Who should read this article: Anyone appearing in or conducting in an interview for a developer, engineering manager, project/program, or a product manager or above role.
Disclaimer: Answers to these questions below are based on my experience and I may be wrong for some answers or you may have another opinion or an answer to it. It’s advisable to come up with your own answers.
Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge and overcame it.
Nugget: Sure. I will describe a challenge of integrating with a system that provides flag of who’s eligible to contact and who’s not.
Situation: We had a migration project on marketing campaigns, to reach out to customers, to get their feedback on products. We were using a central user identification system, to know who is eligible to be contacted. I was not getting the answer to it.
Result: After more than 5 attempts to convince this group with repeatedly asking for same information in different ways, finally they were convinced. We did it in a way that provided us information.
Tell me about how you interact with customers or clients?
In my various roles, this has been done in a. different way. In my current role, I interact with my internal customers as my business partners. We discuss about customer experiences, new changes to the business, and how it can impact my owned infrastructure or business area.
Talk about how you overcame product failures/challenges or poor feedback.
There was a time when our product was not meeting the customer’s needs. We met with the group of customers periodically and explained our limitations. Unfortunately these failures increased day by day to a point that these were not manageable. Then, collectively, we took an innovative approach to come up with a next suite of products that overcame the failures for a longer time.
Tell me about a time when you had to influence a team.
Nugget: Sure, let me tell you a time when I had to convince a team to increase the scope of testing in a project.
Situation: For a customer facing campaign emails go-live, engineering team was in a hurry, to go-live with the campaign. They had a pressure of reaching an end of life of an application. I still had to convince them to increase testing coverage as it was a customer facing application.
Action: I listened to their situation/proposal. In this situation, I had to disagree with proposed testing coverage. I convinced them with past data when a problem occured, due to lack of testing. I shared my past mistake when customers experienced an issue. I also told them that I would have agreed to their proposal if it was an internal release BUT we represent the company and can’t risk the customers.
Result: Unfortunately, there were tough deadlines, due to a legacy end of life. Team agreed to increase testing coverage upto 80% of what I sugegsted. I compromised to reduce my ask a little bit. But it was a good enough testing plan that gave both the teams a win/win feeling.
Tell me about a time when you have made a mistake.
I will describe a situation of a project in that I provided I underestimated the level of efforts for the development. This situation added burden on me to finish the development task within the given timeline. When I came up with it, I didn’t know it’s a large effort task. I estimated it as a medium task. To mitigate the delay of the go-live, I had to work extra hours, to develop the component within the expected timeline. Ultimately, after working long hours, I managed to get through it and complete the task in the given timeline.
How would you handle if two executives are asking to prioritize two different features and you can plan only for
I will describe a prioritization exercise for the situation. I will go through the features requested by both the executives, understand level of efforts in implementing it, and business priority of it. After going through it, to both executives together, I will explain the current bandwidth of how much we can accomplish/deliver. To do that, I will utilize the appropriate forum that is suitable for such a prioritization. Then, after the discussions, I will decide the outcome of selecting one feature to deliver it on time with the expected quality.
Tell me about a time you used data to make a decision.
I will describe a situation when we determined the priority of a fix depending on the volume of the issues. In a customer campaign, we wanted to fix an issue. But we had limited bandwidth to fix the issue. We analyzed the data to understand the criticality of the issue. It turned out that the chances of issues were less than 0.5%. We had to delay this issue fix over other higher priority issues. So, this is how data helped us making the decision.
As I learn more, I will update this page. Thank you !