PM Interview Questions

08/03/20163 Min Read — In Career

Recently contributed to helping interview some PM candidates for a client. You may find these interesting or useful. They are clearly steeped in my own bias but I also tried to crosscheck them with the company's stated values.

  • What makes a good Project Manager? Program Manager? Are you a good PM?
  • Are you a hands on, in the muck and details PM or a vision/strategy PM? Do you know every detail of the system or do you depend on your team to deal with the details?
  • How do you speak truth to power? A situation where you had to Say No and were Right? And were Wrong?
  • Do you have an innovator's mindset? What does your innovation look like currently
  • What’s your overarching Quality approach? What’s your opinion on shift left testing? Modern agile testing?
  • How do you establish and communicate the project vision to unify your team
  • How do you keep your team focused on solving problems versus just cranking out features
  • Scope creep versus iteration abuse, how do you build it right in the first place?
  • What tools do you prefer for requirements management? How do you manage traceability?
  • How do you manage and track the progress of a project? Of a product?
  • What parts of Agile do you believe in? Which would you like to be rid of?
  • How do you balance the flexibility of Agile with having a charter/plan to guide your team
  • How do you disseminate information down the chain?
  • What do you do to shield your dev team from bureaucracy and death by a thousand cuts from stakeholders?
  • What are some $PLATFORM specific challenges in the $VERTICAL space
  • How many projects do you manage at the same time, how big are the teams
  • What’s your approach for managing technical debt / scoping for refactor?
  • How much room do you build into your project planning for documentation ?
  • Have you ever dealt with compliance/regulated software? HIPPA, PHI, PII, SOC2 etc
  • Can you write acceptance criteria? Do you find user stories useful? Have you worked with a BA or FA before?
  • How do you deal with immovable ship dates? When the software isn't ready?
  • What’s your leadership style? How do you feel about people management?
  • Any opinion on story points versus t-shirt sizing versus hours, estimation
  • How do you deal with an ornery developer? Someone who isn’t meeting your expectations?
  • Continuous delivery, integration, improvement, testing: How do you deal with pace and quality in this context?

Scenario 1 - Localization [Dealing with Problems, Being Blocked]

How do you deal with getting the apps localized, how do you get CMS content localized, who do you reach out to, how do you know what’s expected, how do you get organized, Your team says they need X to get this going, you deliver them X and they tell you that X is wrong, and that you gave them Y, they can’t use Y, you go to your vendor and they say, You asked for Y, I gave you Y, you are on your own now, How do get X? How do you transform Y into X, do you acknowledge your failure to obtain X to the team? How do you unblock the team? When things are going ahead and Y is now X and it’s ready to test, no one on your team speaks the lang, your team and testers are doing their best but can’t be 100% sure, how do you get confidence in your delivery? etc

Scenario 2 - Accessibility [Getting Started, Getting your team to move, Delivering]

Your team doesn’t know where to start, you tell your designer to deliver UX, they say there isn’t a UI so they do not need to deliver anything, your dev team starts and says “just tell us what’s broken and we’ll fix it”, you know that bug driven development is a red flag, how do you move forward, how do you get requirements, how do you get informed, how do you get your team moving, how do you know when you are done? Who do you get involved? etc