Product Manager interview questions — and how to answer them!

Q3: How would you make a product better?

This question is meant to test the product mangers creativity, quantitative objectiveness, critical thinking and strategy alignment process. This question can take several forms,

  • How would you improve Yelp?
  • How would you decide what new features to add to your product?
  • How would you increase growth and market share of Product X?

Step 1:
Define the channels and drivers that capture the areas of improvement. Typically the following three channels/drivers are good indicators of gather information to improve a product.

  • Customer Feedback
    Listening to what the customer has to say about the product. 
    eg. What are the pain points for the customer, what are the features that the customer absolutely loves, what are some of the features that they wish that the app would have, what are the parts that delight the customer etc.
  • Product Usage Analytics
    Analytics that provide indicators of user interaction with the product 
    eg. is the user using a particular product feature in the way the product feature was intended to be used ? Do the analytics point to areas of friction within the product, or areas of frequent use ? Can certain navigational paths that are used frequently by the user made more efficient?
  • Business Strategy Alignment
    Understanding the short term and long term strategic objectives of the business is a key driver to areas of improvement and addition of new features to a product. 
    eg. is the strategic objective to compete with an existing product to attract users from a different platform? is it to increase customer retention or conversion by 10% over the next 6 months etc.

Step 2:
Once you have defined the primary drivers that direct the areas of improvement for the product, the next step involves exercising creativity and coming up with innovative use cases and solutions that align with the drivers.

Creatively come up with ideas that will address the primary drivers in the areas of improvement. This may include refining existing features, adding new offerings, exploring several a-typical use cases, evaluating and prioritizing feature sets, brainstorming etc.

This is the most creative part of the product managers role, but must be directed by the parameters defined in Step 1.

Step 3:
Prune the use cases and solutions, and develop a feature set for the shortlisted solutions. 
This part involves critical thinking and also prioritization based on the primary drivers of the product.

Step 4:
Define metrics and product improvement goals over the defined time period, to quantitatively measure the performance and business alignment of the feature set.
This is to ensure that you can measure if the impact of a particular feature set is as intended and aligns with the overall product improvement drivers i.e. customer feedback, user interaction with product, business strategy alignment.

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