First thirty days of being a remote PM. Things that worked, didnt & I could do better.
First some context : Pexels is a fully remote team, however we have people mostly in US/EU timezones.
They have always been remote, even pre-covid! (pexels.com)
From my interview time, we had longer meetings & people are used to sitting through 1 hour calls
This is important because usually you just want to end the calls. But what I learnt was that when you are remote -This is the norm, so meetings are also catchups, treat them as is. Anyway context set! I booked meetings with anyone that would take it. I had to catchup with all department heads anyway, but even beside that, I asked anyone to catchup with me. Remembering that, this is what I would do in an actual office helped.
- Even if it is a casual chat - You end up learning a lot more about the team, what are the pressing issues & how they function.
How they function - Is still a learning for me, but as a PM you want this context set as early as possible so you know what to do
- The next advice that is thrown around is - Talk to customers - but noone explains HOW.
I read over 100 reviews on playstore/appstore. Responded to maybe 20(Low, working on this)
I read all old user interviews.
This helped set context! What do people like, dislike
- Information dump ( Im behind on this)
But I asked everyone to send me links, docs, folders on things they are talking about. I go read them when I can, I want to take time to understand all of it well rather than fast.
- Snoop around
I have read messages dating 3 months before I joined
Helps me understand who these folks are
Problems they solved.
& most importantly who is the person that I can reach out to&for what
Very important from a PM lens - Collaboration is everythin
- Conduct a session.
Despite all this reading, there is nothing that would get me closer to what to solve than talking to the group,
So I requested every manager across timezones to agree to a quick product sprint(Thank god the team agreed)It was long 3 hours or so of structured discussion. You dont want people to often tell you solve xyz. As a PM you hve to know why solve it & why now. So these exercises helped me get there( Still WIP)but great progress.
100% recommend this exercise
- Process setting
You carry some best practices from your time elsewhere, while you should not try to implement all of them, implementing some of it helps.
I set some basic stuff up, will take 3months to know what worked, but its good to have started something concrete
Communication is at the epicentre.
I shared this on day 3 with everyone, so on every call something got referenced. It helped get over the initial awkwardness & just get to work (vindhyac.com/posts/a-guide-…)
- Jump in on calls
I sit on calls I have no context / contribution. I am useless here, but sitting on them allows me to learn & be prepared to do better.
I will take any call the teams will let me be.
- Dive first on open but almost done projects
I jumped in on few projects that have basic figured out, but I get to be part of some shipping so I can learn better about the product.
Im not completely useless here, but Im also not that useful.
- Backlog projects.
There are so many things to get done, but not enough people to do it.
So Im picking things up that need to be solved now & doing it. Im not thinking strategy or data yet. Too early to ship via that.
Im just getting things done.
Ok that is it for now.
Onto first 60days as remote PM now :)