1 – Tell me about a time where you made a gut decision without the use of data.
When I started a consulting company, I had a meeting with the CTO of a mid-sized company. The meeting’s agenda was to design some macro in excel to help them with their periodic reports. After a little more than an hour’s talk, he asked if I could help with a company’s workflow management system. I had a few minutes to say yes or no. I quickly pondered an opportunity cost, impact on my future growth without real data in my hand. Still, I knew that I would manage the project based on my past professional experience. The product was successfully designed and developed within four months.
2 – What intrinsically motivates you?
Creativity and team culture are essential to me. Progressing my way with good team support, mentoring each other, and managing a team directly, thinking in terms of my team’s progress is very important to me. The Emotional Intelligence rich team motivates me the most. I love to see the project’s progress and success, but learning meaningful lessons and applying lessons learned with a scrum and agile mindset is motivating where you work as a team.
3 – What is your superpower (as a product manager)?
Courage: It takes courage to admit that you do not know or you need help. It takes courage to hire smarter people in your team. It takes courage to handle conflicts and difficult conversations. It takes courage to follow your principles and values. It takes courage to believe in you from your idea and vision to digital or physical outcome.
4 – What are the qualities of people you enjoy working with the most?
I enjoy working with people or teams who follow scrum values: openness, courage, commitment, focus, and respect. In other words, if the team is transparent, adaptive, and believes in learning together as a team.
5 – How do you handle tough (angry/unhappy) customers?
- Listen to the customer’s concern and show empathy
- Ask questions to get clarity of the concern and understand the story/situation
- State your understanding of the customer and confirm if you understood the situation correctly.
- Promise to get back to the customer in a certain timeframe.
- Communicate with your team and hear their side of the story.
- Come up with your 2-3 approaches and prioritize them to handle the situation or to answer the customer.
- If required, confirm with your manager or someone close to the customer if they have any suggestions or input.
- Offer your solutions in priority to the customer.
- Be ready for the resolution but sometimes you may have to give in.
- Stay calm and do not take anything personally.
6 – Tell me about a time you solved a problem for a customer.
When I used to work as a Program Manager for ABC, as part of our program, we had certain special agreements with the client for billable hours. Certain applications on the client-side required SQL query execution and that is why we had higher billable charges while working on that application.
During recent months, the application was enhanced and no longer required skilled technical labor. While yearly readjustment of the budget, the client asked me to look into those charges again, I checked past contracts, and compared the documentation of the current version of the application and found out that she was correct and we should not charge higher billable hours anymore.
I talked to my manager about the situation, she agreed with me as well. We updated the agreement and won the trust of the client.
7 – Tell me how do you prioritize your workload
- I spend 5 minutes at the end of the day to check work done for the day and what can be prioritized for the next day.
- The next day morning, I check in 5 minutes if I have to change the priority list based on my communication with the team or client.
- Next, I put a time box limit on each task so that I can be focused and completed on time or ask the right questions or coordinate as soon as possible.
- I like to complete my tasks before the deadline so that I have enough time to revise if required and respond to changing priorities on my daily schedule.
- I also prefer to be well prepared before the meeting with a clear agenda and time box limit, like scrum works.
- Being a manager, it is important that when you manage workload and time for yourself, you think of other team members and clients.
- At ABC, when I was a Program Manager, we worked on digital transformation, data governance, and product implementation.
- I held daily one-hour meetings to decide standards, rules, policies, hardware, and applications, etc.
- I made sure to do my research and have the right points and questions ready to make the one hour effective and would update my documentations and distribute them every day before the meeting.
- We would have weekly one and half hour meetings with the client and we could show progress to our work.
8 – Can you adjust your schedule multiple times to meet with me so I can waste your time and cancel on you?
I respect my time. If something is on fire and requires urgent attention, I can adjust my schedule to meet you multiple times. Unless there is a justifiable reason and it is a one-off incident, I would not support that. Such practice is not in anyone’s best interest as it hampers productivity overall and can harm the company in the long run.
9 – Tell me about yourself.
I have 15+ years of experience in project/program management with 5 years of product management experience. I have worked with digital transformations and data migration and engineering projects. With Arlluk technology Solutions, I worked with a program, where I managed the implementation of the Web-based application for litigation support.
My personality is an ambivert, where I am best suited for the position requiring a combination of client/people interaction and working with technology.
I believe in empirical process control theory and scrum values to work in a team environment and manage any project. I like working as an entrepreneur and consultant mindset, which helps me adapt, learn, and quickly improve processes and implement changes.
10 – What are some of the questions you will ask the development team when working with API determination and specifications?
What is the SLA with these API partners?
Gain clarity around error-handling / sync failures / API downtime and retry mechanism If the API fails to sync, how often do we retry and what is our retry mechanism Do we have error messages with reason available via API? This will help PM determine the messaging
What kind of efforts are required to integrate the API.