21 Questions for Your PM Role Interviewer

After a couple heavy posts, I get practical…

Interviewing for a PM (product management) job? Anxious for the “do you have any questions” part of the interview? My advice…stick to the things that will have a big impact on your day-to-day work. Some ideas:

  1. Will I have direct access to users and customers? Can I arrange my own calls and meetings? How much time will I spend weekly interacting with customers/users?
  2. Is the team dependent on any other team(s) to ship product?
  3. Is there a UX person dedicated to the team? If so, what are the expectations around that relationship?
  4. Can you describe the various customer value streams, user personas, and touch-points addressed by the team’s work? Does this remain constant? Would you regard the team’s focus as “broad’ or “deep”? Can I view the current backlog?
  5. Describe the engineering culture. Can you share any engineering team blog posts or conference talks? What are the internal tech talks (if any) about?
  6. What is the team’s approach to quality and reliability? How often do you have issues in production? What happens when issues are discovered/reported? Do you “test” by shipping and waiting for customers to complain?
  7. Does the team practice test driven development? Do they regularly refactor the codebase? Who is the chief architect ? Does the team have access to this person?
  8. Describe the team’s deployment pipeline.
  9. Is there an Agile Coach assigned to the team? Scrum Master? Facilitator?
  10. Do you use feature flags / feature toggles? How would the team go about testing new features in production with a small % of customers?
  11. Describe the people I might be meeting with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. What % of my week will be spent on meeting with internal stakeholders vs. customers?
  12. Who decides what ends up on the team’s roadmap? Describe the decision hierarchy, approvals (if any), governance, and reporting requirements (e.g. % complete, or % to outcome goal).
  13. Does my team conduct regular retrospectives right now? What is the general attitude towards retrospectives? How does the team celebrate?
  14. Is the team assigned to any service / troubleshooting related queues? How much of their weekly time is occupied with those activities?
  15. How will my performance be measured? How will the team’s performance be measured?
  16. How frequently do company priorities change? What was the last big shift?
  17. Describe some recent outcomes delivered by the team (not the features, the outcomes). Can you connect the team’s work to the company’s bottom line? What was the backstory for those initiatives (from idea through execution)? How regularly does the team deliver validated outcomes to customers?
  18. Describe the tools you use for insights and analytics. Will I have access to those tools? Are they regularly maintained? What is currently missing in terms of customer / product insights?
  19. What is the biggest dud shipped recently? What did you learn from that? Have you killed any poorly performing features recently?
  20. What is the most surprising thing I’ll discover in the first couple weeks of working here?
  21. How does the product team (your fellow product managers) approach training and career development? What is the career development budget per product manager?

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