I'm new to a business and the industry, where do I start?

  • 20 December 2022
  • 2 replies

Userlevel 1

It’s maybe not as dramatic as the subject sounds, but I’ve recently joined a company that has several divisions, there are cross overs between divisions, two are B2C, one is B2B and one is both.

I’m working in the B2B area mainly, but some of those products I’m responsible for have B2C elements too so I can see my domain expanding as there are only a few product people (3) across it all.

It’s a great opportunity that has got me buzzing about it, but with so many things that are happening right now in silos, where do I start with pulling together things like roadmaps, what’s currently “in flight” and what opportunities there could be. I’m only a month in, so I’m still in data gathering mode.

Dev resource is limited, so getting to a priority of what we are trying to do “Now” is my focus, but I need to start shifting to “Next” pretty soon. I’ve got the scrum master, product owner hats on as well with the dev team.

They are a young team when it comes to product management and UX, but it’s a good bunch and they have invested in good people.

  • I’ve got Productboard Pro up and running and teams are starting to push insights into it already, which is great to see the business bought into it already.
  • I’m working my way around the teams doing intros and getting feedback from the business.
  • I’m asking about the business goals/objectives, this is an area that the leadership team are trying to do better.
  • I’m looking at where the revenue comes from.
  • I’m trying to define ‘the customer/user’ for each of the products and pull in the quant data we have. I haven’t yet spoken to customers yet as I want to get my head around the industry a bit more so I can ask sensible questions.

Any advice for turning all that into a direction and plan?

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2 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +2

I feel your joy and your pain. This is kind of my sweet spot. There’s a lot to take in and you feel the pressure to deliver value fast, right? Fun, exhausting, and the only way I’d have it 😁

Try to avoid too much time spent absorbing current actions/tactics before you understand the market needs deeply.

My process typically follows this order:

  1. What does the market look like? What forces are at play; what needs exist; which needs are well-served and which ones aren’t; who are the major players and how do they map to needs.
  2. Where does your company fit in that picture in the market’s mind?
  3. What has been your ideal customer and what defines that cohort?
  4. How has your company been addressing the market to date?
  5. And finally … what strategic plan is currently in place as how is it being acted on and invested in?

If you successfully get outside the organization and paint that wholistic picture for yourself you might be surprised how useful it is to the rest of the org who have been bogged down with operations (including the leadership team!).

Diagrams and data visualization are great for pulling the story together. I usually end up with a series of slide decks focusing on different areas of concern targeted to different audiences. If there isn’t a roadmap in place, you can build that too, but it’s probably pretty far down the priority list.

IME, most orgs have lost the context behind their goals and investments. Helping them regain that perspective from the product position is the most useful thing you can do before getting deep in the routine and fussing with roadmaps and engineering task lists.

Userlevel 1

A fab response with some great advice, thank you. I’m trying to not get too caught up in current tasks and things already in flight and maybe I’m trying to cover too much at once and not making the headway of the right things.