What will you accomplish in the first month as a newly hired product manager?


Both efficiency and effectiveness are key trades of a great product manager. Efficiency is 'doing things right' and effectiveness is 'doing right things'. A product manager must demonstrate both the virtues. However when it comes to the first month on the job, effectiveness is critical.

Why are you hired?

If it is not already clear, make sure you understand the objective for which you are hired and what are the  immediate expected results. It may be that you are hired as a replacement for someone who just left, in which case your primary task is to fill the gap as soon as possible and get the team in a smooth floating mode. If you are hired for a more long term and strategic purpose, then you should start working towards that long term goal but focus on producing tangible short term results. In either case, make sure you understand your manger's and his manager's objectives of hiring you.


Meet the key stakeholders from various teams and understand their views and constraints. As a product manager you will work with various teams such as executive management, marketing, sales, consulting services, support, operations, legal etc. You will frequently collaborate with members from these groups. Introduce yourself to key members of these teams. Share high level product vision with them, understand their constraints as you mature your product vision.


It takes at least  6 months to really start getting a pulse of your customers and the problems they are trying to solve using your products. However, you must start understanding your customers as soon as possible. There are direct and indirect ways of engaging with customers. Jumping on a call with a customer and asking questions to real users of the product is the most beneficial. However, there will be few opportunity to do so in your first month as a product manager. It is also critical that you come across as someone knowledgable about the product and overall product space. So, be careful as you engage with customers directly in the first month. It may be a good idea to have a veteran member of the product team with you. Indirect ways to engage with customers are, to go over enhancement requests filed by or on behalf of customers as well as talk with support, professional services  and sales consulting teams. Make sure to document your findings for each customer you study and obtain feedback from your manager and other senior members of the product and engineering teams.

Your company's business

Do a SWOT ( Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats ) analysis of your company's business in the context of your product line. Try to understand the company strategy, pricing model and key differentiation. Go over financial reports of last 4 quarters if they are publicly available. Understand the key customers that contribute to the lion share of the company revenue. Document your findings and get them validated.    

Market and industry

Go over reports from industry analysts such Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave for your product line. These reports will highlight key competitors, high level overview of their products as well as comparative feature ratings. Take a look at various product areas and players mentioned in LUMAscape for your industry. Identify key players and study their websites as well as watch YouTube videos of executives from these companies.


If you are inheriting an existing product, make sure you become an expert user of it. Help your QA team by getting involved in a few QA cycles. Setup end-to-end integration test scenarios. If possible, get access to competing products. You may find detail demos of your competitor's products on YouTube. Find books written by authors from competing companies and study them.

Develop trust

Win trust of your engineering, user experience and quality assurance teams. Without their support you will not be able to deliver a good product. Being humble and showing eagerness to learn goes a long way. Know each and every member of the team and understand exactly which features they have currently and in the past owned. You must be able to add real value in their work lives. Knowing your customer and bringing those insights in discussions with internal teams go a long way. Be available. Attend every scrum meeting and grooming session. It takes time to build trust but people will sense your genuine efforts to add value in no time.

Create a plan of action document and a presentation

Document your findings. In the process of writing ,your thoughts will become clear and you will understand things you had not understood before. Create a presentation of your findings and share it during team meeting. People will appreciate you efforts, you will learn a lot in the process and you will be seen as someone eager to learn and serious about your work.

Good luck for your first month as a product manager.


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