Day in the life of a Chinese product manager
After I graduated from university last year, I went back China and joined a startup company. The R&D department only has around 10 people (including me), and I was the only PM there. As far as I know, most of the startup company in China has a similar situation. So here is a day in the life of a Chinese product manager.
Wake up, face washing and teeth brushing. Sometimes during summer, I would also take a shower before work. But normally I would take shower before went to bed since it could save time in the morning.
Leave my apartment, take subway to the office. Normally it would take 60 to 75 mins. That actually is a long time for me, since I would consider 40 to 50 mins would be good, otherwise I would feel tired at the end of day.
There is not much of things I could do on the subway, I would watch videos or read books.
9:30 AM to 10:00 AM
I normally would arrive the office before 10 AM, then I would buy breakfast from convenient store near the office. Normally it would cost me 3 Yuan for one bun (baozi) since I don't want eat a lot in the morning otherwise I would have no appetite for lunch.
All our developers would have arrived the office after 10:00 AM. I would gather them together and have a quick and short stand-up meeting, mainly to clarify what have we done the day before, set a mutual goal for the day, and other issues we are facing so we can solve them together.
After that, I would set up personal to-dos for the day, and update our development progress on our story board (kanban). The tool doesn't really matters, as long as everyone could understand what it means.
Then I start to gathering issues of our products from our customers and our customer supports via our internal management system or WeChat. Companies in China don't use email as a main communication method, instead we use IM apps like WeChat to communicate, since it would be faster to get responds from others.
After that I would classify whether those issues are really bugs or they just don't know how to use our product. If bugs were found I would immediately tell our developers and put them on the kanban.
Go for lunch. Sometimes we go out, if the weather's not good then I would normally order a takeaway.
Take a nap, or just browsing around on the Internet.
Long day just begins.
I receive lots of product improvement advices from others. Our product is meant to help people solve their problems, so I would do as much as possible to give them better experience. Due to limited resources, screening them first would be necessary. Part of them are valuable which would improve our product using experience, others are not.
Generally, I need to figure out the reasons they throw out those advices, are they facing issues? because not all advices are suitable for our product, and I want to solve their problems. If I could help more users by solving their similar problem, then they will be turned into a requirement, and throw into our requirement pool for later team review.
If it is Monday, I would gather all of teammates including the team leader, to review our requirement pool one by one, see if we could came up with better solution regarding those issues behind each requirement.
Then the PRD of each requirement will be written by me, and if it is Friday, another PRD review session will be organized, mainly to help developers to understand what they need to do, and tasks will be assigned to them.
If it is Friday, there would be a weekly team meeting session, basically the topic is to review our work for the week, see if we are delivering features on schedule. Also a reading sharing session, to share what book we've read this week.
If it is not Friday, another end of day stand up meeting will be hold to review what we've done of that day.
Go back home if works were done, if not, I might need to stay at the office until everything is done.
Reach home, eat dinner.
Before sleep, play some video games and read some books.
This article was written back in 2019 and I have changed to another company where work flow are different, and it stays in my draft box for a really long time but haven't been complete until now.
I was meant to share a day in the life of my career, but it looks so boring by reviewing it. However, I still want to complete it to check a task on my to-dos list, and to share it to others.