How to Answer Product Vision Questions During PM InterviewMay 09, 2022
Written by: Indah
Imagine this, one day you’re being interviewed to become a Product Manager. Then, the employer starts to ask you a question like “where do you think our product will be in ten years?” and because you already read this article, on that day you’re able to ace that question properly. And your today’s self probably has a question in mind, so what is it all about? Well, let’s find out throughout this article.
First, You Need To Know About Product Vision!
A product vision aims to describe the future state of a product. It is the core essence of the product. Ideally, the product vision will serve as a guide for the stakeholders, as it will remind them of the general direction the product should be taking, and the common objectives within the team.
Why is Product Vision Important?
- It helps you develop a better product roadmap.
Creating a vision allows your team to take a top-down approach to your product’s development. In other words, you begin with a high-level vision statement, then translate that vision into a strategic guide and action plan - the product roadmap. Then, you can translate that roadmap’s strategic overview into a tactical development plan.
- It improves your strategic decision-making throughout the development process.
Another reason a product vision can aid in your development is that it can help you more quickly and easily identify initiatives worth pursuing. Think of your product vision statement as a compass that you can consult whenever your team is faced with conflicting priorities or lack of direction.
- It will help you align teams and stakeholders across the company.
Finally, a product vision statement can also add value by making it easier for your team to clearly articulate the high-level goal driving your product’s development. This can help align the various groups and departments across your company that will be working on your product. With a shared vision, everyone always has a true north to refer back to, which can help remind them of why they’re doing what they’re doing.
How to Approach Vision Questions
- Solve a problem.
The vision must solve a real problem. Pursuits that are cool aren’t worthwhile. This problem also needs to be big. It has to solve a problem for billions of people or dollar.
- Be unique and memorable.
Most candidates answer vision questions with the first idea which comes to their minds. More often than not, their answer is “tighter integration between two products.” Not only is it not compelling, it’s also not unique or memorable. Good visions move us. We obsess over them. We can’t wait to share those bold visions with our friends and colleagues.
- Describe how it will be solved.
There are two parts to a good vision response, and it includes both the vision and how it will be accomplished. Each part should have equal air time. A response with the first part, but without the second will not stick. The vision will be derided as a pipe dream. The burden is on you. Convince us that it’s doable and go into specifics.
For now I will give an example of a study case of a conversation between an interviewer and a candidate about product vision.
Choose one of these verticals. Where do you think it’ll be in ten years?
Interviewer writes on the board:
INTERVIEWER: Choose one of these five verticals. Where do you think it’ll be in ten years?
CANDIDATE: Hmm, I’ll choose education. I love my kids, and I think about how hard it is for them to learn. The oldest is trying to memorize a Chinese poem. Yesterday, she cried and cried because she couldn’t do it. She wanted to give up.
I gave her a tip: memorize the poem in chunks. It worked. It was easier to memorize bite-sized pieces of information and she memorized the entire poem within one hour. So, to answer your question, I think in the next ten years there’s a huge opportunity to create the AllRecipes.com of learning; that is, every single lesson plan from every single teacher around the world can be indexed on a single website.
We would develop a Page Rank-like formula to determine the most effective way to teach a concept. It would accelerate the learning process exponentially. Who knows? Rather than spend 13 years to get through K-12 education, what if we could teach everyone the same material in just 5 years?
INTERVIEWER: K-12 in just 5 years? Impossible.
CANDIDATE: It’s a moon shot. I’ll tell you why I’m confident it might work. There are 5,000 characters in the Chinese language, but here’s the interesting thing: 300 Chinese characters are used in 65 percent of all discussions. Research has found that it’s easier to master Chinese if one focuses on knowing just those 300 characters really well and inferring the rest through context. In one week, one can comprehend 85 percent of 300 Chinese characters. Alternatively, it’ll take three years to learn all 5,000 characters, increasing comprehension by only 5 percent. The key is in knowing which 300 characters to learn. That’s what this website will help us determine, effective ways to teach.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, good learning methods make a difference; but the challenge is getting all the lesson plans out of teachers’ brains and into an indexed system. How are you going to do that?
CANDIDATE: The biggest barrier is documenting lesson plans and teaching methods. Jack Welch can be a great leader, but he can’t teach leadership, despite all the books he’s written. You see that time and time again: Many authors can’t teach success. On the opposite end of the spectrum, third-party sources try to document and teach greatness, and they fall short. For example, many authors have tried to capture Warren Buffett’s greatness, but fall short.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, so what’s your magic solution?
CANDIDATE: There’s a new technology that has a lot of promise: The Brain Cap. A University of Washington researcher invented it. It is a computer that can detect brain waves for thoughts and actions. Once the brain waves are recorded, they can be saved or transmitted to another person. The Brain Cap is still in the early stages of development, but there’s potential. If we could constantly monitor and document teachers’ thoughts and techniques, we could create the world’s most effective database of lesson plans, cut down on learning time, and improve efficiency. This could be the biggest breakthrough for knowledge dissemination and learning since the Internet.
From the conversation above, it can be concluded that the candidate led with a personal hook into an industry he’s passionate about. Indexing all the lesson plans on the planet is a real problem and an audacious goal. The candidate clearly articulates the technology gap that enables the vision and introduces an early-stage invention that’s a plausible and impactful solution.
Hopefully this article can help friends when faced with questions about product vision when being interviewed as a Product Manager.
Source : Decode and Conquer - Answer to Product Management Interviews