Junior PM - challenged or overburdened?
Diversified tasks, extensive product responsibility and profit affecting results makes the job as a Product Manager quite attractive. But how will an ambitious Junior PM manage to quickly and efficient become acquainted with this challenging job? Beside the introduction into new products and markets, he has to train himself in PM methodology and the corresponding tools. Often processes and tools in Product management are even not installed or reduced to a minimum. Make things worse, resource shortage and time pressure in most of the companies disallow any support within the department by experienced PMs or by the superior. Quickly the interesting challenge as Product Manager can become either an overburden due to missing basics and know-how or can drift off into technical or logistical noble administration.
What should superior and Junior-PM commonly do, to avoid such a dilemma?
Goal-oriented Individual Coaching
On one hand side the introduction program of a Junior-PM must be resource saving, to allow him already at an early stage to accomplish the pressing daily business. On the other hand, a PM coaching should be adopted individually to the employee and his knowledge, as well it should be directly related to an upcoming task.
At this point an external coach can close the introduction gap directly on site.
The task of the coach is, to guide the young PM in a goal-oriented, methodical and content related way. The aim is to accompany him in developing his own solutions.
To “take him by the hand” will build up safety for the young employee, so as he will be in the position to enfold his own creative potential already at an early stage.
Consequently, the superior can delegate already bigger PM tasks carelessly to the Junior-PM. During the coaching sessions the tasks will then be executed in a timely and reliable manner:
- Analysis of customer needs previous to product development project
- Analysis of potential new business units or market trends
- Competitor analysis
- Generation of tangible sales arguments satisfying customer needs
- Development of a product line strategy and portfolio roadmap
- Product positioning
- Planning and execution of a market launch
To stimulate proactiveness and creativity, the Junior-PM gets clear task packets to be conducted in between the sequential coaching sessions (usually at intervals of 1-3 weeks). In the following session the finished content will be discussed and treated for further use. In pre-defined intervals the superior will be informed about the methodical and content-related results. At the end of the coaching the Junior-PM presents the results to a management board in the presence of the coach.
Individual coaching will speed up the introduction phase of young PMs significantly, as increased methodical competence is strengthening the safety in dealing with PM tools. According to experience this will result in a higher self-confidence of these PMs and in their raised willingness to take over the full PM responsibility at an early stage.
I would be pleased, if I have aroused your interest for responsible and sustainable coaching of Junior-PMs. Contact me, if you wish support.