#59: The First 90 Days

4 winning moves for success in your new role

We all know that first day of work feeling. It’s a mix of “I’m so excited to be here!” and “what have I gotten myself into?”

The first 90 days are generally considered to be the learning phase of any new job. But as someone who’s started new roles myself and has managed many PMMs who have started fresh on my team, I can admit there’s a constant tension between gathering context and delivering value.

I was reminded of this on a phone chat with a Camper this week. He was one week into a new role and trying to balance finding quick wins with creating space to learn.

The best way to set yourself up for success is to be as intentional as possible with your time. Yes, unexpected things will pop up, but having a thoughtful plan will help you get back on track as soon as possible so you reach the 90-day mark with confidence.

In today’s edition, we’ll cover what I’ve seen work well 👇🏻

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The First 90 Days

Here’s four tried-and-tested strategies that will help you make the most of your first three months on the job.

Theme Each Month

I like to break the 90 days down into three individual months, each with their own focus. For example, the first 30 days I’d focus on Learning, the second 30 days I’d Identify Opportunities, and the last 30 days I’d Build a Plan.

Your themes may look different than these, but regardless, it’s a great filter to strategically think about how to space out all of your onboarding activities. Not everything needs to be done in month one.

Consider what success would look like for each theme and choose a few KPIs for each. This will help you know when you’ve done “enough”, since those first few weeks can really feel quite endless. Socialize your themes and KPIs with your manager to ensure you both have the same expectations about your onboarding.

Learn Out Loud

The first few weeks of a new role can feel like drinking out of a firehose. There’s so much to learn and so many people to meet. It’s easy to feel nervous that you’re missing critical information and you may find yourself holding back until you you’re fully up to speed.

But, I think this is a mistake. Don’t hide your learnings away and then share it in a slide deck on Day 90. Learn out loud. By that I mean, share what you’re learning as you’re learning it to ensure you’re not missing any important nuance.

One way to do this is to send a message to your manager at the end of every week. Here’s what I include:

  • I share what I learnt this week

  • I describe what actions I’m going to take next as a result of this learning

  • I ask if I’ve misinterpreted or missed anything important

Not only does this show progress on a weekly basis, it also provides opportunities to course correct if you’ve found yourself going down the wrong path.

Find Small Wins

While learning should be the focus of your first 90 days, this doesn’t mean you can’t execute too. Personally, I like to set a rule where I don’t make any decisions in the first 30 days - I just don’t feel comfortable doing so with such limited information on the business. But, I am fast at work identifying areas where I believe I can find small wins.

Small wins help build confidence - in both yourself and your teammates. This could be as simple as introducing a new PMM template you’ve used and loved or contributing a unique insight that you’ve learned about a competitor. If you start to stack up small wins during your first 90 days you’ll have more trust from others when you propose larger projects and change in the future.

Make Friends

Perhaps the most important part of your first 90 days is building authentic relationships across the business. One mistake I see many people make is they approach these conversations with too much of a “work” lens without getting to know the person first. Here are 5 questions I like to ask in all of my intro meetings with coworkers:

  • What’s your role and area of responsibility?

  • How do you know if your team is winning?

  • What brought you to the company? Why do you stay?

  • How do you want us to work together?

  • What’s one thing I can do to support you in the next 90 days?

Remember, you’re only new once. The fresh perspective you bring in your first 90 days on the job is invaluable. You’ve got this!


📚 Reading List: The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins is a must-read for anyone starting a new role. I’ve re-read it every time I’ve gotten a promotion or changed companies

🗓️ Events: Let’s hang IRL at the Product Marketing Summit in New York City where I’ll be speaking about how to intentionally design your PMM career. Grab 30% off your ticket with code PMMCAMP30

Until next week,

Tamara Grominsky

Ready to build a high-impact career? Here’s a few ways I can help:

  • Build connection and grow your career alongside 150+ other PMM leaders. Join the waitlist for PMM Camp’s private community, the only community built for (and by) PMM leaders. New spots open up March 18.

  • Craft your own personal positioning statement in 30 minutes or less. Take my free mini course and learn how to identify and communicate your “secret sauce” as a PMM.