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Joining Productboard as an associate product manager

Joining Productboard as an associate product manager

I joined Productboard a few months ago as an Associate Product Manager. It’s been an extraordinary experience, and I’d like to share with you seven highlights of my journey — so far.

Culture of support and Togetherness

I started working in product management about 20 months ago and I’m still at the very beginning of my product career. At my previous job, there was no senior product manager above me — somebody I could learn from and who would support me in my career development. When I started looking for a new job, I knew I wanted to work with more experienced PMs. During the interview process at Productboard, I quickly discovered that Productboard has a strong culture of support, and togetherness is one of its main values. This has allowed me to learn from some of the top product managers on the market today. They give me feedback and help me to succeed and progress at my job on a daily basis.

Working as an internal PM is a great starting point

I am so humbled that I am now a part of the newly formed BizOps team at Productboard. It is the first internal product team at Productboard that owns several internal products, and its mission is to help internal business teams to become more efficient.

Being an internal product manager and building products for internal customers is a fantastic starting point. During my first three months, I met with dozens of people from various teams and business functions, including sales, marketing, customer success, support, finance, and people ops. These discussions helped me understand team motivations, processes, tools, and pain points. Even though it may be challenging to have colleagues and customers in one person, it’s a great opportunity to get a deep understanding of the company and to build strong relationships across all the departments.

30-60-90 plan

During my first weeks at Productboard, I put together a 30-60-90 plan. This simple set of focus areas with measurable key results helped me navigate my first three months at Productboard. It’s fair to say that balancing everything that was happening during the onboarding process was not an easy task. Having a clear plan helped me better manage the time I spent learning more about our product, building strong bonds with colleagues, understanding customer needs, learning the processes, as well as working with the team on discovery and delivery.

#hello channel on Slack has been an excellent source of small talk topics

About three years ago, Productboard’s People team created the #hello channel on Slack which has become a great source of information for newbies. Every new Productboarder posts a short bio with a few fun facts in #hello and adds its link to his or her Slack profile. Every time I meet a new colleague, I check their #hello intro to come up with a few icebreaker questions. It also tells me how long the person has worked at Productboard so that I know if I’m talking to a long-timer or a newcomer. This seems like a minor thing, but I have benefited from this channel a lot.

Recordings of meetings

As a product manager, I have to participate in various different meetings — team scrum rituals, tribal meetings, PM syncs, and company-wide all-hands. Every company has a different approach to these meetings with different expectations and goals. When I joined Productboard, I found it really helpful that most of the meetings are recorded and shared publicly afterward. This allowed me to prepare for a new type of meeting during my onboarding period and to ensure that I could fully participate in them. Secondly, it allows anyone to review important content if they could not attend the meeting, because they were sick or on vacation. It also boosts transparency and pushes me to better prepare for meetings if I know I am being recorded.

Working in a product trio is a great learning opportunity

No matter how big the cross-functional product team is there is always a product trio, consisting of a product manager, a product designer, and an engineering manager. This is true even for BizOps, which is an internal product team. Well, sort of. Currently, we are just a product duo, but we are actively looking for a talented product designer to fill this trio gap. Why is a product trio so important for us at Productboard? We believe that every problem can be approached from three perspectives — customer, business, and technology. Each of the trio members represents one of those perspectives, and together they are able to come up with smarter and more out-of-box solutions that work for everyone. For me, the product trio is a great learning opportunity and a way to relentlessly improve.

Transparency

A few weeks ago, I organized a meeting with a few executives to align our new team’s mission, scope, and strategy for 2022. A few days after the meeting, I wanted to follow up with the same group so I sent a brief summary with some action items. I sent it as a private message to the meeting participants. A few minutes later, I got a response from Productboard CEO Hubert Palan asking if I could re-post the message to a public Slack channel so that everyone interested could participate in the discussion. It took me a moment to realize that this makes a lot of sense. It boosts transparency and creates space for open discussion. I believe that in the Covid and remote working era, it is more important than ever before to communicate openly and to avoid silos.

Interested in joining our growing team? Well, we’re hiring across the board! Check out our careers page for the latest vacancies.

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