Wednesday, June 22, 2011

10 Steps to Prepare for A New Product Management Position

You've survived the interview process and have signed the papers!  
Congratulations, now how do you prepare to ramp up and hit the ground running for a new product management position?  

New to product management?
from Adrienne Tan of brainmates

Ten Steps:

1.  Review the job description - either someone who did the job wrote it, or its a wish list of all the things they want to happen in an ideal world - use it as the baseline for clarifying what it is you should be doing and when.

2.  Know the product and be familiar with the company mission, this includes the website and all the customer touch points regarding the product.  I take the perspective of a customer with no product or company information who is viewing the website for the first time - does it do its job to be informative, enable intuitive navigation, and provide accurate, timely content? 

3.  Get up on the Blogosphere, Google alerts, forums, social media - know what people are saying who use the product, like or hate the product - start participating on the company blog or in forums - be prepared to create an internal product management communication vehicle if one doesn't exist

4.  Know the Competitive space - who else makes products, better or different, solving the same problem? What are the industry events and media? Who are the thought leaders in the space?

5.  Identify the Target market - who is this product sold to, what is the installed base, capture metrics.

6.  Start analyzing the state of the product by conducting a SWOT Analysis, preparing an Ansoff or BCG Matrix, ....check out my slidedeck slides 14, 15, etc.  These are good ways to get everyone on the same page about the current "state of the product"

7.   Remember what your role is as a product manager. Define your boundaries and be clear about your purpose.
Product Management Manifesto
Product Marketing Manifesto

8.  Listen, ask questions, meet people, take notes and determine expectations, who you report to, who you have to please, identify the deliverables, and find where the fires are.  Make a road map for what you intend to accomplish and determine who to communicate with and how to get visibility so you can do your job effectively. Plan to nurture a mentor relationship, identify the stakeholders, and get chummy with everyone who has information about the product process, learn the developer's first names, favorite sports teams and hobbies, and anything else you need to know to gain respect and a trusted ear.

9. Document your experience so you can track your personal & professional progress on your own blog!

10. Keep returning to iterate and expand as you gain more knowledge and experience with the product, company and process.

Have other advice?  Please share your experience and suggestions!

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