This question originally appeared on Quora: What should a Product manager at a startup focus on in the first 30, 60 and 90 days?
30 days: Understand the product, the market, and the culture The goal of the Product Manager is to deliver measurable business results through product solutions that meet both market needs and company goals (see). With that in mind, spend the first 30 days learning and understanding:
- The product. What does the company sell? What does the product do? How does it work? What is the value proposition? What problems does it solve for customers? What features does it have? What kind of bugs does it have? What are the main usability issues?
- The market. Who currently uses the product? What are they like? What are their characteristics? What do they like and not like about the product? Who is the target market? Are there personas for each different type of person in the target market? What are macro and micro market needs addressed by the product? Who are the competitors?
- The current product/market fit. Are we in a good market with a product that can satisfy the market (see )? What are the gaps that we need to close on the product side, and who the market is, to ensure a better fit?
- The company culture. Talk to as many people as possible in the organization--from marketing to finance to design to engineering--to understand how things work. What do people like about the product development process? What do they hate? Do designers feel like they have enough time to do their work? Do developers have what they need to program effectively?
- Ensure the PM role is properly understood. For a Product Manager to be effective, the organization needs to understand that PMs should have autonomy over the products they manage. Executive buy-in is a prerequisite for success, so make sure that it's well understood that even though everyone gets a voice, not everyone gets to decide. Like Seth Godin once said, "Nothing is what happens when everyone has to agree."
60 days: Develop a strategic product plan Based on what you learn in the first 30 days, start working on the strategic product plan.
- Run a Product Discovery workshop to start identifying user, business, and technical needs and create a problem frame diagram (see ).
- Develop personas and user journeys, and start brainstorming ideas for product development (see ).
- Work with the team to prioritise ideas and start building a roadmap for development. Consider methods like KJ (see ) or the Kano model (see ) as a way to formalize prioritization.
- Identify success measures--how we'll know if what we're doing is having the desired impact.
- Put the appropriate processes in place to ensure effective product development lifecycles. This means knowing what kind of requirements and specifications developers need to start working, how research and design fits into the process, where marketing becomes involved, how QA should work, etc. You can only do this once you understand the current culture, and what the strategic plan will be going forward.
All of the above goes into a document called the strategic product plan. It includes statements about the product's value proposition, who the market is (customer profiles), how you plan to achieve product/market fit (the business opportunity, pricing, distribution), what the priorities are, a first stab at the roadmap, and proposed success measures. 90 days: Start executing on the strategic product plan Now that the plan and the initial roadmap exists, start executing:
- Start with a reasonably small requirement with clear and easily measurable success metrics. Work with the team to get it done right.
- Measure, and show, the success of the process. Use this to build trust and continue to ship great improvements and products.
- Assess the situation, and use customer and business feedback to adjust priorities and the roadmap as needed. Flexibility is key.
- Keep going. Repeat any of these steps as needed.
Oh. And don't forget to have fun doing all of this. What should a Product manager at a startup focus on in the first 30, 60 and 90 days?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:
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