What is your 30-60-90 day plan when you go into an org with the intention of setting up a PM function for the first time?
To me, the first 90 days are all about communication with your new team and cross-functional partners – even more so if you're setting up the Product Management function for the first time. Treat your communications a bit like internal marketing for PM (and yourself), meaning they should be tailored to your audiences, showcase how your PM skills create value for the team, and address potential concerns head-on.
The first 30 days are your time to listen and learn. Spend time with Engineering and Design to observe team dynamics and collaboration styles. Also talk with Marketing, Sales, Data, and Operations, to align on what they expect of you – all the while being aware that if they have not worked with PMs before, you may have to inform them what to expect of you.
At the 30 day mark, share back in writing what you heard – to demonstrate that you listened and show that you're integrating the information that you've been given.
At 60 days, be ready to publish your hypotheses about product strategy and thoughts on what's needed to validate those hypotheses. Depending on your background, you may not feel like an expert in this space yet, so I'd encourage you to be vulnerable and ask for feedback even after the memo is out.
By 90 days, you should have a plan of action that is fully aligned with Engineering, Design, and cross-functional partners. You should be a part of the team's cadence and active in all the right meetings. You should also aim to deliver frequent updates – bringing everyone along on your journey, sharing what you're doing, and tying these to long-term shared goals.
It takes a solid 6 months for any new leader to make an impact on an organization. My first goal is usually to build trust and gain as much context as possible before making any big decisions or changes.
30 Days - My first objective is to listen and understand the organization, its customers, its goals and challenges.
Identify key points of contact, stakeholders/customers, and colleagues. In the past I have done "listening tours" where I sit down with as many people as possible that represent voices within the organization and hear:
- Their thoughts on the team and what is working/not working.
- What they think the role of Product is and what Product can bring to the table within the org.
- What are their biggest challenges short/med/long term goals and how can my team help them
- Understand the history, culture and general context of the org - how decisions are made, processes etc.
- Identify any immediate or urgent concerns that need to be addressed ASAP
Document all my conversations and start process of pattern-matching.
60 days - Developing a point of view and start sketching out short/med/long term goals.
- Using my learnings from the above start developing a rough outline of short/med/long term issues and opportunities with basic effort/impact for prioritization
- Define what success looks like - can I visualize the customer journey, what are the KPIs I want to move, what does my "postcard from the future" look like?
- Start building buy-in and rapport with key people within the organization - solicit feedback on outline and ask appropiate 2nd/3rd level questions to gain better understanding of issues and potential solutions.
- Understand the resources/skills necessary to execute and start lining up strategy to acquire - do we need more analytics support, more process or skills/education in a certain area, etc. What are the gaps on my team and what can I do to address?
90 days - Build and learn
- Have a more polished short term roadmap, and ideas for medium/long term. Ideally outputs from my short term roadmap can help inform decisions further down the line - discovery tasks, making a prototype/MVP, etc.
- Have regular checkins with key stakeholders to provide updates on workstreams and solicit feedback.
- Start process of filling gaps defined above with feedback from the team - pilot new processes, securing help from other teams, etc.