Your first 30 days joining a new team or organisation as a product manager are really exciting, and there’s an easy way to set yourself up for success.
The aim is to get your feet under the table, becoming confident and comfortable in your new position. Your job is going to be deciding what to do and why, with the help of your team, and that needs evidence, intelligence and ideas.
At Government Digital Service (GDS), we use a Trello board to help new product managers gather that context. It builds understanding of what the product is, why it exists, how it got to this point and which direction it’s headed in.
The Trello board gives product managers a set of tasks to do in their first 30 days joining a new team. It was put together by Ross Ferguson around 20181, and I remember using it in my first month at GDS. It was a good tool for gathering the information I needed to start making decisions, and I decided to iterate it when joining my new team on GOV.UK Pay recently.
I split the tasks into three groups:
- Learn the product
- Meet the team
- Learn the mission
The board now has lists for things to do in your first 7 days, tasks you can prioritise to learn the most about a product soonest. There’s also a set of questions you can ask in chats with your team, making sure you collect the most essential bits of information.
Open the Trello board or the Notion board, make a copy and put it to use in your first 30 days joining a product team. It complements the must-haves and key things to remember which help me start or join a product team.
Do these tasks resonate with you? What would you add or change? Let me know on Twitter, it’d be great to hear from people.
These are the must-haves and key things to remember which help me hit the ground running when starting or joining a product team.
The two roles overlap, which can lead to head-butting and duplicated effort. But how might service designers and product managers best collaborate?
Here's how I frame what we've achieved so far, what's left to do and what's next with product teams at GOV.UK.