“So You’re a New Product Manager…” Part 1

Product Managers are recruited from all areas of a business. At Brainmates, we have stories of Product Managers that have joined the profession from Customer Service, from the Development team, the Testing team and some even from the Legal and Finance teams.

To help make the transition into Product Management a little easier, we will be giving new Product Managers tips over the next few weeks on how to make an immediate impact when they start their new role.

Tip 1: Speak to People and Consider What They Say

Get organised! Make a list of the people across the organisation that interact with, make decisions for, and support your new product. You may want to include your direct manager on the list.

Once you’ve collated a list, set up meetings to ask interview each stakeholder. Firstly, ask for a general impression of your product. Secondly, ask them to detail any areas for improvement. Thirdly, if the person is customer facing, ask them what customers are saying about your product.

Listen to what they have to say without making any decisions or jumping to any conclusions about the product. You will find that people’s opinions naturally skew towards their particular area of concern. For example, the sales team may advise you that they are unable to close sales because a feature is missing from your product. Resist the temptation to include this feature on your roadmap without other inputs.

Collate and analyse your data. Use this data to inform any future decisions you may make during the product planning process. Doing so means that you’ve not only collected valuable data, you would have also started engaging and managing your stakeholders. Stakeholders form opinions about your personal engagement process and work ethic very early on, so be sure to create a good first impression.

This information will generally give you a good overview of what’s working well and what the current product pain points are. It will also provide you with material to take to and discuss with your manager.

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