Starting a new product management job can be an exciting and daunting experience. On one hand, you’re thrilled about the opportunity, but on the other hand, you may feel overwhelmed and stressed. You might need clarification on what’s expected of you, what you should be working on, and how to be a valuable team member.
When taking on a new role, there are many unknowns. Feeling overwhelmed is normal.
In this post, I’ll share some tips to help you navigate the challenges of starting a new product management job while making the most out of this opportunity.
What to expect when starting a new product manager job
When starting a new product management job, expect to go through an onboarding process. The specific onboarding process will vary depending on the company. Generally, the process should help the new product manager get up to speed on the company’s product development process, culture, and goals.
This can take the form of orientation sessions, shadowing existing product managers, attending team meetings, or meeting key stakeholders to understand their perspectives and goals.
A new product manager can expect to receive information about the company’s product vision, strategy, and goals. Additionally, they should learn about the products or services that the company offers, the target market, and the customer needs that the product or service is designed to address.
During the onboarding process, a new product manager should also receive training on the tools and techniques used for product management within the company. These could include project management tools, customer feedback systems, analytics tools, or any other tools and processes the company uses for product development.
Although the onboarding process can be fun, this is typically happening in parallel with other demands that will be made of you.
For example, your manager may assign several initiatives to you. Your design lead may have several mock-ups that need to be reviewed. Your sales team may be blowing up your Slack with comments like “When can we get feature X implemented? I’m losing deals because of this!”
Just reading that makes my heart rate race. 😰
Not too long ago, I received an email from someone who recently started a new product management role, and they were feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
While they enjoyed the work and appreciated the opportunity, they needed help understanding what was expected of them, what they should be working on, and how to be a valuable team member.
What causes stress when starting a new product manager job
These three competing realities often cause overwhelming stress in a new product management role.
1. You need more focus and clarity.
One of the primary reasons for feeling overwhelmed is a need for more clarity. You need to understand your team and organizational goals and priorities clearly.
Having a clarity session with your direct manager is essential, who can help you understand what’s expected of you and provide meaningful guidance and direction to your team.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, seek clarity, and take notes during this session. Remember, it’s better to ask questions than to assume.
A clarity session with your direct manager can help alleviate stress and provide meaningful guidance and direction to your team.
2. You’re trying to do too much.
As a new product manager, you may be taking on too much. Starting a new product management job can feel like drinking from a firehose, with a lot of information to take in and many tasks to complete.
This feeling is a sign of a lack of clarity. It’s crucial to prioritize your time, just as you would prioritize what your team is building.
If you need to know what your goals are and what priorities your team has, you flounder while reacting to every task, question, comment, or deadline with the same sense of urgency.
Not everything has equal importance. You have to prioritize your time as you would prioritize what your team is building.
3. You’re not asking for help.
As a new product manager, it’s crucial to ask for help when you need it. You’re new to the role, and there’s much to learn. Seek guidance from trusted sources, such as your boss or a mentor. Be bold, ask questions, and get the training you need to succeed.
As a new product manager, you have a lot to learn. You must seek guidance from trusted people, such as your boss or a mentor. Be bold, ask for help, and get the training you need to succeed. Product management skills do not develop through osmosis – you must actively work on them.
Starting a new product management job can be a challenging experience, but with the proper support and guidance, it can also be an opportunity for growth and success.
By following these tips and working with experienced mentors and coaches, new product managers can quickly get up to speed and make valuable contributions to the product development process.
If you recently started a new PM role or are about to land a new job, consider booking a call with me to learn more about my New Job Coaching program. We can work together to make sure you have the tools and guidance you need to thrive in your new position. Don’t let the challenges of a new role hold you back from achieving success!