Your first week as a PM Checklist

Checking off the checklist

It doesn’t matter if joined a new workplace, took on the responsibilities as a Product Manager for the first time or are joining another team in the same org as a PM. Here are a couple of things you can do on your first week to supercharge your work so that you can get started as soon as possible.

Stack: If you are working on a Product, it would be built on top of one or more technologies. Sit with the team you are going to be working with and ask them (sometimes stupid) questions like: What’s powers this Product/Feature/Page? What are the layers involved for making sure that this product works in Production? Draw a (data/process) diagram of the core parts of infra and then how they connect with other parts of the infra and 3rd party tools/infra. This will help you a lot when working on RCAs, Writing PRDs/Specs and Estimating timelines & complexities. You will also from a very top level view of what your team is dealing with them they push code & pixels to production from your PRDs and Specs.

Analytics: One of the things I regret not doing enough, is sitting down with someone from the engineering team (or a data analyst or a PM) to understand various Analytics infra that they use and where. Once you get understand the What & Where of your data infra you can start then go about writing SQL Queries or fetch the data from other data tools.

KPIs: Everything moves a needle and some (help you) move the right needles. Understanding KPIs of various teams and products that your daily work will encompass enables you to work in a structured manner. This will help you get super powers since you can start thinking about things that will move the right needles and ultimately (influence) the North Star of the Product. It will also end up helping you define a roadmap and or get a general sense of where Product Market Fit is at or Where the company/product/customer expectations are heading.

Design System: While the new buzzword on the block is design system but chances are your Product Design team has an informal design system already. Most of the designers are paranoid about making sure that the entire product feels like one product and not cobbled together. Chances are they have defined how much space forms will have, a font system, a general sense of how all the common components will look like. Sit with your design team and understand these, this will help you envious whatever you want to build.

Marketing Stack: If you are in B2C focussed product/biz, you can get a lot of leverage from your marketing team. Just like there is a stack for your Product chances are there is an (informal) marketing stack. Any new feature you end up building you can retrofit them into the customers marketing journey. You will also be able to predict how to market something or what sort of marketing efforts are required if you get a good grasp over this.

BD Dealflow: If you are in a B2B focussed product/biz, sales and BD teams can be your powerful leverage. I can’t stress on this enough, chances are any sales/BD guy worth his salt will know your customers inside out. They can market your upcoming products and get you (paying) beta customers, push your users to use features/products they know is a good fit for the problems they are facing.

Customer Support: One of the most underrated places to understand more about your customers is your customer support team. They can be a highly resourceful place to get your insights and validate your hypothesis with. Since they are in touch with your users a lot more than every other team you can use their learnings wherever applicable.

Hope this helps you streamline yourself and gives you superpowers to do your Product wizardry and solve worthwhile problems.

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