What Are The Top 10 Product Owner Questions You Can Expect At An Interview?

You have done all the groundwork, gone through the Product Owner Job Description, created a compelling CV, applying for jobs, and now you have finally cracked through to what matters most – the interview.

The interview would be the last hurdle between you and the much-coveted job. So how do you ensure that you knock all the questions out of the park? By preparing for the interview thoroughly!

Here are some of the most common Product Owner Interview Questions that you can expect, along with model responses, which will help you nail the interview!

What, according to you, are the typical activities carried out by a Product Owner?

This ice-breaker attempts to get a feel of the industry exposure that you have received so far. While the answer may change from industry to industry, make a point to mention the following: Sprint Planning, Review, Retrospective, and Grooming.

If you talk about Daily Standup or Daily Scrum, you can expect to field a question on your role during these activities. Typically, your role during daily scrum should be observational than that of a leader.

What is an indicator of you doing your job well?

This question attempts to explore your awareness of the various KPIs and metrics that you use to measure success. The answer is highly subjective and intrinsic to the nature of the product or industry.

You could talk about the product’s relevance with the market, the revenue generated by it, the number of active users, better high-quality leads, reduced code base, or fewer bugs.

Eventually, you have to validate your business assumption and have a practical idea on how you can realize and measure the product’s worth.

Tell us the difference between Definition of Done and Definition of Ready.

Typically, Definition of Done (DoD) is a list of activities, which includes code writing, unit testing, coding comments, release notes, integration testing, document designing, and so on.

 

The Definition of Ready (DoR), on the other hand, is a checklist of criteria that defines whether the story is “Ready” for the next sprint or otherwise.

How can you keep a healthy backlog?

Start by explaining that not all projects require a backlog. However, when kept unchecked, a backlog can have a cumulative action that could result in missing out product details or the associated deliverables. Hence, it is crucial to maintain a healthy backlog.

A healthy backlog contains 1 to 2 sprints that are readily available for the team to work on, including bugs, tech debts, incorporation of new features, etc.

This backlog must be visible to all team members, and they should be encouraged to contribute to the tasks. Further, it must be ordered and prioritized, and the product owner should keep a set of tasks in the ready state.

Explain how Product Owners and Development Teams should collaborate during a Sprint.

To ensure the success of the scrum methodology, product owners and developers must be in constant communication throughout the development process. The collaboration will ensure that the end product will be in accordance with that envisioned during the planning stage.

After the completion of every sprint, the development team must get in touch with the product owner for early-stage feedback and any relevant inputs. Product Owners must also sit with the development team to groom the user stories for any upcoming sprints to keep it in the ready state.

The constant communication will set the base for collaboration, which will ensure the quick and early resolution of any product development issues, blockers, and dependencies.

Can a Product Owner act as the Scrum Master for the team?

While it may appear economical to diversify the role of a Product Owner and make them Scrum Masters, they are both full-time jobs with different sets of responsibilities. Furthermore, the Product Owner and Scrum Master will have conflicting goals.

A Product Owner is more product-focused while the Scrum Master is more team-focused. For instance, a Product Owner may attempt to push the team to deliver the maximum value, while the Scrum Master will optimize the tasks depending on the team’s capacity.

Next, the Product Owner is responsible for delivering the product while the Scrum Master is responsible for the delivery of the task assigned to the development team.

Therefore, combining the two positions will result in the dilution of agile practices. Furthermore, mixing these positions will disbalance the product development journey.

Do you understand the MoSCoW principle?

 

MoSCoW is a technique for product backlog refinement. Mo denotes Must be, S stands for Should be, Co is for Could be, and W stands for Won’t be.

Who are product stakeholders?

Naturally, a Product Owner must know the product stakeholders as it gives you an insight into the market demands. Product Owners typically interact with key stakeholders, while the rest could be the product’s target audience dotted around the world!

The key stakeholders include sponsors, decision-makers, regulators, professionals, and of course, customers.

What are the best qualities in a product vision?

A product vision is a necessary foundation for any product. It inspires the development team to stay on track and deliver the expected results. Hence, the product vision must be extensive, clearly defined, and appealing. Let us take a look at these qualities at a glance:

  • Clear: It must set up a common sense of purpose, while also being clearly interpretable.
  • Appealing: It should define what the organization aims to achieve and where it wishes to go.
  • Brief: A product vision must be concise with measurable goals and results.

What would you tell your younger self?

The answer to this question must outline your journey as a Product Owner and what you have learned along the way. It could also highlight how you have worked on your skills and improved your abilities over time.

Concluding Thoughts

Now that you know about the common questions asked to Product Owners, you can be in a better position to enter the interview room confidently and impress everyone. Brush up on all the technicalities and your soft skills, and nobody can stop you from there!

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