What are some actionable goals a junior PM/PO might have?
I recently got extended for a junior PM/PO based role. My manager asked my what types of goals I have in mind that they can help me achieve during my time in this position. The thing is I have reasons why I want to be a junior PM/PO but I don't really have specific goals in mind. I just want to learn and gain experience, and I don't want it to come off as I'm not serious about my position. I'm also a junior so it's not like I'm in charge of an entire product/managing a team. I've also still yet to receive my list of specific responsibilities for the role so until I get that I guess the only things I want to get better at are:
- Getting better at conducting market research in terms of our competitors
- Foster strong relationships with development/ design team to ensure everyone is aligned with what we are working on
Does anyone have suggestions?
have to plan tasks ahead, estimating how long it will take, what resources will be needed, what interdependencies will be affected, perhaps putting all this into a mini project plan. As a junior you may not be required to do this yourself yet but you can certainly gain valuable insight into the process and develop the skills, just by thinking about hire your aspects will feed into someone else’s bigger project plan.
This way you are both thinking about skills development that will be useful in your own organisation and that are transferable in future.
Other skills might be: following up on tasks already agreed to estimate hire complete they are, is the project on time, on scope, on budget, etc.
Hope that helps.
- Learn comprehensively the functionality and business purpose of the product. What value does it provide to users, consumers, etc.
- What is the future direction of the product ... grow user base or market share; expand or enhance functionality, etc.
- Organize tasks (action items, to do list) and open issues (questions, decisions to be made) into written list (in Excel is good).
- Track progress of those items and be able to concisely provide updates on status and issues to management and to the team.
- Learn about the technology used in enough detail to understand the terminology, the acronyms, and the types of software used.
- Learn about testing: unit testing, functional testing, integration testing, regression testing, test cases, expected results.
Your main objective should be to assist your team in defining a feature set for the product that resonates with customers and current market trends. Identify the prevailing market trends and unique, innovative offerings from competitors.
Given that you can't be everywhere at once, it's essential to establish a priority list, determining what needs to be tackled immediately and what can be deferred. It's a common scenario for the sales team to want everything done immediately, and your role is to help manage their expectations while maintaining focus.
However, if your goals don't match the job, don't worry. With the experience you've gained and your understanding of different roles, you can always explore other opportunities.
Mark recommends the following next steps:
This isn't to say that you should approach every problem you face in your job as an interview question--that would lead to some pretty boring-sounding emails to your stakeholders! But what this will do is familiarize you with the questions you need to be asking, and the angles you need to be considering, as you prioritize use cases and individual features for your team. Over time, this will build into an ability to form a product vision and longer-term strategy for your team, then multiple teams, then eventually an entire product organization!
Day-to-day, you should focus on a few things that should help you in your job:
1. Learn about your company's product front-to-back. If possible, become a user/subscriber and spend several hours in it.
2. Form a very close relationship with your stakeholders (probably in business, marketing, sales, etc.). Go beyond the task at hand; learn about them as people and get to know them; be a sounding board. One element for success as a PM is to establish yourself as a willing partner that your stakeholders can approach to help them solve problems.
3. Understand the opportunities and constraints of your business. How does the company think about opportunities to expand? What constraints or risks exist that would stop them from achieving this? Keep these things in the back of your mind as you think through features and requirements you're tasked with. Why are we building the stuff that we're building? What gets better? Who benefits? Your own clarity of understanding, and your ability to articulate your understanding to others, will help your team do better work.
4. Ensure you're aligned with your chain of command. A big part of the job of product management is translating strategic imperatives down to deliverables. Everybody in the chain of command, from Director to Group Product Manager to Staff/Sr. PMs and associate PMs, plays a role in distilling this information. Alignment and clarity is key.
5. Recognize that product development doesn't happen in a vacuum. UX and Engineering need to have equal seats at the table. Figure out how to involve them early and often in constructive ways.
Congratulations and best of luck in your new role!
James Constantine Frangos
James Constantine’s Answer
You're wondering about potential objectives a novice PM/PO could set, right?
Recently, my contract was extended for a novice PM/PO role. My supervisor asked me about the goals I'd like to achieve in this position, which they could assist me with. The issue is, while I have reasons for wanting to be a junior PM/PO, I don't have precise goals yet. My main aim is to learn and gain experience, but I don't want this to be perceived as a lack of seriousness about my role. I'm still a novice, so I'm not overseeing an entire product or managing a team yet. I'm also still waiting for my list of specific responsibilities for this role.
It's perfectly normal for someone in a junior PM/PO role, like yourself, to not have precise goals yet. It's typical for those in junior roles to focus on learning and gaining experience. However, it's crucial to convey your ambitions and demonstrate your dedication to the role. Here are some goal suggestions that can reflect your seriousness and commitment:
1. Gain a deep understanding of the product: One of your main duties as a junior PM/PO is to understand the product or service you're working on. Set a goal to fully comprehend the product's features, functionalities, and value proposition. This will allow you to effectively communicate with stakeholders, collect requirements, and make informed decisions.
2. Enhance your project management skills: Project management is a key part of being a PM/PO. Set goals to improve your project management skills by learning about various methodologies (like Agile or Waterfall), understanding project planning and execution processes, and getting familiar with project management tools. This will enable you to efficiently manage tasks, timelines, and resources.
3. Improve your communication and collaboration skills: Effective communication and collaboration are vital for success in any role, especially as a PM/PO who interacts with various stakeholders. Set goals to enhance your communication skills by practicing active listening, asking clarifying questions, and delivering clear and concise messages. Additionally, strive to build strong relationships with team members, stakeholders, and customers to encourage collaboration and teamwork.
While you're waiting for your list of specific responsibilities, these goals can act as a foundation for your development as a junior PM/PO. Once you receive your responsibilities, you can align these goals with the specific tasks and expectations outlined by your manager.
Remember, being a junior doesn't lessen the importance of setting goals. It shows your commitment to personal growth and professional development. By continuously striving to improve in these areas, you'll be better prepared to take on more responsibilities and progress in your PM/PO career.
Top 2 Authoritative Reference Publications or Domain Names:
1. Project Management Institute (PMI) - www.pmi.org
2. Harvard Business Review - hbr.org
Organic Web Results:
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This should help clarify the PM/PO Function.
Best regards, JCF.