A Day in the Life of a TribalScale Product Manager

By Deepika Gauba

I joined TribalScale in November 2016 when we were a growing team of 40 people. I was the third Product Manager (PM) on the team lead by Mitch Seguin. I found TribalScale through my mentor, Farhan Thawar who encouraged me to reach out to Mitch, “TribalScale was ‘the’ place to be for talented and hungry people,” he said.

The day I walked into the office for my first interview with Mitch, I immediately noticed how different TribalScale was from the extreme quiet of other startups — no one was wearing headphones and engineers were talking with their pairs. The energy was exciting with constant buzzing and conversation.

Nearly two years later, I am now a TribalScale Product Lead for a large media organization and am responsible for the mobile, Web, and OTT products. And this is a day in the life…

9:15 am — Office Standup

I come in around 9:00 am to grab breakfast before our company standup. At standup, everyone in the company gathers in our event space to share the latest tech news, give kudos to those that went above and beyond and embodied one of the three TribalScale values — empowerment, meritocracy, and transparency. And we share failfast moments so others can learn from our mistakes. All of this in 5–10 minutes!

After office standup, I head over to the PM Weekly Jam where we review projects in flight — which gives us an insight into what others are working on — and a view into upcoming projects.


10:00 am — Client Presentation

I take a remote client call. We’re starting to brainstorm improvements on one of the most important parts of our product, which is also in each of above mentioned platforms. To prepare, I have been compiling and synthesizing findings into a competitive analysis that will be presented to the executive stakeholders on the client side. I need to review this with my client Product Owner before that presentation. This is one of my favorite parts of the job: getting to shape the roadmap of a product that touches millions of people across the globe. Initial research and conversation is just one of the first steps in TribalScale’s discovery process, and it is vital to receive initial buy-in for the success of the product in the early stages of product discovery.

11:00 am — Interview with a potential new hire

TribalScale is on a hockey stick growth curve. Over the past couple of months, we have brought on 6 amazing product managers to our team, growing the total to just over 20 PMs, spread across 5 offices in 3 different countries! And since the growth is not looking to slow down anytime soon, I am going to take this time to get ready for a potential Product Manager candidate interview. Our PM interview process aims to assess the following:

  • Craft: how do you approach Product Management, what methodologies do you use, etc.?
  • Consulting: can you handle client requests and push back when necessary?
  • Leadership: can you direct a team confidently, are you afraid to take the initiative?
  • Engagement: why do you want to be a PM at TribalScale?
  • After the initial phone screen and in-person chat, we invite candidates for a pairing interview where we do a collaborative exercise.

    12:00 PM — Product Learning Session

    We have our bi-weekly product learning session today! Lunch is catered — presenter’s choice. In each session, one of our PMs leads a conversation on a product topic of our choice — in the last, Leo and Daniel reviewed the tips and tricks for Google Inspect and Charles Proxy, which allow for quick feedback on mobile and desktop products. Today, we’re learning about Test Driven Development from Andrew Leung, our Director of Engineering. These sessions usually turn into a discussion with action items.

    1:00 PM — Discovery Planning

    My competitive analysis was well received. Now, I need to start planning the next steps in our discovery. The goal is to get a feature-set which has been validated by real users. For this, I’m pairing with our Director of Design, Jane Motz Hayes. Jane has over two decades of UX and strategic design experience, and brings a burst of energy and motivation everywhere she goes! The best thing about TribalScale is the vast amount of talented and humble people within reach, who are always ready to lend a helping hand.


    2:00 PM — Discovery Planning Continued


    Jane and I drafted a rough structure, which in true TribalScale fashion will be iterated upon as we execute. The next step is to conduct a round of user surveys with our existing and potential users to get their feedback. I have a lot of reading to do — starting with “A Practical Guide to Usability Testing” by Joseph S. Dumas and Janice C. Redish from Jane’s personal library.

    3:00 PM — Product Team Meeting

    I’m meeting with the rest of the Product Team. Our project encompasses various platforms and we have 4 Product Managers working on this project. Since this new discovery will impact all of the teams and their roadmaps, we’re getting together to collaborate and outline any potential risks. This is also a great way for the team to stay aligned as we work on similar feature-sets.


    4:00 PM — Scoping Notes

    Last week, I facilitated a scoping session for a prospective TribalScale client. We reviewed their goals (product, business, and anti), timelines, feature-set, and go-to-market strategy. Now, I need to synthesize my notes, draft a project plan, and review the feature-set with the development team before the scope is presented to the client.

    5:00 PM — Team Retrospective

    It’s almost the end of the day and we’re heading into our mobile team retrospective. These ‘retros’ are held bi-weekly and everyone needs to be present: the client team, the development team, product managers, designers, and QA.

    The aim of a retro is to enable continual learning and to build trust between team members. We talk about all small and large things pertaining to the project. The goal is to correct small issues before they become big problems and develop a set of action items. Here are five suggestions to run a productive retro for Product Managers:


    6:00 PM — Home to Stewie

    The day is over, I have some work to do for the discovery and I need to update our roadmap for a stakeholder presentation. For now, I need to head over home to my 1 year old shih tzu, Stewie!


    About the author

    Deepika is a Product Manager at TribalScale. She guides clients through their digital roadmap and helps them develop a holistic strategy that takes them all the way through implementation and delivery. She specializes in the media vertical and has helped top brands build digital products that anticipate, and meet consumer needs.

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