In Progress — Product Manager an On-boarding Guide


The on-boarding process comprises of the first 30 days and the first 100 days. Expectations and development beyond the first 100 days will be covered by weekly 1:1s and your own career and role development feedback and discussions.


The overarching goal of this on boarding process is immersion. Over a four week period of time you’ll get up to speed in the framing, methods and guidelines of a Product Manager. The goals of this on-boarding process is to:

  1. Reset into the new context and goals.
  2. Learn the team relationships and culture.
  3. Develop a global understanding of the industry Product Management bar and context.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to solve and prioritize based on a Product Management mindset.
  5. Allow me to learn your areas of strength and growth to frame the rest of your on-boarding process and journey in a hands-on way.

What is Product Management?

A product manager is the most accountable party for right product right time.


You need to be able to engage in problem solving no matter where the solution exists.

  • Planning: Framing the Landscape
  • Design: Defining the Solution
  • Execution: Delivering on the Value Proposition

Wave 1:

First 4 weeks

  1. Develop a research document
  2. Passive participation — active integration
  3. Meeting with stakeholders
  4. Meeting with future working team
  5. Required reading.
  6. Learning the requirements of Product Management on your team

Develop a research document

We begin our roles with hidden strengths and areas of development. No interview process is entirely fair. It doesn’t provide the organization or the interviewee an opportunity to deeply explore the role of the job. So to aid year one development it is extremely important to capture a sample of one’s work proclivity as early as possible.

Passive participation — active integration

During this phase, it’s important to view yourself as a fly on the wall or a passive meeting participant. I’ll explain why this phase exists. We already know you’re good. That is why we brought you on board. The question is who are you going to be? Can you contribute as a part of a high functioning team towards the same Product Management Playbook.

Meeting stakeholders

Your manager and immediate team are just one perspective of succeeding in your new environment. During your first month it’s valuable to learn other context and points of view for succeeding as a Product Manager. Through your onboarding

We read

There are two ways to learn. From direct experience or from experience of others.


Understanding where we are in the industry:

  1. Software is eating the world
  2. Mobile is eating the world
  1. Good PM, Bad PM.
  2. Kill over communication.
  1. New 1/30: Hinkie’s Resignation Letter
  1. Understanding systems design
  2. Understanding sql vs. nosql


How to be a Product Manager

  1. Inspired
  2. The first few chapters of Cracking the Product Management Interview
  1. Debugging the Development Process
  1. Inside the Mind of the Shopper (second edition)
  1. Newly added 1/16/2017 The Non-technical Guide to Web Technologies

Wave Two

Six months.


  1. Understanding your Users: A Practical Guide to User Research Methods (Courage, Baxter, Caine)
  2. The Design of Everyday Things (Don Norman)
  3. Subject to Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World: Adaptive Path on Design (Merholtz, Wilkens)

Design skills

  1. Sketching for Understanding
  2. get your Sketching toolkit
  3. White boarding design (101 things in architecture school)
  4. Sketching design (You can draw in 30 days)
  5. Lettering Lettering for Architects and Designers, 2nd Edition


Thinking with Type



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Mikal Lewis

Mikal Lewis

Maker. Scholar. Product Leader. I help product leaders become masterful PMs and servant-leaders at