How to Answer Technical Product Manager Interview Questions on Tools & Methodologies
Product Manager tools and methodologies are essential in providing a holistic approach to solving a problem or developing a product. Without them, PMs might not only miss something along the way, but they may also leave out important stakeholders in the decision-making process.
Tools and methodologies make up a big part of Product Manager technical interview questions. Interviewers ask them as a way to gauge how one values development and optimization.
How to leave the best impression with your answers?
Here are the answer templates our interview coaches recommend for two of the most common questions on the topic, including tips on how to articulate your thoughts.
What Round of the Interview Should You Expect Product Manager Technical Interview Questions?
The topic of tools, methodologies, and frameworks will usually come up in Round Three of the interview where technical Product Manager interview questions are asked.
In this stage, you are most likely going to face a panel that includes stakeholders from product, engineering, design, project, mobile, and data. Direct your response to the engineers. They are the ones most concerned with these systems because they affect their workflow the most.
1. “Our Engineering Teams Are Used to Employing X Methodologies. What Is Your Opinion of Them?“
Though you may be disadvantaged as a first-time, non-technical Product Manager who may not be familiar with these types of methodologies, here’s an ideal template to use:
Interesting, I have had/not had experience with them before. I love learning about new methodologies because every team seems to have its own way of doing things.
If I may ask, what additional resources do you feel the engineering team needs to do their job better that the new Product Manager can either vouch for or defend, against other competing priorities of the organization?
Let’s break this answer down:
- Touch on the tools or methodologies mentioned in the question. For example: “Oh, you guys like Asana/Trello/Notion…” There are millions of tools and frameworks out there. Starting your answer like this gives you an out.
- Only say that you have experience with the tool or methodology if you actually do. You don’t have to be an expert.
- Every team has its own way of doing things: this is something you should harp on over and over again throughout the entire interview process. Emphasize your willingness to learn.
- The last thing any team needs is someone disrupting the flow of a process that already works for them. Product Managers have been known to insist on using their preferred tools and methodologies with a new team, and that can cause a messy transition period.
Remember, engineers are looking for someone who can vouch for and defend the needs of the engineering team against other competing priorities of the organization. Showing that you’re curious and eager to learn about the team paints you in the best possible light.
2. “What Are Your Favorite Tools to Manage Workflows, Teams, And/or Wire-Framing?“
Honestly, I don’t have any favorite tools in particular. Every team I’ve worked with, even within the same company seems to have its own processes. This is why it’s imperative that we have clear processes and well-defined solutions to projects in place before implementation to reduce churn.
Because nobody likes churn, right?
You may have noticed a pattern in the answers to these technical Product Manager interview questions. This is because everything a software engineer asks is to determine whether or not you are going to make their life more difficult. Are you going to accidentally delete things in the backlog? Are you going to hand out requirements or ask them to run certain types of sprints for no good reason? These are the types of questions at the back of their heads.
They want a Product Manager who will help them do their job better, not another software engineer who is likely to disrupt their flow.
Want to learn more? Watch our co-founder Rich Chen walk you through the two answer templates in the video below:
Get More Technical Product Manager Interview Questions and Answers
Always remember in the Round Three interview: It’s not about how technical you are. Prove to the technical panel that you will make their life easier and you will have their endorsement.
Want more coaching on how to deliver the perfect answer? Schedule a free call with us. We’ll be glad to help you secure your next PM job!