How to Spend Your First 90 Days 🗓️
Or, as a manager, how to create such a plan for your new hires.
Joining a new company is hard.
In September 2020, after 8 years as co-founder and CTO of Wanderio, I quit to join Translated.
I went from a place that I had shaped myself, where I knew all the ins and outs, to one that was completely foreign.
Such transitions are even harder than they used to be, because of remote work. In fact, for as many upsides we can find in remote, building relationships with your new-found teammates is not one of them.
To make this easier, it is good practice to create a plan for your initial time at the company, setting goals and expectations. This is usually done for the first 90 days, and you may set checkpoints every 30 days, so you get what is commonly called a 30-60-90 plan.
In my experience, your manager may or may not work with you on such a plan. Some managers basically create it for you, while others stay hands-off and expect you to take more initiative.
This is not just personal preference — the reality is many companies don’t have good onboarding processes. You might find that everyone is busy with their job and your manager is not going to help you in a meaningful way.
As a new hire — it is important that you create such a plan in any case.
As a manager — you should sit down with your report and create the plan together.
This article provides a simple framework for creating a 30-60-90 plan and setting yourself (or your new report) up for success. We will cover:
🤹♂️ The Learning / Performing / Personal model — the three main types of activities that you are going to spend your time on.
🗺️ How to structure the plan — in themes, goals, and measures.
🗓️ What to do in the various stages — from day 0 to 30, from 30 to 60, and from 60 to 90.
✏️ Templates and examples — that you can use to get started.
📚 Readings and resources — as usual, to learn more.
Let’s dive in!
Refactoring is a reader-supported newsletter. To receive the full articles and support this work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
🤹♂️ Learning / Performing / Personal
A useful framework to reflect on how to spend your time as a new hire is to organize activities into three broad categories:
📚 Learning — absorbing anything about the business, product, process, etc.
⚡ Performing — executing things that have a positive impact.
🏃♂️ Personal — creating relationships, building trust, and getting yourself comfortable with the culture.
Other frameworks just draw the learning vs performing comparison. I consider personal as a third category on its own because I believe you need to be intentional about it — especially in remote environments.
How you spend your time between the three categories also varies with time.
If at the beginning you usually enjoy a honeymoon phase where you are given more freedom to learn, while this balance rapidly shifts in favor of execution by the third month or so.
So, let’s see how you can create such a plan 👇