Product Owner Interview Questions

Human resources
Bonica
February 3, 2023
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You might wonder what does make a unique product owner and how you can identify them.

Some interview questions will help you to spot a product owner who can bond with team members, set long-term product goals, and practice conclusive leadership.

Here, we will discuss questions that will help you evaluate a candidate’s soft skills, behavioral intelligence, and hard skills.

What is the definition of a product Owner?

What is the definition of a product Owner?

A product owner is responsible for ensuring that a project can succeed even through critical and rough circumstances.

The product manager’s primary responsibility is to manage and optimize the product inventory to boost the product’s value. Many product owners use a scrum framework strategy that can ease communication and self-productivity between team members. 

A product owner’s primary responsibility is making a product inventory and defining user stories. The product owner has the position of contact on behalf of the customers to recognize the product demands of the development team. 

This product inventory will categorize customer needs based on their priority. The product owner is responsible for defining and prioritizing user needs. 

The product owner should be in touch with the development team and describe the product traits that need to be fulfilled. The product owner should address any inquiries from the development team about essential user needs. The product owner’s role is to increase the product’s value which was developed by the agile team. 

The product owner role is crucial for companies eager to move forward to an inventory-based product development strategy. 

The product owner must cooperate and deal with uncooperative stakeholders, project managers, development teams, business principals, customers, and other shareholders.

What are a product owner’s roles and responsibilities?

A product owner must understand the organization’s value from the product build-out process.

The process involves cooperation with the development team and ensuring that all the products needed are defined and implemented on time. A product owner has a crucial role in the development and scrum team. They can use pre-employment tests to ensure the team member is the best in their positions.

The product owner should work with the scrum master, but they have different responsibilities. The product owner should ensure that these roles and responsibilities stay within one another. Below are some of the most critical responsibilities of the product owner.

  • Product Backlog 

Product Backlog is one of the critical responsibilities of the product owner. The product backlog is a requested list of everything needed for the product and is the only requirement source if any changes happen.

The product defines and updates the product backlog items based on customers’ needs. The product backlog should be categorized based on the customer’s needs and priorities. 

The product backlog list should be constantly updated because the product’s needs change and develop frequently. The product backlog list should be available for all shareholders because it is vital and subject to changes.

  • Development Phases

A product owner should participate in the development process. Because customer needs and insights change continuously, the development team should monitor and analyze them. A product owner should be available in meetings and review sessions. A product owner must take action and participate in the review sessions.

  • Acting as a Primary Point of Contact

The product owner’s role is unique, and they are the main point of contact for all the relevant shareholders. Product owners should ensure a proper buy-in from customers and the development team, which is crucial for product delivery to be implemented smoothly. 

  • Understanding Customer insight

A product owner should understand customers’ needs and objectives, and shareholders should adequately define and analyze customers’ goals and insights. This process involves the customer, scrum master, project team, development team, and business managers.

  • Analyze and predict Customer Needs

A product owner should have enough marketing and industrial experience. This experience is necessary not just for understanding but to predict customer needs. A product owner should also understand the customer’s needs from a lifespan perspective, be familiar with customers’ goals, and anticipate the changes and new customers’ needs.

What characteristics should a product owner have?

What characteristics should a product owner have?
  1. Product Owner’s are the team leaders and the product they build.

Product owners are team leaders; they should define and understand customers’ needs and interpret the client’s requirements so the development team can implement them in actual circumstances. Product owners should have insights into product vision from the customer’s point of view.

Product owners should be creative, predict customers’ needs, and create demands. For example, people never asked for Tesla electric cars, but a creative mind wanted to make the demand, and people welcomed it.

  1. Product owners have to say NO.

Product owners should say no to low ROI (return on investment). They must identify the lowest delivery level for a product, try to make a profitable product out of it in the market, and encourage customers to buy it. This is one of the most challenging responsibilities of product owners. 

  1. Product owners should explain why they are asking for a particular feature.

Product owners have to share ideas and explain the features and utilization of the product and convince people to buy it. If fact, they are the representatives of their products. Product owners should learn about the product’s new requirements from customers and teach them to their team.

  1. Product owners should analyze product progress at each step.

Product owners should know the product’s success rate and interpret them into sustainable criteria for every user story. They must transfer these data to the team and evaluate the progress efficiently. They should know precisely how much progress each product has made.

  1. Product owners should have enough information about the scope, user stories, and communication.

Product owners should share data and information with the team so they can understand the purpose behind the product’s activities. Understanding the product’s utility can help the development team gain purposeful results.

What are the most important interview questions for product owners?

What are the most important interview questions for product owners?

Interviewing a product owner candidate can take time and effort. You want to hire someone with the qualifications needed, but you also need someone who is a good fit for your organization. To simplify this process, we gathered the most common questions below that a product owner candidate needs to ask during an interview. 

Hard-skill questions for product owners’ interview

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  1. You recognize a 3% decrease in the purchases of product add-ons during 30 days. How would you manage this?

Product owners are, in fact, business strategists, and their primary interest is in keeping profits steady and growing. When a 3% revenue decrease happens, it can cause concern. Knowing what steps the candidate will take to manage the situation and turn it around is good.

A good candidate will explain how they gather data and use it best.
A good answer will also point out how the candidate depends on the team to receive insights, especially the data about sales and marketing.

  1. If our company’s most popular product was getting renewed, how would you position the legacy product to keep the revenue stream strong?
    Products that have long-term success can’t move forward with their legacy. Products need to get updated to stay applicable and relevant because all products should take care of customers’ needs and take first place in the market competition.
    A constructive product owner can provide practical solutions to everyday business circumstances
  • Look for answers that comprehensively understand the product version and the target audience.
  • The best answers include working with sales and marketing teams to recognize the product developers who find on-point solutions.

3. Name a product you believe is well-designed—and why you chose this product.

Excellent product owners know a fantastic product just by looking at it. This question will show your candidate’s analytical values. Do product function, value, solutions, style, etc., have prioritization?

  • Look for answers that describe critical reasoning and consider the product’s form and function together. 
  • Solid answers will describe their thinking strategy about product improvement and how they should do it.

Behavioral questions for product owners’ interview   

  1. Tell me about your career’s most successful product release of your career—and what your part was in it.

Product owners are responsible for creating a product roadmap and a strategic observation of their products. This question is trying to understand how the candidate can define success. It will give you information more than just the candidate’s experience and ideas. You can also find data about how they use backlogs, roadmaps, and user stories in their work.

  • The best answers include how the candidate will plan, track and improve the development team.
  • Pay attention if they use “I” or “we” in their sentences. Using these terms will show how much they care about the team and individual efforts. 
  1. Tell me about when you had to change priority while a sprint was in progress.

One of the primary principles is to always welcome change, even at the end of development. Moreover, if you deal with change correctly, it can help the team’s momentum and the quality of teamwork. The most successful product owners understand the value of gaining buy-in from internal shareholders. They will share their strategies with the team and keep track of the changes. 

  • Best candidates will limit the number of changes and keep changes for the most captivating situations. 
  • Best answers will point out their expectations from shareholders during the timeline to make stability from sprint to sprint.
  1. Describe a situation in which someone asked you to do something you had never done before. How did you manage the request?

Product owners should adapt themselves to rapid changes in the market; therefore, flexibility and learning fast are necessary for a product owners. In some situations, the team might need to adjust to a new process or task, or users may need to adapt to a new feature. The product owner’s role is to guide them in a new direction.

  • Acceptable candidates will show their ability to gather the needed data for the new circumstances.
  • Pay attention to what candidate’s learned from the new situation and how they will use the recently discovered knowledge for leading their project,

Soft-skill questions for product owners’ interview

  1. As a product owner, how do you keep a project moving despite different shareholder ideas and requests?

The product owner should be a strong person to prioritize and manage work tasks successfully. Best product owners can search through different requests from different shareholders and, on the other hand, stay 100% focused on a product’s need to carry out for any given sprint or quarter. 

  • Candidates should insist that diplomacy is their final goal, but leading projects forward usually makes shareholders unhappy.
  • The best candidate will focus on the significance of keeping a schedule and finding the middle ground.
  1. How do you manage distributed teams?

It is a challenging job to find local development talent within an organization. Wise product owners know how to stabilize the use of collaborative tools for continuous communication with co-location during vital points of the sprints.

  • Suppose candidates mention GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, or other tools. In that case, it will show they will have some tools for collaborating with remote developers. 
  • The best answers also highlight the vital role of co-location in a successful release.
  1. How would you define a database for a non-technical person?

One of the essential tools for a successful product is cross-functional communication. Customer service, marketing, development, and shale should know the product features and goals. Therefore, a product owner should be able to translate technical concepts into simple language. 

  • Pay attention if the candidate can translate concepts by using simple words quickly.
  • The best answer can involve examples or resemblances from everyday life situations.

Conclusion

Product owners are responsible for increasing the product’s value and quality. Product owners should be excellent problem-solvers and storytellers to become customers’ voices. 

Product owners should have outstanding communication skills and be capable of listening and understanding people’s concerns about product development.

To be a successful product owner, you should constantly improve and evolve these skills. By developing these skills, you will become more confident and gain clear insights into the different aspects of the job.