PRODUCTHEAD: Starting your next role in product

PRODUCTHEAD: Starting your next role in product

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

true product managers wait #


tl;dr #

When starting your next role, gather opinions and evaluate them before making your own appraisal of the state of the product

Think of your first month’s activity in terms of people, product and personal

The transition from product manager to leader requires many new skill sets

To set up a new starter in your team for success, be clear on their role and goals


a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to

hello #

Unless you freelance, you probably don’t change jobs that often. This may explain why people panic a little about what they should be doing when they start at a new company.

There’s always going to be the ‘housekeeping’ of getting to know the people you’ll be working with, the products, the market, and in which content concealment management system all the useful information resides. I’ve pulled together content this week to help you with that.

What people don’t seem to stop to consider as often is how they will reinvent themselves in their new job.

Let me unpack ‘reinvent’ a little. When you start at a new company, the new environment means you have an opportunity to form new habits and behaviours. Not just things like where you go for good coffee, but how you choose to operate as a product person.

In your old job, you may have unknowingly developed kneejerk reactions and ingrained bad habits. Hopefully you may also have gained some good habits also. Then, of course, there’s the set of behaviours you’d always wished you could adopt, but never had the opportunity.

Well, starting at a new company with a new set of colleagues is the perfect opportunity to ditch those bad habits and leave behind any emotional baggage. You can present yourself as the person you always aspired to be. You’re starting from a clean slate (and calendar), so you can decide how you spend your time.

If you wanted to be the kind of product manager who spent more time chatting with users, become that person. If you wanted to make more noise celebrating your team’s achievements and learning, do so. If you wanted to be less intimidated by hardcore engineers, make friends with them. Even it if feels a little strange at first to be operating in a different way, you’ll soon get used to it.

Reinventing yourself doesn’t mean pretending to be something you’re not. It’s more about unleashing your latent potential — aspects of your character that were always there, but which you were wary of showing for some reason.

Speak to you soon,

Jock Busuttil

what to think about this week #

5 Things To Do In Your First Week with a New Product

If you’re already a product manager and stepping in to take over an existing product (or parachuting in as a consultant), you need to find your feet quickly. Here’s my checklist for that first week.

Job titles don’t matter, collaboration and product success do

[RICH MIRONOV / PRODUCT BYTES]

What to Do in Your First 30 Days in a New Role

Congratulations, a product has found its product manager. Perhaps you’re joining a small startup, or maybe you have a new project in a big company. How you approach your first 30 days will make a tremendous difference, setting you up for success or struggle.

Resist the urge to jump in and start changing things

[KEN NORTON / BRING THE DONUTS]


Product Management Coaching

Whether you’re new to product management or have been a product manager for years, a coaching session can help you to step up your career.

We’ve coached people wanting to get into product management, product people with nobody in their organisation to manage them, and experienced product managers preparing to apply for a promotion.

We can help you prepare for your product manager interview, including mock interviews.


“Jock has been instrumental in my personal growth as a product leader but also as a person.”

Ludovic Lacay

Ludovic Lacay
Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Napo


A proportion of the fees from every coaching session is donated to charity. Just reply to this email if you’re interested in finding out more.


Crossing the Canyon: Product Manager to Product Leader

There’s a hidden trap right in the middle of the PM career ladder where many of the brightest PMs fail — we’ve seen numerous careers stall at the transition from Senior Product Manager to a Product Leader (sometimes referred to as a Group Product Manager, Dir of Product, or Product Lead). Let’s explore why this is the most difficult career transition for PMs.

What got you here, won’t get you there

[FAREED MOSAVAT & CASEY WINTERS / REFORGE]

Hello. I’m new.

I remember once starting a product manager job where it took me two hours to establish where my desk was. It took me that time to break the protracted conversation between my well-intentioned manager and two colleagues.

On the plus side, I gained a valuable insight into how NOT to manage a new starter. Here are three basic lessons I’ve learned, so that hopefully you won’t be the subject of a similar blog post some time down the line.

Help a new starter get started

[JOCK BUSUTTIL / I MANAGE PRODUCTS]

recent posts #

What to do when service transformation goes wrong

When companies set out to improve a service or redesign a product, the results can sometimes be underwhelming. Instead of delivering service transformation, the team recommends only minor efficiency tweaks. If this has been happening to you, there can be many underlying causes. I’ve identified a few common problems and what you can you do about them.

Change means doing things differently, not just a rebrand

[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]

The neverending quest for product-market fit

Often the biggest barrier to your product’s widespread adoption is going to be whether it reaches product-market fit early on. Even if you do, you’re wrong if you think you never need to worry about product-market fit again.

It’s not a one-off exercise

[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]

Mission to Mars

Imagine you’ve just been told that you’ll be a member of the team responsible for the first manned mission to Mars.

Now imagine someone asks you how much the mission’s going to cost. The whole thing. There and back. By close of business on Thursday.

Aaaaaarrrrrrgggh. It depends

[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]

upcoming talks and events #

I’ve spoken at various product management and technology conferences around the world. I share ideas primarily on the topic of product management, and this tends to overlap with agile and ethical product development, digital transformation, and fostering healthy product cultures and communities.


“Day 2 saw an impressive presentation by Jock Busuttil on user testing. He asked the attendees to lend each other a smartphone and take a picture. What a turmoil that caused ;-) ”

Walter Schärer

Walter Schärer
Marketing & Business Development Director, BlueGlass Interactive


If you’d like to book me to speak at your event, please get in touch.

can we help you? #

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

Product People Limited logo

Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from a lot of green tea.

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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