Mikaela Reyes
Mikaela Reyes

Check-In: 30 Days in my PM Job

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Wow. It’s been 30 days already? Next thing I know it’ll be 60 then 90 then a year!

As a PM, I have a lot of leeway in how my schedule looks like and how I ramp up. But with all that ownership comes a lot of doubt: “Is what I’m doing with my time what I really should be doing?”, “What do I not know that I don’t know about my product?”, “Can I trust my intuition enough to make this big product decision?”

Lots of existential crises (like I don’t have enough of that already!). I wanted to take this 30-day mark to take a step back and think about the progress I’ve made in the past month & a half, against a pretty robust benchmark of how I think I should be performing per category.

I made this checklist to track my progress. I’ll track it up until my 120th day, per 30 days, so I have a good baseline of how I’m tracking towards “success”!

Superpower

Be the expert in your product area such that people directly go to you for questions.
Be expert and confident enough to be able to teach someone about the ins and outs of your product focus.
Be at the level in which you can identify and form an opinion about a larger challenge or product area you think the company should pursue.

Process

Get invited to all necessary groups, email threads, meetings, standups and Slack channels
Setup weekly 1:1s with manager and other key peer PMs
Theme & schedule your days so you can focus (i.e. separate for customer visits, market research, spec writing, bug watching, etc.) Have time to block out entire blocks dedicated to no-meetings – pure solitary work.

Team & Stakeholders

Setup 1:1s with all key stakeholders (data, design, UER, engineering, strategy, PMM). Ask “How can we help each other?”
Know which immediate stakeholders to ask to get things done and which types of questions to ask specific stakeholders
Get demos / perspectives of the product from key stakeholders (i.e. QA, sales engineers, etc.)

Users/Customers

Know the personas of users and customers from previous user research
Meet and talk to actual users of your immediate product
Setup regular cadence and/or systems to constantly receive 1st person user feedback
  • VoC/Sales calls
  • Support tickets
  • User research sessions

User Experience

Dog food and go through the entire workflow. Document this experience.
Setup regular cadence and system to dog food the workflow and experience. If possible, setup a demo environment.
Break down, critique and analyze each part of the current user workflow. Document it.

Market & Competitor Landscape

Absorb press and collect relevant information about market and competitors
Understand how your product stacks against the rest of the market. Draw it.
Go through the product experience of competitors. Document it.

Data & Metrics

Map out how northstar metrics are operationalized. Memorize these metrics.
Setup your own personalized product metrics dashboard
Deep dive into your experimentation platform and know how to set one up.

Org & Other Product Areas/Teams

Draw out the organizational hierarchy & memorize key people’s names
Understand the other products & teams that your product works under and touches.
Take to heart the larger priorities and OKRs of the org.

Personal

Sign up for all the benefits! Get recommendations from people.
Get comfortable with your daily and weekly routines.
Figure out your superpower and capitalize on that in your everyday.

Growth & Mentorship

Have a list of strong possible mentors & people who I should reach out to
Identify 3 key sponsors/mentors (besides my manager) within the company & establish a regular cadence with them
Operationalize meeting with a new person in the org (or going deep with someone I’ve met in the past) every week

Tools & Tips

Create product spec template
Organize Google drive and relevant resources/links dashboard
Have all necessary software, demo environments, accounts setup on your device

Let’s see how the next 30 days turn out.