The best approaches to onboarding new product managers

I really like Vrushali Paunikar’s approach to onboarding new product managers in an organization. In particular, the focus on three different time horizons with distinct goals is very important:

The first 30 days are about breadth. Put together a 30-day checklist broken up by people, product, and process to help your PM gain context and develop peace-time relationships.

The first 3 months are about perfecting execution. Give your PM projects she can actually launch within the 3-month window to help her establish early wins as well as learn your product development process.

At the end of the first 6 months, your PM should have a point of view on the direction of her product. Set this expectation early and empower her to own product strategy and vision.

One crucial point that is implied but not explicitly stated in Vrushali’s post is that PMs should avoid coming in with guns blazing in the first month and try to change/introduce a bunch of stuff. The first month is about really, truly, honestly listening and understanding. You’ll have plenty of time to have an opinion. Make sure you understand the context of the company and the product before you start having and communicating them.

For further reading on this, a while back I also wrote about What a Product Manager should focus on in the first 90 days.