Set expectations about your product role
Congratulations! You just started a new challenge as a product person. So what should you do in your first days in the new job?
First things first: Get the expectations right.
Expectations go in both directions: What do your line manager and people above her expect from you? And what do you expect from your line manager and the organization?
You may say: This is clear from the job advert and the talks I had before getting the job. No, unfortunately, often this is not that clear: Job descriptions get copy and pasted from old postings without any adjustment. Or even worse: Just copied from the internet. And who knows these postings? Often it's mainly HR, not all the people who will work with the new hire.
So my advice is: Don't take the posting literally unless you talked about it with everyone involved.
Here's what you can do:
- Save the job advert for your position
- Save it as PDF on your computer as it can be very hard to retrieve the web page after a year or more when you want to check what is actually expected of you
- You can also archive the online version with Archive Today
- Set up an appointment with your line manager in your first 2-3 days and tell them that you want to get expectations clear
- Prepare the discussion
- Go through the job advert, especially the "What you will do" section
- In the talk, ask many questions
- Ask "What does this mean?" questions.
- Ask "What do you expect me to do?" questions.
- Ask "How can I quickly see how I do regarding the expectations?".
- Ask "How did I convince you to be a good match for this job?".
- Ask "Which reservations about me doing this job do you still have?".
- Do a job assessment
- Fill out a self-assessment about product management to find out your strengths and weaknesses early on
- Ask your manager to do an upfront assessment about you as well, of course this is based solely on your application and some interviews, but it will help clarify the expectations towards you and assessment about you, and you will learn which aspects you should focus on in the beginning