Cracking the Product Manager Interview

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Product managers are sometimes called the "CEO of a product." But what is a product manager really and how you do you land this role? How to crack the PM interview?

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Cracking the Product Manager Interview

  1. 1. GayleL. McDowell | Founder/ CEO, CareerCup gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Cracking the PM Interview Howto Landa Product ManagerJob May 4,2016 |ProductSchool
  2. 2. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 2 Hi! I’m Gayle LaakmannMcDowell Author Interview Coach Interview Consulting <dev> </dev> (CS) (MBA)
  3. 3. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 3gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Yes! Slidesare online! Gayle.com  Click “Events”
  4. 4. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 4 The Perfect PM Leadership & Execution Technical Product Industry Business
  5. 5. ------ the ------ Perfect PM ------ is a ------ MYTH
  6. 6. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 6 The Real Question(s) What do you have? What do you need? What do Iassume?
  7. 7. Strategy & Vision Leadership Customer Focus Product Design Analysis & Synthesis Action Oriented Prioritization Project Management Technical Skills Communication
  8. 8. Strategy & Vision Leadership Customer Focus Product Design Analysis & Synthesis Action Oriented Prioritization Project Management Technical Skills Communication Engineer
  9. 9. Strategy & Vision Leadership Customer Focus Product Design Analysis & Synthesis Action Oriented Prioritization Project Management Technical Skills Communication Marketing
  10. 10. Strategy & Vision Leadership Customer Focus Product Design Analysis & Synthesis Action Oriented Prioritization Project Management Technical Skills Communication Design
  11. 11. Strategy & Vision Leadership Customer Focus Product Design Analysis & Synthesis Action Oriented Prioritization Project Management Technical Skills Communication Project Manager
  12. 12. Strategy & Vision Leadership Customer Focus Product Design Analysis & Synthesis Action Oriented Prioritization Project Management Technical Skills Communication Customer Service
  13. 13. Strategy & Vision Leadership Customer Focus Product Design Analysis & Synthesis Action Oriented Prioritization Project Management Technical Skills Communication Business Analyst
  14. 14. Behavioral Tell me about yourself…
  15. 15. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 15 The Good EnoughPitch • Showsof success • Prompt the interviewer • Hobbies
  16. 16. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 16 The Great Pitch Tells an [engaging] story Sends a message.Who are you, really? Addresses your “stereotype”
  17. 17. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 17gayle in/gaylemcdgayle DevelopingYour Stories: Strategy 1 Job1 Job2 Leadership Successes Challenges Mistakes Conflicts
  18. 18. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 18gayle in/gaylemcdgayle DevelopingYour Stories: Strategy 2 Strengths  Data?  Risk-taking?  Thoroughness?  Empathy?  Resilience? Weaknesses  Detail-oriented?  Bluntness?  Toooptimistic?  Sensitivity?  Impatient?
  19. 19. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 19gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Goals of Answering BehavioralQs Good Content Good Communication +
  20. 20. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 20 Structure 1: Nugget First Lead with your “thesis”/ nugget  Grabs thelistener’sattention  Givesthemcontextforwhereyou’regoing. I’m most proud of program I set up to … Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  21. 21. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 21 Structure 2: S.A.R. S A R What was the issue? What did you do about it? What was the impact? What’s themessage?
  22. 22. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 22gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Story Diagram Story1 Story2 NUGGET SITUATION ACTION What&Why&How RESULT THEMESSAGE DO DIFFERENTLY
  23. 23. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 23Gayle Laakmann McDowell Most Common Issues Too much “we”, too little“I”  Especiallyleaders&women Too littleaction No message
  24. 24. ----- don’t ----- sugarcoat ------ the ------ bad stuff
  25. 25. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 25gayle in/gaylemcdgayle What I’m looking for If you’ll admitto bad stuff If you’ve really failed How you respond to bad things
  26. 26. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 26gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Weaknesses, Failures& Mistakes Be REAL Be COMPELLING Be CHANGED The best candidates connect
  27. 27. Product Design How would you design a… 02
  28. 28. How would you design an alarm clock for the blind? What’s your favorite app? Why? Pick a Google product. How would you improve it?
  29. 29. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 29 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell What I’m Looking For Communication User empathy Creativity Judgment
  30. 30. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 30gayle in/gaylemcdgayle How toTackle 1. Define theuser  Askquestions  Arethere multipleusers? 2. Discuss use cases, problems & goals 3. Design 4. Wrap-up
  31. 31. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 31gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Anddon’t forget… the USER the WHITEBOARD
  32. 32. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 32gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Make sure youknow Favorite WEBSITE Favorite MOBILE APP Favorite PHYSICAL PRODUCT Favorite COMPANY PRODUCT
  33. 33. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 33gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Your Favorites Why do you love it? Whoare the users? What do they use it for? How do they competitors compare? Whatproblems are there? How would you improve it?
  34. 34. not all favorites are created equal
  35. 35. Estimation How many and who cares? 03
  36. 36. How much money does Gmail make in a year? How many airplanes land in a day? How many golf balls can fit in a bus?
  37. 37. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 37 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Why We Ask Smarts Ballparking Matters Comfort withnumbers
  38. 38. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 38 How toTackle 1. Ask questions to resolve ambiguity  Don’tmake assumptions(yet) 2. Outline/ StructureYour Approach 3. Break down the components  Assumenumberswhennecessary  State assumptionsexplicitly  Roundnumberstomake yourmath easier 4. Sanity Check  Doyournumbersmake sense?
  39. 39. How much money does Gmail make in a year?
  40. 40. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 40gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Step 1: Ambiguous Information Just in theUS? Or Worldwide? Profit or revenue? Pastyear? Or average over history? Gmail only? Or includeGoogle Apps?
  41. 41. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 41gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Step 2: Outline YourApproach 1. Estimate # of Gmail users 2. Estimate annualclicks a. Top clicks b. Side clicks 3. Estimate $ per click a. Top clicks b. Side clicks
  42. 42. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 42 Step 3:Break downcomponents Estimate # of Gmail usersin theUS 1. Assume 300 million people in the US.  Exclude0 -12 yearsold and65- 75yearsold   ~200 million 2. Assume 80% of people use email  But 50% only use their work email acct 3. Assume 80% use a “major” email provider  Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc. … and so on …
  43. 43. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 43 Step 4:Sanity Check Suppose you get US rev. = $5 billion. No, because…  Google’sannualrevenueis~$30billion  $16/ UScitizen(notjustgmailusers)
  44. 44. Case & Misc. Questions The other questions 04
  45. 45. How would you launch Amazon in Turkey? How would you price a new e-book reader? User signs up drop after launching new profiles. What would you do?
  46. 46. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 46 Many other questiontypes!  Problemsolving  Acquisition rates dropped. Why?  Strategy  Should wedo X orY?  Marketing  How would youmarketX to Y?  Pricing  How would youprice X?  Launching  How would youlaunchX incountryY?  Brainstorming  Nameas manythings youcould do with X
  47. 47. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 47 Generic Structure 1. Understand/defineproblem 2. Structure 3. Solve  Useinstincts  Make reasonableassumptions DRIVEtheDISCUSSION
  48. 48. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 48 Useful Frameworks Customer PurchaseDecision MakingProcess Marketing Mix (4 Ps) SWOTAnalysis Five Cs Porter’s 5 Forces Butit’snotatestofframeworks
  49. 49. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 49 Useful Metrics& Knowledge User Acquisition  #,growth,activeusers,etc Activity  What arepeopledoing? Money  Customeracquisitioncosts  Revenue  $growth
  50. 50. Takeaways If you forget everything else… 05
  51. 51. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 51 If you forget everything… Know who you are  (andwhowethinkyouare) Focus on theuser Structure your responses
  52. 52. I could write a whole book on this!
  53. 53. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 53 Other Resources Gayle.com CareerCup.com CrackingThe CodingInterview.com Or, follow me online • facebook.com/gayle • twitter.com/gayle • gayle.com • gayle@gayle.com • quora.com

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