Being Successful in Your First 90 Days at a New Job

Hopefully my last couple posts helped you get through negotiations and you now have a job at a startup or tech company. How do you ensure success in your new role?

When starting a new job, you’ve got a short window to make a great impression. You also need to set yourself up for success in what may be a role you occupy for 1-5 years or beyond.

If you walk in the door without a plan and just hope your new manager will have everything ready to go, you’re making a big mistake. Every time I start a new job, I find my manager is  really busy and just hopes to throw me into the fray to see what I’m capable of. It’s always easier to assume that this will be the case, and then when you do have that perfect manager, you’ll be over prepared.

In my experience, you have 90 days to make a great first impression.

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So, You Want to be a Product Manager?

How do you become a product manager?

Its not a job that has a single path in. It’s not like consulting, banking, or law where you go step by step through the process, do the right thing, and end up one day leading a product management organization.

Personally, I randomly picked Intuit’s Rotational Development Program to start my career. I couldn’t have described the difference between product management and any other job at the time, and really didn’t even understand what I’d be doing until I actually started. I just had used QuickBooks for one of my dad’s businesses and thought “hey, that software wasn’t too bad, maybe I should work for them.”

Good PMs can literally come from anywhere, with a variety of backgrounds. It doesn’t necessarily require a technical background, a business background, or anything. I know PMs who are just as good coming from a technical background as those who may have studied something as non-tech related as English in school.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t defining characteristics. I wrote about that pretty extensively in an earlier post. So how do you open the door to become a product person in the first place?

It certainly depends a bit where you’re coming from, so I’ll try to go through some scenarios on how to get that first PM job or get the skills where someone will even consider you an acceptable candidate.

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