long waiting for the underlying dynamics to change (they won't). But a Series A company versus a Series B company versus an established company -- these are all going to have massively different dynamics and it would behoove you to figure out where your sweet spot is as quickly as possible.

  • The growth prospects of the company. Obviously, you cannot see into the future, and though lack of hypergrowth is not necessarily bad (and may not fit your preference/personality), if you are ambitious, you probably do not want to get stuck somewhere that is not growing, even though stagnant products still need PMs.

  • The level of autonomy I expect to be given. I see product management as largely a strategic function, and that includes being able to define and then be held accountable to the execution of a business and product strategy. If the company or team seems unwilling to trust PM to drive strategy, preferring to treat it as purely an execution role (foreman role over a bunch of workers) then it's going to be boring.

  • The strength of supporting functions. Immaturity in other supporting functions is not necessarily a deal-breaker, as it's common (especially at a startup) for there to be massive gaps in maturity. But if there are no cross-functional partners that I can engage with at a strategic level, that means the deck is already stacked against me and it'll be difficult-to-impossible for PM to eke out a win. PM doesn't win alone.

You'll notice I didn't get to compensation at all. For me personally, that comes much later as a consideration i.e. when we get to the offer stage (although I want to know early on if we're at least in the same ballpark, otherwise we are wasting each other's time). If we don't have fit as I articulated above, then compensation isn't going to matter.

393 Views
Sheila Hara
Sheila Hara
Barracuda Networks Sr. Director, Product ManagementJanuary 31

As a Product Manager, when assessing a new opportunity at a different company, I use a three-pronged framework: alignment, growth, and impact.

  1. Alignment: Does the company’s vision, culture, and product align with my personal and professional values?

  2. Growth: Will this role offer opportunities for learning, skill development, and career advancement?

  3. Impact: Can I make a significant contribution to the product and the company? Do I have the potential to influence and drive meaningful change?

369 Views
Sharad Goel
Sharad Goel
Homebase VP Product & DesignJuly 31
  • Passion around the company mission - is this something I want to do over the next 3-5 years

  • People & culture - are there people there that I can trust to lead, learn from and work with

  • Business result (past and present trajectory) - financials, customer growth, NPS

  • Investment in analytics - does the company understand its metrics deeply and its levers

  • Technology - are they dealing in technology that is forward looking. It is possible that you may have to get them there too.

  • Product experience - does it blow you away (or maybe you are going to get them there)

  • If is a startup then who has invested - gives you an idea of how the board will guide the leadership

249 Views
Sandhya Rao
Sandhya Rao
Vera Solutions Director of Product ManagementJanuary 28

My approach is simple - Connect. When pursuing new opportunities, I meticulously gauge insights into a company’s culture - its people, processes and purpose. I wait till I feel connected with the company at each of these 3 levels. Here’s how -

  1. Purpose: I dig deeper into the company’s narrative across various channels, at both the formal and informal levels, and I try to find evidences of the company’s commitment to its values and mission. A company’s authenticity can be screened through the product quality, user experiences, financials and market positioning.

    It is important to me that I can resonate with the company’s purpose. But this also largely depends on what stage of career you are in at that moment. Personally for me, my excitement aligns with firms solving tangible problems and are not solely profit-driven like using AI to fight the fake news epidemic or using technology to evaluate impact in the social sector.

  2. Processes: Exploring a company's online presence unveils the depth and maturity of its processes. For example G2 reviews on an existing SaaS product can help understand the company’s product roadmap or customer support process.

    Over the years I have discovered my bias towards action and redundant processes is a red-flag, especially their impact on my role and execution.

  3. People: This has the highest weightage in my decision-making framework. I assess the company's personnel through platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor and this can help you understand the pulse of the organization.

    While purpose and processes hold significance, the people facor is a non-negotiable for me, it becomes a deal-breaker. I invest time in comprehending a connection with the people that I will be closely working with. It is crucial for me to align with the people's mindset and values.

I also use the opportunities during interview rounds to uncover insights into their purpose, process and people. I also ask if I could talk to one or more people with who I will be collaborating in future. Such 1x1 interactions are also great space to evaluate if you feel the connect. I ask questions like, ‘can you help me describe a typical day for you at work’, ‘if I had to ask 10 people in this department to mention 3 things that they like and do not like about the company, what would those be’, ‘can you mention about a day when you felt very disappointed with your work at this company’, etc.

163 Views
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