Q: Where should a new product owner (PO) focus in their first 30 days?
My strong advice is speak with data. And that may mean at first — not speaking too much! 🙂
"We need a product guy"
"Ok, but we aren't ready for a VP yet. Let's just hire a junior person from a top logo like Slack/Box/etc"
… 90 days later …
"Why does he just write spec docs at his desk all day long while the engineers all ignore him?"
— Jason ✨BeKind✨ Lemkin #ДобісаПутіна (@jasonlk) February 21, 2020
Here’s my suggestion for the first 30 days:
- Visit as many customers as you can. Try to visit at least 10 in person, and …
- Talk to as many customers as you can. Zoom with another 10–20.
- Listen in on as many sales calls as you can. Also listen to as many Choruses and Gongs as you can.
- Listen in on as many customer success calls as you can. Hopefully, there are many!!
- Answer 100 support tickets. Do at least 4–5 stints on support. Ideally, more. Trust me. Do it.
- Start a weekly webinar for existing customers AND prospects — and listen. Ask for open-ended questions at the end.
- Ask the sales team to force rank their Top 10 feature requests.
- Ask the dev team to force rank their Top 10 pieces of technical debt.
- Publish your product roadmap. This will force folks to align.
And most importantly, don’t under hire for this role. You want a real VP that knows how to align the troops, build and ship features, and speak with customers. Not a junior product person that can’t drive things to the next level.
Visit and Listen.
Then, and only then, provide real opinions on where the product should go.
Once you have data to back those opinions up.
Not just “Here’s How We Did It At My Last Company.”
(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)