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Vasanth Arunachalam
Director, Technical Program Management, Meta | Formerly MicrosoftAugust 9

I worked at Microsoft for about a decade and then moved to Meta to take on a new role, a few years back. That was the most unsettling period of my professional life. I’ve gotten accustomed to a certain culture, way of work life, people, tools & processes etc at one company and the thought of having to do it all over again was intimidating. I decided to build a 30-60-90-day plan in my new role at Meta to provide clarity to my team (and to my manager, myself) about how I’m going to ramp up.

Deborah Liu, currently CEO at Ancestry, who was at Meta at that time, pioneered a template that is widely used at Meta. She also wrote a blog post about it linking to the template which I highly encourage you all to read and leverage. Her framing resonated well with me and I’ll share my personal take on it.

First 30 days of LEARNING: One of the common pitfalls that n00bs (aka new employees) do is rushing to prove their value. I took the time to understand the new company’s culture, vision, mission, top priorities. I took the time to know the people (teams, stakeholders, partners) and began to build trust. Understanding how you and your team fit into the bigger puzzle is important. The listening tour, sitting in customer feedback sessions or taking a bootcamp class (if your company offers one for your role) are great avenues of learning during this time. Have a clear understanding of what is expected of your role and publish the 30-60-90 day plan to provide transparency into how you’ll ramp up. 

30 to 60 days of ALIGNING: Having an opinion is important for any strong leader. Based on my 30 days of learning, I began to form opinions about what is working well and what isn’t and validated my POVs. Aligned with key stakeholders on what a forward looking plan for your product or team might look like. You are also getting comfortable by getting hands on (if you are an IC) or making small decisions (if you are a leader), continuing to build trust.

60 to 90 days of EXECUTING: This is when the rubber hits the road and the time when you are about to lose your ‘n00b card’ (or honeymoon period). I clearly articulated the execution plan for the updated vision, roadmap and began to lead the team down that path. At this point, I’ve gained my team’s trust and I am one with the team. This is also the time I wrote my own performance goals for the next quarter or half and shared it out. Getting feedback continuously allowed me to adjust quickly. Taking on a challenging product feature or solving for a crisis situation has always allowed me to ramp up and gain expertise quickly. I recall Sheryl Sandberg saying once “Never waste a good crisis”.

Tamar Hadar
Sr. Director of Product, The Knot Worldwide | Formerly Trello (Atlassian)January 31
First off, take a deep breath and remember, crushing those OKRs is going to take time and effort. Next, set clear goals for each milestone and build a plan around it. Just like you would when defining a project, identify success metrics for yourself and create a plan. Here’s an example:

First 30 days: Learning and Absorbing

  • Establish good working relationships with stakeholders: the key to being effective is having open lines of communication with your coworkers. Take the time to get to know them and learn from their experience.
  • Immerse yourself in data: learn where to find pertinent information, which dashboard to follow and how to query data on your own (or work with a data scientist).
  • Familiarize yourself with your product’s users, their needs, pain points and Jobs to be Done (JTBD).
  • Spend time doing competitive analysis to better understand the product landscape.
  • Integrate into the team’s current work and process and identify ways in which you could be helpful.

30-60: Ownership and Leadership

  • Assume responsibility for a project: work with your team to define the project’s scope and add requirements.
  • Define success metrics for the project and work with your engineers and data scientists to ensure impact can be measured and tracked.
  • Identify cross-functional dependencies and reach out to relevant teams.
  • Give a demo and solicit early feedback. Continue to do so throughout the project.
  • Report on the project’s progress and impact to keep everyone involved and interested. Speak clearly about the business impact and how the project ladders up to the company’s goals.

60-90: Strategy and Vision

  • Leverage your understanding of the business and its users to craft a vision and strategy.
  • Translate the above into an actionable roadmap and work with your team to define success metrics for each.
  • Run brainstorming sessions with your team regularly to generate ideas and prioritize them.
  • Evangelize: this is where your storytelling skills will come into play—make your team’s mission known, its projects familiar and its rationale clear to everyone. Write posts, speak at company meetings and bring feedback back to your team.
  • Become an expert: be the go-to person for your focus area.