Posts Tagged ‘product management interviews’

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This is a self-guided, 30-day, step-by-step interview prep guide for Google product management (PM) interviews. It’s one of the most popular features from my new book, The Product Manager Interview; this brand new book has 164 practice questions for product management interviews.

I’ve excerpted that Google PM study guide here.

Best of luck and hope the study guide helps with your product management interviews!

Lewis

30-Day Google PM Interview Study Guide

Day 1. Getting familiar with Google’s PM Interview

Tasks

Goal

Know the scope and nature of the Google PM interview.

Day 2. Getting familiar with the product design interview

Background Reading

  • Read about the CIRCLES design method in Decode and Conquer.
  • Review the product design examples from Decode and Conquer to see how CIRCLES is applied.

Exercises

Do the following pain point exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Child’s 1st Birthday Party
  • Best Handyman
  • Job Search Pain Points
  • Finding Someone to Do Taxes

Do the following customer journey map exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Expedia Journey
  • AirBnB Journey
  • Online Course Journey
  • Job Search Journey
  • Home Improvement Journey
  • Customer Service Journey

Goals

  • Learn about product design questions.
  • Understand the product design framework, CIRCLES.
  • Observe how others answer interview questions with CIRCLES.
  • Practice two parts of the CIRCLES framework:
    1. Listing (brainstorming) solutions
    2. Reporting customer needs (customer journey map).

Day 3. Putting product design questions together with the CIRCLES method

Exercise

Do the following product design exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Disney Experience with Your Phone
  • Improving Google Hangouts

Goals

  • Like a wine connoisseur, detect and deduce how your response differs from the sample. As you become attuned to the differences, your own responses will improve.
  • For now, don’t worry about response quality or speed. Getting started, by practicing, is half the battle.

Day 4 to 10. Putting product design questions together with the CIRCLES method

Exercise

Complete one example a day for the next seven days, choosing from the list of questions from The Product Manager Interview, below.

  1. Improving Google Play Store
  2. Monetizing Google Maps
  3. Mobile App Design for Nest
  4. Favorite Product
  5. Favorite Website
  6. People You May Know
  7. Car for the Blind
  8. ATM for the Elderly

Goals

  • Easily explain why CIRCLES leads to better interview responses.
  • Understand when, how and why one should adapt CIRCLES.

Day 11-13. CIRCLES in Real-life

Exercise

Further improve your product design skills by applying the CIRCLES Method to real-life. For each one of the next three days:

  1. Walk around the neighborhood.
  2. As you walk, use the CIRCLES method to improve everyday items. Here are some design problems you can ponder:
  • How can sidewalks be improved?
  • How can street lamps be more effective?
  • Build a product to solve the dog poop problem.
  • What new products can prevent flat tires in cars or bikes?
  • What innovation can make gardening less of a chore?
  • What innovative new product can make park gatherings be more social, with strangers?

Goal

Acculturating a product design mindset 24 hours a day, both at the interview and in your everyday life.

Day 14*. Find a practice partner for product design

Exercise

Sign up for the product management interview practice group on Slack: bit.ly/PMInterviewGroup

Post a request for a partner or partners in the #req-practice-ptr channel.

Take turns during your practice session. That is, Partner A (interviewer) gives a case to Partner B (interviewee). Then, swap roles.

Coordinate in advance which case each person will receive; to simulate the interview environment, the interviewee should do a case that they are not familiar with. The interviewer should take time to acquaint themselves with the question and the sample answer.

* Repeat the partner practice activity as often as you would like. The best candidates will have practiced at least 20 product design cases.

Goal

Master the product design interview. It is the number one reason why candidates fail the Google PM interview. If you have committed yourself to thoughtful practice, you should be an expert when it comes to tackling product design questions. Use the guidelines below to gauge your product design proficiency:

  • A novice suggests the obvious or copies competitive features. An expert suggests novel and memorable ideas. An expert suggests ideas that make the interviewer go, “Hmm, I wish I thought of that; maybe I should build a company based off of that idea.”
  • A novice mentions user insights that are shallow. The novice does not take interest in users or their motivations. The novice is deficient in user empathy. The expert is a lifelong learner of human psychology and behavior. An expert continually asks questions about what people do and why they do it. As a result, an expert easily points out insights that are urgent, relevant and surprising.
  • A novice follows the CIRCLES method step-by-step, like a home cook trying to make a sophisticated soufflé for the first time. The novice is afraid of making mistakes and clings tightly to a prescribed framework. The novice is so busy trying to recall the different steps of the CIRCLES framework that the novice’s responses sound robotic and textbook. The expert understands that a framework is a checklist, not a recipe. The expert understands that CIRCLES is there to prevent errors of omission. CIRCLES is there to help ensure that the listener’s experience is complete, satisfying and possibly even entertaining.

Day 15. Getting familiar with the metrics interview

Background Reading

  • Read about the AARM framework in Decode and Conquer.
  • Read metrics examples in Decode and Conquer to get familiar with metrics questions in an interview setting.

Exercises

Do the following metrics brainstorming exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Metrics for eCommerce
  • Metrics for Two-sided marketplaces
  • Metrics for SaaS
  • Metrics for Mobile Apps
  • Metrics for Publishers
  • Metrics for User-Generated Website
  • Metrics for Support Tickets

Do the following metrics prioritization exercises in The Product Manager Interview:

  • Most Important Metric: Two-Sided Marketplace
  • Most Important Metric: Mobile App
  • Most Important Metric: eCommerce

Goal

Get more familiarity in coming up with and identifying good metrics.

Day 16. Diagnosing metrics problems

Exercises

Complete the following examples in this book, on your own or with a partner:

  • Shopping Cart Conversions
  • Mobile App Ratings
  • Reddit Posts

Goals

Gain proficiency in brainstorming a complete and exhaustive list of issues when troubleshooting a metric.

Day 17 and 18. Putting the metrics problem together

Exercises

Complete one example a day for the next seven days, both on your own and with your practice partner, from this book.

  • Your Favorite Google Product
  • Drop in Hits
  • Declining Users
  • Slow Download on Kindle
  • Pinterest Metrics
  • Go-to-Market and Success
  • Metrics for Uber Pick-up

Goals

Build proficiency in identifying, prioritizing and diagnosing metrics issues.

Day 19. Getting familiar with the estimation interview

Tasks

  • Read about estimation questions in Interview Math.
  • Read the following estimation examples in Interview Math to get familiar.
    • Women’s Rain Boot Market
    • Smartphone Case Market
    • Subway’s Sales
    • Netflix Subscription Sales

Goals

  1. Learn about estimation questions.
  2. Learn how to setup estimation questions using issue trees.
  3. Learn how to make assumptions.
  4. Try the following estimation questions:
    1. Cars in Seattle
    2. How Many Google Apps Users
    3. Revenue from YouTube Red

Day 20. Practice estimation questions

Tasks

Complete one example a day, from this book, for the next seven days.

  1. Planes in the Air
  2. Gmail Ads Revenue
  3. Google Buses
  4. Gmail Costs
  5. Driverless Car Purchases in 2020
  6. Storing Google Maps
  7. Facebook’s Ad Revenue

Goals

Master estimation questions. Not only is response quality important, but also you should complete most estimation questions in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Day 22. Learn more about strategy questions

Tasks

Read the following chapters in Decode and Conquer.

  • Strategizing: Tradeoffs
  • Strategizing: New Market Entry
  • Strategizing: CEO-Level Issues

Goals

  • Learn about common strategy question types.
  • Figure out how to approach strategy questions using frameworks.
  • See how the frameworks are applied to common PM strategy questions.

Day 23. Practice strategy questions

Tasks

Practice the following strategy questions, in this book, either on your own or with your practice partner:

  1. Google’s TV Cable Service
  2. iPhone Exclusive Partnership

Goals

Provide a response that is thoughtful, logical and addresses the company’s objectives. For more examples of thoughtful strategy responses, refer to the popular blog, stratechery.com.

Day 24. Learn more about pricing questions

Tasks

Read the “Pricing” chapter in The Marketing Interview.

Goals

  • Learn about pricing questions, including the difference between pricing new vs. existing products.
  • Figure out how to approach pricing questions using frameworks.
  • See how to apply pricing frameworks to popular questions.

Day 25. Practice pricing questions

Tasks

Practice the following pricing questions, either on your own or with your practice partner:

  • Pricing New Products
    • Google Driverless Car Pricing
    • Google and Teleportation
  • Pricing Existing Products
    • AWS Price Reduction
    • Kindle Pricing at Target

Goals

  1. Google’s Strategy
  2. Google vs. Microsoft
  3. Google Moonshot Projects
  4. Google Maps in Mongolia
  5. Google Store

Day 26. Traditional and Behavioral Questions

Tasks

  • Read the “Winning the Behavioral Interview” chapter in Decode and Conquer.
  • Draft and polish your answers for the following questions:
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • Why Google?
    • Influencing your team
  • Practice and get feedback from your practice partner

Goals

While Google has an affinity for case questions, you should spend some time preparing for traditional and behavioral questions. Google interviewers usually ask traditional icebreaker questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Why Google?” However, behavioral interview questions like “Tell me a time when you influenced a team” is a newer occurrence. Google’s HR department, since 2013, has asked its PM interviewers to ask more behavioral interview questions.

Day 27. Getting Familiar with Technical Interview Questions

Tasks

Review the technical topics suggested in: bit.ly/PMPrepPlan

Goals

Gain familiarity with technical concepts and questions. At Google, technical interview questions are reserved for on-site interviews, usually for candidates who have succeeded in other parts of the interview such as product design, analytics and strategy questions.

Day 28. First Try at Technical Interview Questions

Tasks

Attempt the following technical interview questions:

  • 100-Story Building and Two Eggs
  • Reducing Bandwidth Consumption

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Goals

Try some technical interview questions, with a focus on calming your nerves and approaching questions with open curiosity. The “100-Story Building and Two Eggs” question is an example of an algorithm question. “Reducing Bandwidth Consumption” is an example of a technical architecture question.

Day 29-30*. Second Try at Technical Interview Questions

Tasks

Attempt the following technical interview questions from The Product Manager Interview:

  • Load Balancer for Google.com
  • Dictionary for Scrabble
  • Google Search Services
  • Bayesian vs. AI

* Repeat the technical interview practice activity, as necessary.

Goals

Build confidence tackling technical interview questions.

Photo Credit: Google Inc

I just released a new book, The Product Manager Interview. It’s my 2nd product management interview book after my Amazon bestseller, Decode and Conquer: Answers to Product Management Interviews.

You may be curious: what is the CIRCLES Method™ product design framework? To help demystify, I’ve explained it below, using excerpts from Decode and Conquer.

Introduction to CIRCLES Method™ Product Design Framework

CIRCLES method product design framework

What are product design questions?

Product design questions test your product design ability. Interviewers are assessing your ability to:

  • Define an objective for the product improvement
  • Choose and identify the most appropriate target customer
  • Empathize with the target customer
  • Articulate use cases (aka pain points)
  • Prioritize those use cases
  • Brainstorm creative ideas
  • Make a logical recommendation

Examples of product design questions include:

  • Redesign the Facebook Newsfeed for the Web.
  • How would you improve Pinterest?
  • Create an experience around Disney theme parks using your phone.
  • Design the next product that Nest will offer, focusing on mobile app design.
  • If you were the CEO of LEGO, what new product line would you come up with to increase revenues? Why? Who is the target customer? How do you reach them? How does the product function and what does it look like (UI/UX)? What’s the potential market size?

Note: Many of the above questions are featured in The Product Manager Interview with an accompanying sample answer.

What are interviewers looking for?

The interviewers are looking for six key elements in a strong response:

  • Goals and metrics. Did the candidate define objectives before answering? Were the candidate’s selections reasonable?
  • Target Persona & Pain Points. Did the candidate choose a target persona? Did the candidate explain the persona’s pain points to the extent that demonstrated true consumer insight?
  • Prioritization. Did the candidate demonstrate ability to prioritize competing use cases or pain points in a compelling way?
  • Creativity. Did the candidate demonstrate sufficient creativity? Or were the ideas copycats of competitive features and products?
  • Development Leadership. When asked, did the candidate have a reasonable explanation of how a proposed feature would be implemented?
  • Summary and Next Steps. Did the candidate summarize their main argument at the end, including clear next steps?

What is the CIRCLES Method™?

CIRCLES Method from Decode and Conquer

CIRCLES Method™ is a framework on what makes a complete, thoughtful response to any design question. It’s a memory aid that prevents us from forgetting a step in the interview. You can also think of it as a checklist or guideline.

Use it for questions on how you would design a new desktop, website, or mobile application. You can even use it to design new consumer products like a car, camera or can opener.

In case you forget, remember that designers love circles. Therefore the CIRCLES Method™ is perfect for design questions.

Comprehend the Situation

Not too long ago, I asked a candidate, “Pretend you are a Windows 10 product manager. How would you improve it?” I stopped her 45 seconds into her response. She rambled and used nonsense phrases like “Windows 10 deepens customer empowerment.”

I asked her, “Have you used Windows 10?” She sheepishly replied, “Never. I use a MacBook Air.”

Sigh. If you don’t know the product, speak up. It’s not fair for you to discuss a product you don’t know.

You’re entitled to ask the interviewer clarifying questions. What can or should you ask the interviewer?

Here’s a list:

  •       What is it?
  •       Who is it for?
  •       Why do they need it?
  •       When is it available?
  •       Where is it available?
  •       How does it work?

This list of basic questions is frequently called the “5 W’s and H.” However, the interviewer may not have patience for you to ask 101 questions about the product. To start the interview, you really just need answers for the four bolded questions: what is it, who is it for, why do they need it, and how does it work? So we’ll call our version the “3 W’s and H.”

If the interviewer refuses to answer your clarifying questions, make an assumption based on what you know. Then, give the interviewer an opportunity to correct you, in the event he thinks differently about whom it is for or how the product works.

I also recommend that you pull up the website, mobile app or application. A visual improves communication. And who knows, since we live in the world of rapid experimentation, the website that you saw yesterday may have changed today. Or if you’re talking about a product that the interviewer is working on, it’s possible they use a beta version internally, which is completely different from what you use. It would be lethal if you and the interviewer were thinking of different things.

Identify the Customer

There’s no magical device that does everything for everyone. But that hasn’t stopped companies from trying to build all-in-one devices. As sexy as they sound, all-in-ones aren’t very good.

During the interview, you want to propose an amazing product, not a mediocre one. To do so, focus and empathize with a single customer segment or persona. By putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, you will more likely design a solution that resolves their specific needs.

Start the second step of the CIRCLES Method™ by listing potential customer personas. Here are some examples:

  •       Food lovers
  •       Soccer moms
  •       College students
  •       Small business owners

Time is limited, so choose one persona to focus on. The interviewer may not be familiar with your chosen persona; help them comprehend whom you are talking about. A 2 x 2 matrix is a powerful way to visualize it.

Kat, the traveling reader Behaviors

  • Goes on vacations with books
  • Travels four times a year
  • Carries four books per trip
Demographics

  • 55 year old, single female
  • Lives in Hoquiam, Washington
  • Income: $70,000 USD
Needs & Goals

  • Discover new books
  • Discuss books with others
  • Write a book one day

Report the Customer’s Needs

The third step of the CIRCLES Method™ is reporting the customer’s needs. You can call it user needs, user requirements, or use cases. In modern product development, the use case format is a popular way to capture user needs. A user story conveys what the end user wants to do in normal everyday language. It does not describe how the solution works. Here’s the user story template:

As a <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>.

Here are two examples based on our persona, Kat, our traveling reader:

Book discovery

As a traveling reader, I want to get recommendations so that I read books that are either well-written or are good examples of my favorite genres.

Write a book

As a traveling reader, I want to write 500 words a day so that I can publish my memoir.

User stories have become popular because they are concise, complete and casual. In a single sentence, we know the user, the user’s needs and the intended benefit.

It’s important to explore customer needs deeply, especially if there are hidden needs or constraints. Why? Here’s a classic anecdote from one of my students:

During her product management interview with a top 5 technology company, she was asked to, “Design the perfect airport.” She plunged into the exercise, detailing what the airport of the future would look like, including numerous runways to eliminate delays and a sprawling food court that would satisfy any palate.

As she concluded her answer, the interviewer revealed that the airport would have to fit into 100 square feet.

Needless to say, she did not get the job. But it reinforces the power digging deeper and asking the simple yet powerful question, “Why?”

Cut, Through Prioritization

Looking at our “book discovery” and “write a book” use cases above, each one screams for completely different solutions. Step four of the CIRCLES Method™ is to cut, through prioritization.

The prioritization step mimics the real world development process. You’ll have a big backlog of use cases, but you’re limited by time, money, and labor. Which one do you do first?

In the interview, you don’t have time to discuss all use cases. So you’ll have to pick one. When you make your choice, it’s an opportunity to showcase your ability to make prioritize, assess tradeoffs and make decisions.

User Story Revenue Customer Satisfaction Ease of Implementation Overall
Write a book A A A A
Book discovery C C C C

The prioritization matrix example above shows how a product manager can be thoughtful about choosing priorities.

Real world prioritization is not that different from the matrix above. That is, it’s based on subjective criteria, weights and grades. Despite some flaws, I feel the matrix is effective. I’d rather have an imperfect process than no process at all. The matrix method forces the decision maker to think and articulate what’s important. Is revenue more important? Or is customer satisfaction? Ultimately, the true arbiter of go versus no-go for a particular feature should be A/B testing.

If you’re looking for an even more thoughtful and quantitative approach to prioritization, you could estimate the revenue impact and investment, measured in engineering effort. From there, you can calculate a ROI-like metric, which I call revenue per point of effort.

User Story Revenue impact Story size Revenue per point of effort Priority
Write a book $500,000 8 $62,500 1
Book discovery $20,000 2 $10,000 2

Note: “Story size” is a metric to estimate the engineering effort necessary to complete a story.

List Solutions

Step five of the CIRCLES Method™ is to list solutions. For instance, if we wanted a solution to help consumers to reduce their junk mail, we could offer the following solutions:

  • Global do not mail list. Consumers can sign-up for the mailing list, and responsible companies can periodically check the list and opt-out consumers.
  •  Opt out Camera App. Create a mobile app that allows consumers to opt-out of junk mail by taking a picture of the junk mail they receive.
  •  SMS Opt Out. Allow consumers to opt out of junk mail by texting a special code to a SMS number.
  •  Third Party Review. Send all your mail to a third-party who will review your mail, discard your junk mail and forward the rest.
  •  Junk Mail Warning Application. Before you submit your personal information to a website, a sweepstakes, or a product warranty registration site, this application will warn you on whether or not you’re likely to receive junk mail when sharing your personal information to the site.

Most candidates freeze when they have a design problem without a solution on the tip of their tongue. Brainstorming frameworks can help overcome designer’s block. Here are my favorites:

Reversal method. Reversing the situation helps uncover new possibilities.

Example: Create a new car buying experience.

Need: Buyers don’t have time to travel to the car dealership.

Solution based on reversal: Dealership should deliver test drives to the buyer’s home.

Attribute method. List all the product attributes. Mix and match to get interesting new combinations.

Example: Design a new laundry hamper.

Material Shape Finish Position
Wicker Square Natural Sits on floor
Plastic Cylindrical Painted On ceiling
Paper Rectangle Clear On wall
Metal Hexagonal Luminous Basement chute
Net material Cube Neon On door

Solution based on attributes: I suggest we build a rectangle, plastic hamper with a natural finish that can be mounted on the door.

Why? Method. Challenge the status quo.

Example: Design a new coffee cup.

Start by challenging the status quo: Why should coffee cups have handles? Cups are too hot to hold directly.

Solution based on Why? Method: Create a coffee mug with an insulation layer.

Reversal method. Reversing the situation helps uncover new possibilities.

Example: Create a new car buying experience.

Need: Buyers don’t have time to travel to the car dealership.

Solution based on reversal: Dealership should deliver test drives to the buyer’s home.

I have two more tips when listing potential product solutions.

Tip #1: Think big

Your typical candidate usually list solutions that fall into one of two categories:

  • Me too ideas. For example, “As the Google+ product manager, I would create a new feature that’s similar to Facebook’s groups feature.” Yawn.
  • Integration ideas. For instance, “As the Google product manager, I would integrate YouTube with Android.” Yawn.

As part of the interview, most employers are evaluating your creativity or product vision. They’re looking for product managers that can see future trends, both in technology and customer behavior. They expect those product managers to plot and execute a plan that exploits that trend, for the company’s benefit.

To help spur your thinking, consider the following big bets from the tech industry leaders:

  • In 2008, Google made a $4.6 billion bid for wireless spectrum. How did Google have the gravitas to make a multi-billion dollar bid when Google had no experience as a wireless operator? Google had guts. In the end, it was one of the biggest bluffs in business history. Google didn’t win the bid, but they didn’t want to. They got the FCC to adopt open access rules that would force the winner to allow any Google device or application to connect to this new spectrum. That privilege was worth billions to Google. And they got it for free.
  • That same year, Facebook launched Facebook Connect. Facebook encouraged developers to use Facebook as their sign-in service. Facebook positioned the feature as trustworthy and easy-to-use. Developers could now devote time that would have gone into building proprietary sign-up and sign-on systems for something else. And web and mobile applications would have access to a user’s valuable Facebook data. But Facebook had the biggest win. Facebook Connect allowed Facebook to track user behavior around the web. They knew which websites a user visited and what mobile apps they used. They could use this data to build better products, and more importantly, deliver more targeted ads. Facebook makes billions from advertising. Better ad targeting can easily lead to a 500 percent increase in revenue.

Tip #2: Have at least three ideas

Great innovators know that your first idea is rarely the best. Why? Innovation is an iterative process. As you learn more about customer needs and competitive products, your proposed solutions will be more precise and focused. You’ll avoid ideas that have failed in the marketplace.

At the interview, brainstorm at least three ideas. It’s hard but it’ll be worth it. You’ll find that idea number 2 or 3 will usually be the best of the bunch.

Also, it will help you from being defensive during the interview. The interviewer will critique your idea. If you have only one idea, you’ll take it personally. If you have multiple ideas, you’ll be more comfortable because you’ll have other solutions to prove your self-worth.

Evaluate Tradeoffs

The sixth step of the CIRCLES Method™ is to evaluate tradeoffs. The first part is optional: define your tradeoff criteria. Criteria could include customer satisfaction, implementation difficulty, and revenue potential. It’s not necessary, but it’ll keep your response organized and easier to follow.

The next part is analyzing the solution. A pro and cons list is a good way to do this.

By evaluating tradeoffs of each solution, you come across as thoughtful and analytical. You’ll also be perceived as objective.

You’ll also protect yourself from being defensive. If you’ve taken the initiative to critique your own solutions, the interviewer has fewer things to criticize. You’ll also mentally prepare yourself for criticism by critiquing yourself.

Summarize Your Recommendation

The seventh step of the CIRCLES Method™ is to summarize your recommendation. This is an optional step; sometimes the interviewer is satisfied with a brainstorm and the pro and con analysis.

But others want to test your communication and decision making skills. That is, can you present a short 20 to 30 second summary of your product proposal? And can you make the hard decision to suggest just one solution?

Summarize with this three-step approach:

  1.     Tell the interviewer which product or feature you’d recommend.
  2.     Recap on what it is and why it’s beneficial to the user and/or company.
  3.     Explain why you preferred this solution vs. others.

Tip on using the CIRCLES Method™

My clients often struggle with design questions because they’re uncomfortable exploring customers and needs without a solution. If that’s the case, it’s okay to have a solution in mind and lead your CIRCLES Method™ discussion toward it.

It’s important for you to exude confidence during the design discussion, and if this is what makes you feel better, fantastic. I also find that having a solution in mind can help constrain the realm of potential personas, needs, and solutions, which can improve the quality of your responses.

Ultimately, I would love for you to embrace the great unknown and enjoy a design problem without having a solution in mind.

 

SketchNote_640x480

Famous sketch note artist, Sacha Chua, put together the ultimate product manager interview cheat sheet. This beautiful one-page visual summarizes tips, advice, and framework from my book, Decode and Conquer, the world’s first book focused on product management interview preparation.

Sacha’s cheat sheet covers all the goodies from the book:

  • CIRCLES Method™ for answering product design questions
  • AARM Method™ for answering metrics questions
  • DIGS Method™ for answering behavioral interview questions

And her cheat sheet doesn’t stop there. It has reminders on how to solve technical, estimation, strategy, and stress interview questions.

There wasn’t enough room to fit all the interview answers from the book, so do check out Decode and Conquer.

sketch

If you’re preparing for a product management interview, you’ll encounter case interview questions. I’ve included 12 case interview questions relating to strategic, business, and product design issues here.

Strategic & Business Issues

  • Amazon cannot get enough Nintendo consoles.  What should Amazon do when visitors find that it’s out of stock?
  • There is no Amazon.cz. That is, citizens in the Czech Republic cannot purchase from Amazon. What issues should Amazon evaluate before deciding whether they should start selling in the Czech Republic?
  • The US government recently submitted a bill to tax all online sales. Pick a pro or con side of the argument, and explain your position.
  • Walk me through Amazon’s marketing plan for the new Xbox.
  • How can Amazon convince users to write more product reviews?
  • Should Amazon decrease payouts to Amazon Associates?
  • What is the lifetime value of a Kindle user?
  • How can Google+ get its users to add more friends to their network? How would that help Google+?
  • Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?
Design
  • Create a mobile app to help adults learn new hobbies.
  • Design a new shopping app.
  • Pick a product from the kitchen and redesign it.

For more PM case interview questions, along with sample answers, check out my book, The Product Manager Interview.


google

Thank you everyone for all the positive feedback, comments, and suggestions on this article since I published it back in September 2013.

I’ve updated this article to reflect the latest questions, interview reports, and comments I’ve received about the Google product manager process through Impact Interview’s 1:1 work with clients.

You can find the updated article and tips at this new location:

How to Prepare for the Google Product Manager Interview

Photo Credit: Antonio Manfredonio