The first 30 days as a Product Manager at Tasktop

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‘Perfect fit’ and ‘Synergy’ are terms that have been bandied around a lot by my business school professors, career coaches, and mentors in my professional life. Little did I know that these terms are not just buzzwords thrown around in the business world, but actually something that has a direct impact on my psychological and emotional well-being as a person and as a professional.

Interviewing with different sized firms for different experience levels (for the same position) provided me with loads of valuable information. Ideally, an interview must reveal what stage the company is at, what they want to achieve in the next two to three years, and how will you as an individual add value to the company.

With so many data points in the six months of my search, I could extrapolate this data to determine:

  • the general culture of companies in that particular location (in my case Vancouver)
  • differences in the challenges among small, mid and giant companies
  • the extent to which you will be valuable as a single entity to the company
  • how much of your inputs will be considered in decision-making

I realized that the perfect fit for me would be a company that fulfills the following criteria:

  • A company with 100 to 200 employees
  • An executive panel having a clear vision of where they want to be in the next few years
  • Engineering and Product working hand in hand
  • Follows the core value of the Agile Manifesto, i.e., to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Where individual ideas will be embraced
  • Where you have the forum to share your ideas and reach out to others to test it live
  • Where they truly believe in ‘fail sooner’ and not be held back by negative experiences or results
  • Forward-looking
  • Individual and company-wide accountability for initiatives

During my interview with my (now) manager of Tasktop, I emphasized the kind of company I wanted to work for, as well my professional goals for the next few years. Immediately, both of us felt a good blend – a synergy that I have never felt with any other company.

And as they say, when you know something is right, the whole universe conspires to make it happen. The entire interview process was rapid, from one interviewer to another. Within no time, I found myself standing outside Mik’s office (our CEO and Founder) with a letter offering me the job.

The swift and smooth interview process was enough for me to know that this company truly believes in the lean principle, thus embracing one of its core values “Less is more”! The communication with HR was seamless, and it felt like everyone knew what they wanted and communicated it well with each other.

Today, it has been a month since I joined the company and I can happily say that I was not wrong in my judgment about the company. One of the tasks that I took upon myself was setting up meetings with many of my team members and stakeholders to understand their success factors, constraints, career goals, roadmaps, expectations from the new Product Manager, how can the Product team improve, business OKR for departments and so.

This exercise made me happy because, by the end of the first few weeks, I realized that all of them were on the same page. The biggest win for me was that they understood the direction in which the company was heading. What’s more, the OKR for the various departments directly tied to the company’s OKR for the year. And everyone is focussed on putting processes and metrics in place to monitor progress and act sooner while keeping interactions with people on top. It just felt like the perfect space for me to be in and contribute.

The trust that my manager and co-workers have put in me to make things happen has been immense. I feel safe and secure to ask questions in meetings and not feel stupid about it. My product team, in particular, has been very supportive and accommodating of my ideas. I could not have asked for anything more than this at this point in my career. Tasktop is the perfect fit.