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Product management interview questions you need to focus on

March 27, 2018

Product management interview questions you need to focus on

Product Management is a relatively new industry that doesn’t have established definition as the software itself is relatively new. Especially Business and Consumer facing software for individuals that do not come from an engineering background. Thus the questions that come up are going to be broad facing, with no defined, textbook answer.

 

The questions, however, ARE quite textbook. Specifically, the question that is ALWAYS asked in EVERY Product Management interview:

 

Walk me through your Product Development Lifecycle.

What is your Product Development Lifecycle?

How do you develop products?

Walk me through a product you’ve developed end to end?

Etc.

 

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT LIFECYCLE is the focus of all Product Management interviews.

 

Answer:

 

Discovery phase: You usually start with either in gathering business requirements or validating the market, especially if it's a new feature that you want to implement. Always define whether or not this is a feature, or an enhancement? Or is this a whole new suite of apps? That is going to inform how you want to gather your requirements and who you are going to gather these requirements from.

Is this a directive or do we need research to confirm? So is leadership saying: “I want you to build this free returns product feature in this app. Or is leadership saying “I THINK I want to do this”

What do you discover? You discover whether or not you should build this product. Look at your market analysis - other features your competitors have. The list goes on.

 

RESEARCH

Identify who the customer is. Validate if this customer is the customer for this feature. Who are the personas? Is that persona someone that’s going to use the feature all the time? Every single day? Are you going to log in three times a day? Are you going to log in three times a week? Are they going to buy each time they visit? Are they going to buy each time that they view something?  What are their pain points? If it doesn’t have to be an enhancement, it could be something that you’re addressing specifically that it’s causing the pain.

 

DESIGN & PROTOTYPE TESTING

Conduct usability testing with design or hypothesis testing. You know who the customer is, but you don’t know what the persona is. You don’t know how they behave. These users need to see something to react to. Create a prototype and put it in research. Have a researcher or have yourself ask the question: does the customer behave in this way? Because that’s going to inform how you want to build the product, or this is going to inform you how not to build the product.

 

ENGINEERING

User stories and engineering is usually the last step where you're holding the key requirements and the user stories. At this stage, you’re prioritizing and you’re building it.

 

Iteration is really going back to Research and Testing. So you´ve launched it after engineering passes QA, and it’s in production. UNLIKE Research and Testing, users are actually reacting to this and what if the product is not responding the way that you want? So let’s go back to validation. Is this something that the company wants to continue? If the users are not responding the way we want them to, it is going to cost the company a lot of money if we keep up this product.

 

Or, no we don’t want to do this. So what do we do? Do we want to go back to research? Keep it in production to get more feedback? Incorporate current feedback into the product for iterative testing?

 

It’s a lot of assumptions, identifying unknowns and asking for clarification. When you finish this part of the product development lifecycle, you must ask another question. You’ve talked a lot already. Now, you have to get them talking…

  • Is this similar to how products are built in your organization?
  • What’s an example of when testing failed?
  • How are other Product Managers following this lifecycle?

 

If they don’t want to engage with those questions, they will probably say something like: “I’d like to talk more about that, but I really want to get through a set of questions that I have”.

 

That’s fine. They wanna go down the interrogation. You can end this by saying: “I know you have a lot of other questions but I would love to get to this question at the end about learning how products are built in your organization”

 

For more information on specific strategies to address these questions and how to craft specific examples from your background to answer this - please Schedule a Call with us or join us at one of our upcoming Product Management Events.





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