Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe certification is a niche agile framework that is globally recognized. It gives product managers rewarding opportunities in their career and can be a very beneficial addition to any resume. Xebia offers these agile certification courses for anyone looking to scale up.
If you have an interview as a scaled product manager soon, here is a guide to help you get prepared:
Q1 – What are the differences between a product manager and a project manager?
Answer : A product manager acts more like a business owner even though they are also responsible for the delivery of the product. They also take responsibility for the success or failure of their product or service. A project manager is focused on driving the daily activities and is involved in depth in checking what each team member is doing. They are responsible for staying on budget and ensuring timely delivery of all commitments.
Q2 – Describe the most successful product you worked on as a product manager.
Answer: The quantitative and qualitative measures for identifying a good product manager are to be taken into account. What was the user count and revenues? The period of time should be mentioned along with the value that was achieved. An experienced product manager will be able to demonstrate their achievements in terms of business results.
Q3 – Which technology trends do you consider exciting and why do you think they are important?
Answer: It is crucial to be updated with all the trends in the industry including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain and analytics. Explore how to stay on top of all trends and how to incorporate these advancements into the product or service you bring to the market.
Have a look on it: Agile Interview Questions
Q4 – What was your toughest decision as a product manager, and how did you handle it?
Answer: Product managers often have to make complex and strong decisions. There has to be analysis and research done before making a hard decision that will impact the business and a lot of people involved. The decision might be related to product direction or personnel. The process of making the decision and getting it implemented should be described.
Q5 – What is a Value Stream?
Answer: A value stream in SAFe is a set of actions from the initial request to the realization of value for adding value to the customer. It begins at the initial concept and ends at the stage of delivery and support.
Q6 – What is the role of product owner?
Answer: In an Agile Team, the role of product owner is to be responsible for ensuring user stories are ready, backlog grooming, collaborating with the development team, story acceptance and release tracking. They need to have product owner certification. They have overlapping roles with the product manager, including release planning, defect management, roadmap planning and more.
Q7 – When should the Scaled Agile Framework be applied?
Answer: SAFe can be applied when:
- Teams are facing delays or failures despite practicing other Agile frameworks.
- The organization wants to bring transformation across multi-team programs on a larger scale.
- Teams want to work in a more independent fashion in a decentralized setting.
- The organization has to improve their Product Development Lead Time.
Q8 – How is a Feature different from a Capability?
Answer: A feature is a service with two parts including acceptance criteria and benefit hypothesis. It is rendered by the system catering to the needs of the stakeholder. Features are held by the Program Backlog. A capability is solution behavior on a larger level that is implemented by multiple ART in one PI. Capabilities are made of numerous features and are held by the Solution Backlog.
Q9 – How is market opportunity defined in a business plan?
Answer: Market opportunity is often called total addressable market or TAM. It should be described in various ways by an experienced product manager. The TAM represents the growing and current total value of what will be spent on solutions that are of the same type. The potential market share and the compound annual growth rate should also be taken into account.
Q10 – How does the product management team enable sales?
Answer: An Agile certified product manager with experience will take on the responsibility of their product or service succeeding. They understand all the needs of the sales and marketing team and thus help in educating marketing, sales and systems engineering resources. They should also be able to discuss their role in the process of enabling sales. There are some key activities that support this:
- Sales onboarding.
- Training library.
- Sales workshops and training.
- Spiffs and contents.
- Process streamlining.
- Sales journey roadmap.
- Sales repeatability.
- Order finalization.
- Major account support.
- Executive briefing center and demo systems management.
- Online customer management and online buying experience. Social, online support, blogs, etc.
- Vertical markets and segments specialization.
- Channel programs. Supporting third party channels.
- Customer interactions.
- Resource management.
- Vertical playbooks and sales scripts.
- Deal desk support.
- Prospect qualification identification.
The candidate should be able to describe these key areas and demonstrate that they have real-life experience in the role of product manager. The response should focus on sales requirements, support and feedback while working in sync with the marketing and sales teams. Revenues, time to revenue, lifetime value, conversion rates and such KPIs should be mentioned.
Q11 – What do you consider important in competitive analysis?
Answer: An efficient agile certified product manager will break this down into two parts. The first part is the SWOT or strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analysis that the company uses internally for developing positioning statements for the sales team and systems engineering team. The business and technical aspects of the competitor should be covered. The second part is a detailed technical analysis that does a feature wise comparison. All the gaps of the competitor will be highlighted. A factual and professional format should be used during this presentation without being slanderous in any way. Companies often employ third parties to complete such comparisons in an independent assessment.
Q12 – When is the tipping point reached in an organization?
Answer: In SAFe, the tipping point is when the final objective is embracing change and not opposing it. When an organization cannot compete effectively in a dynamic environment, it is said to have reached the tipping point.
Q13 – How do you monitor performance and define success?
An experienced product manager will use a strong set of KPIs or key performance indicators to monitor the position, progress, growth and success of a product. These are key categories among other metrics like product usage, business, product quality and product development.
- Customer counts or the current customer base.
- Funnel or the sales in process.
- Bookings or revenues.
- Attrition, lifetime value, retention, churn. The flow or movement of customers should be tracked.
- Customer satisfaction or net promoter score. This would be a subjective analysis of feedback from customers.
- Onboarding times, time to revenue and velocity. Accelerating customer adoption and revenue recognition.
- On-time delivery. Roadmap management and credibility. Delivering the product on time will determine the integrity of the team.
- Transaction volumes. Tracking feature importance and highlighting value for competitive or marketing positioning.
- Resource availability. Monitoring availability of critical resources and planning coverage.
- Testing. Monitoring the code quality.
Q14 – Which is your favorite Google product and how would you improve it?
Answer: The product manager would have to justify why they chose a particular Google product as their favorite and mention the features they like. Then suggestions can be made for what they would like to improve to help the product be better and perform better in the market. Focus on features like a good UI or UX and whether the product solves customer problems.
Q15 – How does the internet work?
Answer: The scope of the answer the interviewer is looking for needs to be clarified. The answer could include everything from specific web services to network connections. However, the most fundamental way in which the internet works is by typing in a URL into browsers to access websites.
The 15 questions given here are common and these answers are enough to get anyone prepared for a Scaled Agile Interview. Reading through an SAFe glossary to sharpen knowledge on terms related to it will prove to be further helpful as well. Becoming a certified product owner or product manager with the certifications at Xebia can help boost your career in a big way in the current market.