Best Template: First 90 Days as a Product Manager Working with the CEO

Congratulations on getting your new job as a product manager!

Product Manager roles are in high demand. Many believe the PMs job is very prestigious, well paid, and exciting. The truth is that the job requires many skills and experiences that you will learn along the way. When a company hires a PM, they have a particular need in mind most of the time. Also, there is no standard agreement of what a PM should do; instead, it can be peculiar depending on its size, vertical, industry, etc.

Also, Product Managers can report to many different types of bosses. For example, some report to the CTO or CPO, and sometimes, they report directly to the CEO.

In this blog post, I will share with you a quick template of how to succeed in your first 90 days as a PM if you are reporting to the CEO.

Over the years, I have been working directly with the owners, founders, and CEOs, and I noticed a common trait they look for: results.

That's the main guideline for succeeding as a PM when you work directly with the CEOs. So, therefore, it's essential to understand and set the goals of what results mean to them.

Then, another common trait is that they don't want revolutionary and costly changes in general. So if you can offer a choice where they can achieve the same results with less time and resources, that is the most preferred option. In that case, it is always great to focus on low-hanging fruit opportunities to achieve results quickly.

Finally, the CEOs tend to give great latitude in how you can achieve your results. They will not prescribe how, but you need to discuss your solution and seek agreement in the execution. That gives you clarity about their style of resolving issues and understanding what they don't want you to do. But, of course, they will not tell you that; it's your job to probe for the redlines.

Here is the summary:

  • Congratulations and celebrate!
  • Understand the problems of the company and the CEO
  • Set and agree on what the tangible results your CEO wants from you
  • Review with the CEO about how you are going to execute
  • Understand what he doesn't want you to do
  • Go and do the job!

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