Project manager architecture Interview Questions

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Amazon
Senior Product Manager was asked...August 2, 2010

The manager of component 'A' says his functionality is more important than that of component 'B.' The manager of component 'B' says his is more important than that of component 'A.' You can only implement one A or B, but not both - which do you choose to implement.

14 Answers

The key question to ask is definition of "IMPORTANT". Is it important to the managers (ego equation), important to the end consumer or important for Amazon. The first one needs to be thrown out immediately and the others must be quantified based on achievability, impact on end user and ROI. Less

I would say whichever is more valuable to customer & gives competitive advantage to Amazon. Less

In addition to the above suggestions, I would look at cost and time to market and then score both options. Then define value metrics. The cheapest and most valuable either as a technology sustainer or for customer wins. Given that it's Amazon, customer value will hold up the highest as one of their corporate culture virtues. Less

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Amazon

Tell me how you would scale a social media software platform?

3 Answers

Try to define "scale", ask for clarifications. Are we trying to scale to more users or to more ad providers? Are there any current bottlenecks? What is the goal here? How about we improve the experience by providing more relevant ads? etc... Less

Its such a tricky question. I guess its by the analytic we use to know the page views and all.. Less

I didn't have a good answer for this one.

EchoStar

Suppose you are working on a project with an original scope of a few months and you are told that you instead now have a few days -- how would you handle it?

5 Answers

I'd ask 'why'? Something radically changed since the last time this was discussed. Understanding what it was that changed is critical to determining the best course of action. Adding manpower, reducing scope, working 24/7, or pushing back might all be reasonable (or horrible) solutions. By first understanding the (new) need, you can then develop a solution. Less

Depends: Who is telling me this? What stage is the project in on the project life cycle? Review these factors in light of the impacts, set change management process and communication plan. There are no cookie cutter approached - each project is unique. Less

I would say evaluate the overall impacts and risks then communicate it with your sponsor (customer). Let he/she to decide then document it. Less

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Big Fish Games

How would you explain story points to a team who's new to Agile/Scrum?

4 Answers

Time vs effort.. teams get hung up on time based estimates. And not about the amount of effort it's going to take to accomplish a task/user story. Less

It’s about demonstrating it to them and comparing the efficacy compare to other frameworks via dissecting a story vertically to the smallest size possible. Less

I said I would talk to them about t-shirt sizing and try several ways to help them understand that story estimation has little to nothing to do with time, rather effort. I also explained that this was a challenging topic for a new team. Less

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Google

You notice that adwords revenue for a certain word has dropped in Italy for the last 30 days. How do you go about determining why that has happened?

3 Answers

Adword Revenue : No. of impressions * Click Thru Rate * Cost Per Click Anyone of the three parameters could decline to have an overall reduction in revenue. No. of Impressions could go down if a. The internet usage has fallen for some socio-culturaal reasons in Italy b. The usage of Google search has reduced because of may be some competitor applicaton launch or some major marketing promotion activities c. Some major technical issues has come up may be in the Google servers which is resulting in higher latency in Google Search applications resulting in reduced usage Click Thru Rate might have gone down 1 Major shift is usage clusters Keywords used have changed resulting in changed search behavior where in people are less prone to click thru. 2 Some technical issues like adds not displayed properly Same major flaw in random add picking might have got introduced 3. Some recent layout change has been there and peope are yet to get accustomed with the changed layout Reduced CPC: 1. People are spending less on Adwords and hence bidding less 2 Due to the keyword change, the new cluster CPC is much lesser. Less

1. Determine the amount of decrease in month over month percentages, and make sure this isn't a trend. 2. Assuming we've seen similar decreases in conversions and clicks, 30 days is a month's time. Let's say this is in August, when the entire country uses the majority of their average of 42 vacation days per year. That's a factor. 3. Given you've said decreases in revenue and assuming all click and conversion data remained the same month over month, we may look for broken dynamic revenue variable conversion codes on the page source. Was there a site update? Less

This is a test to see how you think on your feet.

Lab49

"name the 3 types matrices used to manage risk in a project using information taken from PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) "If you have 5 projects running concurrently, describe a single matrix that would easily show how each of those projects were doing"

3 Answers

Why is an Agile Project Manager interview based on the PMBOK? That's a really, really bad sign. :) Less

For the second question, I'd probably use either a cost/schedule variance chart... since you can't assume the same budget or schedule for any of the projects, variance against plan would likely be the best way to go. Less

For both of these questions, I told them if there was a single correct answer, I didn't know it...but I walked them through how I would handle each question. Less

Express Scripts

Provide a specific situation from your work history when you failed as a Project Manager and what did you do about it?

2 Answers

G Vb sh

Provided a situation early in my career as a Project Manger where mistakes are expected. I detailed how I learned from the experience and what I do now to mitigate that from happening again. Less

Sapphire Technologies

How would you handle insubordination or direct reports failing to meet expectations

2 Answers

one on one counseling to clairify expectations and deliverables

Organize a team event and have an open discussion.

Pearson

How do you manage people resisting change yet the leadership is requesting output that requires something difference.

2 Answers

The management approach ideally would depend on the characteristics of the recalcitrant individuals. Less

Assess the situation. Present the facts, with the benefits and risks of the suggested actions or inactions. Seek leadership support and escalate if necessary or let the status quo continue with the risks identified and documented. Less

Sling Media

How do you define project plan?

2 Answers

Project plan is document that will tell as a project manager how I'm going to run the project from start to finish. How I will manage scope, resources, risk, quality, time, communication, and etc. Less

Project plan is a tracking and monitoring tool through which agreed upon scope, cost, quality, and schedule are mentained through out the project life cycle Less

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