5 Pillars to Successful PM Onboarding by Microsoft Product Leader, Yogesh Ratnaparkhi

The adaptation stage is the most important in a career. Here you make the first impression and people form an idea about you. So it's very important how you build your brand during this early period of your new role. You need to master different skill sets and expand areas of expertise before you can start contributing. 

Define what success looks like. 

  • Strong grasp of your product.  

  • Earned the trust of your team. 

  • Clear strategy for the foreseeable future. 

Define your main principles of adaptation. 

1. Clients. 

There is an alternative to real interaction with the client. The idea is to listen at this stage. Work with your marketing team and get in front of the client, start with a few. This will open up more opportunities and you will be able to have more meaningful conversations with customers. External clients may not always be needed. Your role may be to serve your inner circle of customers. It could be a support group that helps your product. It's important for you to stay passionate and bring true value to your product. 

2. Market opportunities. 

Understand market opportunities. How does your product fit into the overall strategy. Understand your key indicators and work out a strategy. 

3. Become an expert on existing tools and products 

Play with existing products and tools. Create a test axis or subscribe to a subscription if it's a subscription based product. Watch the product demo, 5 Product Mistakes to get familiar with not only the main scenarios but also edge cases. If there is no existing product and you are launching a new product, there are always existing processes or workflows that you are trying to automate. Be part of this workflow to realize the reality of movement for your product. 

4. Team. 

Invest time in making personal connections. You lead influence, and to do this, you need to understand your team, what drives them, what their aspirations are, and 

how they prioritize their work. Understanding how your product takes precedence over other things they need to do will help you work with them more effectively. 

5. Immediate key delivery 

Use the deadline to create momentum. If you don’t have a tangible result, you won’t gain confidence, you won’t know the full scope of your work. Going through this process will ensure that you explore the full spectrum of delivering something within your product area. 

The idea is to understand how far you have come and what are the gaps that you need to fill in the short term. You need to be focused on the areas you need to expand in order to start contributing. Having this structure, especially in the early days, is very important for you to be purposeful in every activity you undertake. Success means you're good at the product, you've earned the trust of your team, they're engaging you in the decision-making process, and finally you've got a strategy for a visible feature that you can tell your boss about. So you did really well with it. 

Product management, like any other career, is about continuous improvement and continuous learning. 

Yogesh Ratnaparkhi, Microsoft Product Leader  https://pmnirvana.com/