Day in the Life: Director of Product Management (Startup)

 

Job Title: Director, Product Management

Industry: Advertising Technology

Location: New York, NY

Age: 30

Gender: Female

Salary/Benefits: $200k plus $20k bonus per year paid out quarterly. It’s based on both personal & company performance. Health benefits (vision & Dental), pre tax FSA, pre tax metro card purchases and 401k no match. I pay for health ($30 / mo).

Employer Type: Startup (private company)

Employer Size: 80 employees

How Long in Current Position: 1 year

Highest Level of Education: BS in Economics plus lots of industry certifications

Path to This Job: I was in an operations role and naturally took on a lot of product responsibilities because the role didn’t exist. I eventually moved over full time and never looked back. I’ve always been interested in marketing and advertising and been technical – I almost went to school for engineering but decided against it. I love product because it’s challenging, you get to speak to so many different teams and types of personalities and really bridge the gap between technical and business. It’s also a lot of problem solving and critical thinking, and I love that challenge.

A typical day at work:

6:00am: Alarm goes off. Lie in bed in the dark mentally going through my schedule and priorities for the day and willing myself to get up. Throw workout clothes on, down a glass of water and check emails and slack while brushing my teeth. Reply to urgent ones if needed.

6:30-7:30am: Gym time

8:30am: Arrive at work. I have a 20 min commute where I check email and slack  throughout to catch my  offshore team if needed before they leave the office.

8:30am-10:00am:  Eat oatmeal at my desk with an office coffee while catching up on urgent JIRA (Ed. note: an issue and tracking software) tickets that need my comments, responding to emails and doing my top priorities for the day. This typically includes writing tickets for engineers of things they should work on, testing or reviewing their latest work before marking it as complete in JIRA, creating agenda items or presentations for meetings I’m leading that day, or writing emails to several team leads asking for input on decisions we have made or need to be made.

10:00am-10:45am: I have several team stand ups back to back. I oversee three separate teams and attend all their daily stands ups.  In these meetings we review each engineer’s progress on items, and discuss roadblocks or items that need to be discussed. I jot down notes for anything that needs a follow-up meeting.

Refill my water and use the bathroom before my next slew of meetings.

11:00am-1:00pm: I’ll typically have back to back meetings during this time with various departments. These meetings are typically either with our Sales leads to talk about market feedback and any blockers to hitting their revenue goals, (and how the product or tech team can help solve them ), with my direct reports having 1:1s, or having meetings with engineers to discuss how we want to handle or approach a problem. Though I have lots of meetings the ones with my engineers are my favorite because we problem solve and often brainstorm several solutions. We will discuss all options and hopefully come to a group decision. We then leave the meeting with lots of action items to turn what we discussed into JIRA tickets outlining each task required to complete it.

1:00-1:30pm: Eat lunch at my desk (it’s typically a salad with grilled chicken, hard boiled egg or smoked salmon) while answering emails, or questions on slack. I receive a ton of questions from all team members and try to leave them to one session.

1:30-3:30pm: More meetings. These will often be continuations to the ones earlier in the day or external calls or in person meetings with our vendors. Since we are a small company, I also handle a lot of our business relationships with vendors or partners we use to support our business (some of them are software tools, some of them data partners). These calls will typically review action items for both parties and discuss issues or mutual clients.

3:30-4:30pm: Hour break to work on anything I haven’t gotten to yet today. I’ll answer more slacks and emails, work on a presentation for an upcoming meeting, or review performance for some of our live campaigns. Once a week I check in on the status of our projects and if we are on track to the goals we promised the business we would hit. Part of this time is also typically spent running around to coworkers’ desks trying to put out fires or discuss an issue really quick. I’ll make mental notes to update documentation later if there’s something that can be written for future reference.

4:30-5:30pm: I typically have meetings with our west coast team around this time, which could be a 1:1 with my boss, going over product updates or upcoming releases with the operations team in California, or discussing reporting needs with our analytics team.

5:30-7:00pm: Tie up loose ends. This is more emails, last minute JIRA tickets or slacks so my offshore team can come in to the office to new tasks, clean up my desk and write my to do list for the next day. I’ll also use this quiet time (most people leave around 6) to update documentation with anything new or FAQs. I try and keep this updated constantly so I get less questions!

7:00-7:30pm: Commute home. I try and spend 1-2 hours with my husband without phone time but will often check it and respond to urgent items right before bed. It helps me sleep! I have to check to sleep easily.

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