what is expected from the product manager at the interview. Part 2

what is expected from the product manager at the interview. Part 2

Hello to everyone on Vova’s connection with OKaysi (Senior PM YouTalk, CPO Eatagram, ex. Joom.com). This is a continuation of the article with a breakdown of the answers to the most popular hard skills questions.

As I already said, newbies and experienced products are asked the same questions, only the wording is changed and they expect different depth of the answer. Therefore, the article is suitable for both advanced product managers and those who are just going to become one.

So, these beauties complete our hit parade of questions:

How do you launch a product in a resource-poor environment?

Category: project skills, team management

A standard question on prioritization and decomposition of tasks, but it can be skillfully hidden behind various formulations and cases. For example, you can often hear: “Your project is scheduled to launch in 4 days, but the developers say they don’t have time and will deliver the project in just a week, what will you do?”.

Maximum variability is possible in such tasks, therefore let’s start with critical questions:

  • Do I have other commands to intercept resources?

  • What if we delay the release of the project?

  • What is the functionality of the project in the launch, can we shorten something?

  • Can the team recycle? Etc.

The case seems to be simple, but you should not immediately give answers, first you need to immerse yourself in the situation. If the interviewer doesn’t answer the question, I make up an answer myself, like: “Let’s say I have one team and it’s impossible to intercept resources, and we launch an important payment functionality.”

The decision is based on the following points:

  1. We dive into the situation: is it possible to redistribute resources and do we allow outsourcing;

  2. We decompose tasks into stages and prioritize them;

  3. We try to reduce to a minimum what we can reduce;

  4. We try to delay the launch if possible;

  5. We close unimplemented functionality with crutches (support service, ready-made box solutions, etc.);

  6. Make sure it doesn’t break anything;

  7. We pass it on to the team;

  8. We conduct a retrospective: why we did not invest on time and how to avoid this in the future.

Describe a situation where you discovered your N skills?

Category: evaluation of results

There may be various questions, for example:

  • Tell us about your greatest achievement;

  • Share the biggest failure in your career;

  • Remember a situation when you showed leadership qualities.

The question is similar to the soft-skill question, but includes critical hards for the product: uability to measure and evaluate results, draw conclusions, build strategies. The STAR framework, proven over the years, will help answer such a case:

  • S – Situation – the situation in which you found yourself;

  • T – Task – the task that was solved;

  • A – Action – the action that took place;

  • R – Result – the result received.

I think the most important thing is the letter R, especially if you are asked about the biggest failure. As they say, Mra hypothesis becomes a failure when you have not drawn conclusions, especially if it has not produced results. Therefore, in your answer, try to tell about the result of your situation in numbers, managerial and strategic changes.

Prepare several such stories in advance, I have a “success story” and a “failure story” – they have been useful to me dozens of times, I “pull” other stories depending on the situation. I will not share mine, because then I will have to invent new ones, but I will share an example of an answer:

“Vova, tell me about your big mistake.”

I worked at company N and developed a Telegram bot for the speed network: people got to know each other in a random coffee format, but instead of awkward pauses, we showed them random questions from a list. The robot was made for developers who wanted to develop their careers, and for businesses it was a tripwire – a way to organically increase traffic..

At the point of 200 users, we decided to launch an advertisement and bought it from a Telegram channel with vacancies for developers. After a week, I saw that the assessment of the quality of the meeting fell, people started to unsubscribe in droves. After analyzing the behavior, I realized that not only developers sit in the Telegram channel of developers, but also university teachers, cashiers, mothers on maternity leave – all of them were thinking of becoming developers, but they were not my target audience. The result is that I mixed all the audiences together and started introducing Senior Developer C++ to schoolboy Oleksiy, who is finishing the 10th grade. After anger, denial, acceptance, and the rest, I divided the subscribers into “pre_advertisement” and “post_advertisement” groups and began to introduce them within the groups. I also launched a qualification questionnaire and segmented audiences so that my mistake would not be repeated in the future.

What am I all for?

Passing the interview is not scary if you understand what it consists of and what is expected of you. And the classics of the genre — the more practice, the more confident you will feel, so don’t be afraid to go through interviews and evaluate them not from the standpoint of “this is failure/success,” but “this is experience” and reflect more.

In my Telegram channel “OKC” I share employment life hacks and tell how to get into product management and not sell your soul to the devil. Take a look, we are interested.

Leave a like if the articles on solving questions on hard skills were useful to you, and share in the comments what would be interesting to read about next time.

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