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Apple Engineering Program Manager Interview Question

I interviewed in Cupertino, CA and was asked:
"You have a program with something or component that fails 1 week before launch. What do you do?"
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Part of a Engineering Program Manager Interview Review - one of 2,289 Apple Interview Reviews

Answers & Comments

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I said you look for other solutions, off the shelf parts. I "think" the answer was go ahead and launch and do a redesign after launch. Of course, if it fails how do you launch right?
- Interview Candidate on May 21, 2010
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You always have a have a back-up part ready, fully qualified and and waiting in the wings! There is no way to launch an iPhone 4 and sell millions of units on a tight schedule without a backup plan for every part.
- Robert on Dec 2, 2010
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I believe the point here is not saying that you should/have a back-up plan for this (you can mention that at first, but then assume that something went terribly wrong)... So in my case I would go through the how crucial is this program/component for the launch? can be fixed with an update? how much time/resources are needed to meet the deadline? what would be the impact of delaying the launch until the problem is solved? is it feasible? after the brainstorming and impact analysis you could take the decision of delaying, solve the problem or ship everything as-is and fix the problem afterwards. Once the problem is solved you should go through the situation again and understand what went wrong and prevent it from happening again.
- Álvaro on Aug 12, 2013

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