Technical Behavioral Questions – Part VIII

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1- What do you think are the most difficult parts of Technical Program Management?

  1. Ever-changing technology and increasing technical complexity
  2. Data and information management and security standards
  3. Keep up with the trend with the latest technology, programming languages, cloud and infrastructure
  4. Communicating with engineering and technical staff and translating that in simple language for stakeholders

2 – Describe a time where a feature deliverable was falling between two teams with neither taking ownership and referring to the other team. How did you address the situation?

When I worked at ABC as a program manager. I worked with two different teams of developers to deliver certain changes to the existing application. I did not have direct authority over developers. One team of two developers worked on a script to get some backend data from SQL Server, the other team would work on UX and front end to display data correctly. 

Clients and data engineers were the main stakeholders and they were waiting to get some statistics, so I took a leadership role between them. I worked with both of them and helped to prioritize and put a timeline. I made sure responsibilities were clear and the team got what was required from the other team and no one was holding the work.

I could get the feature delivered in the next five days and the application worked as expected. The feature helped to predict storage and notify network admin as new space was required in advance, so we could cut down the idea wait time to process data.

 3 – Tell me about a time when you launched a feature with known risks.

When I worked at XYZ company as a Technical Project Manager, I worked on a small .net based application, which will allow data from SQL Servers to be converted to a flat-file. The application was a side project as part of our team and we could launch that within 4 months. We knew the product had certain limitations and was not full proof of errors but launching the beta version will start helping us to save time by atomizing that process.

After the launch, we continued to correct any bugs we encountered and we used that application for many years afterward.

4 – How you understand stakeholder needs across the enterprise?

Within the organization, different stakeholders do have different needs and priorities. It is important to hold one-on-one or meetings in small groups to understand current pain points and issues that stakeholders are facing. You also want to balance between what they say they need and what actually they need.

Let me give you an example, when I worked at ABC as a program manager, I focused on working with a Product Owner at the government side to implement some change to the existing workflow management system.

I started helping him to gather requirements from existing stakeholders. We implemented features like real-time updates display, status reports, media retention module, etc. I prioritized based on the RICE matrix and value vs. efforts. I also made sure to not cause scope creep by putting features into the product backlog for the future or saying no to certain feature enhancements.

The product was well enhanced now that it was acceptable enough by the team. At one point the Chief of staff was thinking of replacing the system, he could work with this now for the near future. I would say that surely saved them a few hundred thousand dollars.

5 – Explain how you see how different groups are doing processes differently but identify commonalities.

I can answer this by giving an example of my workflow management product that I designed at Neuf Consulting. The idea initiated from a product that I designed for a mid-size company in the telecom domain. 

I saw the market in the eDiscovery industry for B2B SaaS Cloud-based products. I started meeting small to midsize businesses and law firms to identify common features I could develop for that product to be usable by vendors and law firms. I learned their processes and I could create a highly customized template, which helped me to create a module-based product that can be integrated with an existing system.

The product would work among multiple divisions for their needs by customizing templates to their needs and can be integrated with that of other systems to help with centralized workflow management.

6 – How you help different groups see the benefit of working in a common way?

Communication is the key feature to make this happen. I would as a product manager, talk to each group, and understand their processes. I will figure out commonalities and differences. When I will know what common part is a pain point that can be resolved for everyone, I will make sure to start creating some messages and that I will pass to each group with different ways of communications but most importantly by having small meetings if possible face-to-face or video calls.

Once my assumptions are approved by each group, I will try to propose some common solution and get the consent of groups. Sometimes that will require influencing each group and making sure they understand the benefit – for example, the 80/20 rule by standardizing 80% of the processes sometimes requires only 20% of the effort.

7 – How you help drive adoption in enterprise across a common baseline?

Following are five ways to drive adoption in enterprise across a common baseline – 

  1. Have your value proposition clear so it is easily understood
  2. The product should be easy and efficient to use
  3. Get the feedback from users and modify the system accordingly
  4. Communicate and train users, if required involve marketing team to help you
  5.  Focus on how to increase your Net Promoter Score by engaging, retaining your customers to keep them happy so they promote your product

8 – How do you influence?

Following are three ways to influence

  1. Show empathy and understand your stakeholders
  2. Have good and open communication
  3. Data-driven approach and show the long term value/benefit

9 – What are your criteria for success for any project or product?

Following are four criteria to success for me –

  1. Customer satisfaction and Happiness – Which is measured by AARRR. Activation and Referral indicate customers are happy.
  2. ROI is important to measure success.
  3. The product or project should be scalable
  4. The final outcome should be easy and efficient for stakeholders and customers to follow.

10 – How do you develop a product strategy?

  1. Start with what I know and what is the problem that is driving me to solve for my customers. Simplify your value proposition.
  2. Focus on what matters most and do a keyword search or collect some data by various means.
  3. Put the users first and analyze if the market is emerging or mature.
  4. What problem am I solving and why my product is unique to solve that?
  5. Ask How might we ask questions to find a focus to build important features.
  6. Identify your target market and how to reach them.
  7. Build a prototype and share it with potential users to validate your idea.

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