What I did in my first 30 Days as an Associate Product Manager
Breaking into product is notoriously hard thing to do, especially coming from a non-traditional background like I did. I studied Materials Science and Engineering at University and then went onto work as a Mechanical Engineer in the Nuclear Services industry (you can read more about my story here).
The Associate Product Manager role is only one of the countless routes into product, it’s important to remember that there is no right way to do it and that product is for everyone. It’s no secret that landing a role with no prior relevant experience can be daunting, no matter the industry there are so many unknowns and so much to learn!
| Product is for everyone
While I was transitioning from my former career I was fortunate to have been a part of a very supportive and inclusive tech mentoring community, called Black Valley. I gained valuable advice from product leaders who gave me insights on how to hit the ground running in my new role. Whether you’re a fresh graduate stepping out into the world of work for the first time or someone pivoting into a new career like me, knowledge sharing is important and it is something that I champion.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of why you’re reading this article, how did I make the most of my first 30 days?
1.I asked a lot of questions… and took a lot of notes.
I’ve learnt to be fearless when it comes to asking questions, I don’t care if I come across as stupid or slow because curiosity, for me, is a fundamental driver for learning. I honestly believe it’s important to poke and prod at your new organisation *gently, as this will help you put all of the pieces of the puzzle together.
The only thing better than asking questions is capturing the answers. Existing employees are an information bank when it comes to getting up to speed with internal processes or general day-to-day activities and so OneNote has become my best friend.
2. I identified my key internal stakeholders.
In my first week I was able to identify the departments and colleagues that my team collaborate with regularly. I sent each of them a quick hello on Slack and asked them if they had free in their calendars so that I could introduce myself and also get to know them! Building rapport with your wider team is as important as it is with your immediate team.
In the short time that I’ve spent with with my company I’ve already seen how important collaboration is and this point is something I’d recommend to any new Associate Product Manager.
3. I identified pain points.
This is probably the easiest and quickest way to get stuck into your team. How can you help? When starting a new job not only do you bring your skills and experience with you, you also bring a fresh set of eyes. You’re able to disrupt the disruptor… in a good way of course!
4. I was proactive in bringing about change.
A few weeks into my role I saw an opportunity that would help my teams delivery and boost output. So naturally I put myself forward to take on the responsibility, it was a risky decision to make because of the huge learning curve that comes with starting a new job but as an associate this was the perfect occasion to learn more and immerse myself with the dev team.
If you're new don't be afraid to dive in and get to know your team, your product and most importantly your users!