Product Owner Interview Questions and Answers
Last updated on 23rd Oct 2020, Blog, Interview Question
These Product owner Interview Questions have been designed specially to get you acquainted with the nature of questions you may encounter during your interview for the subject of Product owner As per my experience good interviewers hardly plan to ask any particular question during your interview, normally questions start with some basic concept of the subject and later they continue based on further discussion and what you answer.we are going to cover top 100 Product owner Interview questions along with their detailed answers. We will be covering Product owner scenario based interview questions, Product owner interview questions for freshers as well as Product owner interview questions and answers for experienced.
1.What Exactly Does a Product Owner Do?
The roles and responsibilities of a product owner are relatively linear and similar in most cases. However, it can still be hard to understand what a product owner does. The product owner role is based on the Scrum framework. It’s the least distinct role, but also one of the most important ones. The product owner is responsible for the development of the product vision. The product vision then helps develop the product roadmap that’s handled by the product team. While product development requires teamwork (an agile team at that), product initiation is up to the product owner.
2. What are the typical activities of a Product Owner?
This question is supposed to be an opening question that lets the candidate provide an overview of their exposure. It will tell you how prepared the candidate is for the interview and how much of an expert they are in the field.
3. Can a Product Owner and Scrum Master be the same person?
‘no.’Scrum masters and product owners have different responsibilities and mixing them will always have a negative impact on the development process. The Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the product owner and the development team. Therefore, it could lead to a conflict of interest if the same person plays both roles.
4. What exactly is a Scrum framework?
Every product owner needs to have a basic understanding of the Scrum framework. For example, Scrum is an incremental way of providing value to the end-user in a timely manner.
5. Who are your main (external) product stakeholders?
One of the most important things to establish is whether the product owner understands who they’re targeting. Their job requires them to understand external stakeholders and develop the product accordingly. For any product, the external product stakeholders product owners interact with are customers, regulators, professionals, sponsors, and key decision-makers. It might be a good idea to ask the product owner why each of those stakeholders is important to interact with. Furthermore, it’s a plus point if they can explain how each stakeholder contributes to the process.
6. How much time do you give to understanding customer needs and user research during product discovery?
A basic understanding of the product discovery phase is essential. However, it’s more important to find out the product owner’s process. Their way of doing things and their rationalization tells you how well they understand the entire process. Typically, if someone says they dedicate 50% of their time to user research, that’s a positive sign. However, if they say that they spend 20% or less time, they’re not doing enough. They might be ignoring customer feedback and market conditions.
7. What’s the best way to deal with uncooperative stakeholders?
Understanding the product owner’s process includes determining how they deal with issues and roadblocks. Many times, product owners have to face uncooperative stakeholders, and that puts a bump in the discovery phase. While each person has a different way of dealing with these bumps, product owners always have to be diplomatic in the end.Collaboration with Product Managers and Technical Product Owners
8. What is the difference between the development team and the Scrum team?
A product owner should be able to distinguish different roles and teams involved in product development. While most product owners understand the difference between a Scrum team and a development team, not everyone can list down the differences. A correct answer to this question can be an indicator of how well the candidate understands the roles of their teams. The main difference between the teams is that the Scrum team consists of the product owner, Scrum Master, and the team. They work on sprint measures, product requirements, and user stories. Alternatively, the development team does the actual work when it comes to coding, developing, and testing.
9. How do you explain your marketplace knowledge to the Scrum team?
While the product owner has the marketplace knowledge needed to develop a product vision, the rest of the team doesn’t. It’s the product owner’s job to communicate the appropriate marketplace knowledge to the Scrum team. This question here determines the candidate’s ability to communicate that knowledge successfully. Traditionally, marketplace knowledge is communicated through informal interactions. However, planning meetings and having formal discussions is also a great way of explaining current market trends to the Scrum team.
10. How would you update the team on the product and market situation? What kind of information would you need?
One of the crucial parts of a product owner’s job is to keep the team up-to-date on any changing market demands and priorities. Since the product owner develops the vision, it’s their job to make sure everyone else also understands it. This question allows the candidate to not only explain the process but also what information is most important.
11. Are Agile and Scrum the same? What is the difference between agile and scrum?
Agile is a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto. Scrum is an Agile framework for handling roles, events, artifacts, and rules/guidelines to implement the Agile Mindset. The table below lists the key differences between Scrum & Agile.
|Nature & Scope||Agile is a mentality and a set of principles||Scrum is a framework that implements agile principles|
|Planning||Planning occurs at three levels: release planning, iteration planning, and daily planning||Next sprint is planned after the team has completed the current sprint activities|
|Flexibility to Changes||Agile is very flexible and hence adapts to changes very quickly||Rigid framework & there is no much room for frequent changes|
|Design & Execution||Agile execution is quite simple and it usually something that isn’t done before||Works on trying new and creative ideas, which yields concise and smart outcomes|
|Monitoring Process||Requires detailed tracking & it takes place after every milestone of the overall design||Monitoring takes place after compilation of certain features rather than after each design|
|Leadership Role||A leader is accountable for the work done (or not done) by the team||There is no ‘team leader’, instead its fosters a multi-functional and self-organized team|
|Mode of Communication||The effective mode of communication is face-to-face within a team on a regular basis||Communication is done on a daily/weekly basis with respect to the schedule|
|Estimation Time & Delivery||The priority is always to satisfy the customer by providing continuous delivery of valuable software||Delivers build to clients to get their feedback, after each sprint|
|Customer Feedback||Encourages regular feedback during various processes from business users||Regular feedback is taken from end-users but in a more orderly fashion, like after every sprint|
12. When is it advised to Agile Model? Is it suitable in all situations?
A flexible model like agile can be applied in scenarios like, when:
- New changes need to be implemented in between development cycle
- Working on complex and bigger projects
- There are long term goals and no bound on requirements
- Have to quickly launch the product to market
- There are frequent changes throughout the development cycle
- There is no limit on time and budget
13. What is the Scrum Framework?
Scrum is one of the most popular and lightweight agile framework, within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.
It’s different from the waterfall model in the following ways:
- Feedback is received at an early stage
- Minimizes risk in response to changes
- Focus is on collaborative development
- Increases return of investment
- Allows to rollback changes
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14. What is a Sprint in Scrum?
This is a very common question asked in product owner interviews. Scrum sprint is a regular, repeated work cycle in scrum methodology during which work is completed and made ready for review. Generally, the duration of a scrum sprint depends upon the size of the project and the number of people working on it. On average, the duration of a sprint lasts about 4 weeks.
15. Is the product owner a member of the Scrum Team?
Yes, Product Owners are considered to be a member of the Scrum Team. Each Scrum Team will have a single Product Owner responsible for prioritizing work items for the Sprint Backlog.
16. What are the different roles in the Scrum Team?
The three roles involved in scrum are as follows:
- The Product Owner is responsible for the work the team is supposed to complete. The main role of a product owner is to motivate the team to achieve the goal and the vision of the project.
- The Scrum Master ensures that all the team members follow scrum’s theories, rules, and practices. They make sure the Scrum Teattm has whatever it needs to complete its work, like removing roadblocks that are holding up progress, organizing meetings, dealing with challenges and bottlenecks.
- The Development Team(Scrum Team) is a self-organizing and a cross-functional team, working together to deliver products. Scrum development teams are given the freedom to organize themselves and manage their own work to maximize the team’s effectiveness and efficiency.
17. Define the product owner role?
- This is usually one of the initial questions, which will give the interviewer the opportunity to understand the exposure of the candidate.
- Scrum Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team. However, how the Product Owner accomplishes this can vary widely depending on many factors, including the team, the business stakeholders, and the development processes of the organization.
- Their job is to act as the proxy of the customer, prioritize the backlog, answer or get answers to the team’s queries and accept/reject the work that the team generates.
18. What is the product?
In scrum interviews, this can be a very basic question. A product is something (tangible/non-tangible) created through a process to benefit a group of customers and to the organization that provides it. It can be anything from a chair, a painting, or it can even be just an idea.
19. Can the Product Owner and Scrum Master be the same person?
No. Remember that the Product Owner should never act in the Scrum Master role. These two roles have conflicting goals and should never be merged. Mixing them can have a very negative effect on the development process. Both roles require 100% involvement. Scrum Master, at times, needs to act as a mediator between the development team and PO when their goals start to diverge. In such a case, if the same person is acting as both, there will be a conflict of interest, which will affect the team’s progress.
20. What is a Product Roadmap?
A product roadmap is a high-level visual summary that maps out the vision and provides strategy and plan for product development. It’s driven by several short and long-term company goals and communicates how and when the product will help achieve those goals. Also, it reduces uncertainty about the future and keeps product teams focused on the highest priority product initiatives.
21. Describe what happens in the sprint planning meeting?
A sprint planning meeting is a meeting in which all the scrum roles (product owner, scrum master, and development team) have a discussion about the team’s priority features and product backlog items. It is a meeting where the work to be done during a sprint is mapped out and the team members. During sprint planning, the entire team clearly defines deliverables for the Sprint and assigns the work necessary to achieve that goal.
22. What is term velocity in agile? How is it measured?
Velocity predicts how much work Agile can complete in a sprint and how much time will it require to complete a project. The number is obtained by adding all the story points from the last sprint’s stories.
23. What are the desirable qualities of a vision?
Vision basically is a goal you set for your organization, the product or even for yourself.
Some desired qualities of the vision are:
- It should be clear and firm
- Extensive and appealing
- Brief and concise
24. How would you develop or help develop a product roadmap?
The product roadmap is perhaps the most critical step when developing a product. The best way to gauge a product owner’s ability to do their job is to see how they handle product roadmap development.
25. How are the product vision and roadmap connected?
the product vision includes the purpose, image, and the values a product has. It explains why the product exists and what purpose it will serve for the customer. On the other hand, the product roadmap is a blueprint of how the vision will be achieved. It includes growth tactics, stakeholder alignment tactics, budget development, a timeline, goals, milestones, and deliverables in development.
26. How would you include suggestions from stakeholders in the product roadmap?
Various stakeholders tend to suggest or desire some changes for the product. The product owner has to satisfy every product stakeholder to ensure product success. The following question is a test to see how the candidate would handle stakeholder desires.
27. Sprint planning requires a lot of resources, should you release all of them?
Product deployment is a planning activity and can be based on every sprint. Product release is a purely business and strategic activity. Development teams will create the products, but any future decisions are business decisions. Those decisions are made along with the product manager.
28. What are some of the properties of a sprint?
The following four properties:
- Everything in a sprint is time-boxed.
- The sprint has protection from any changes.
- Time-boxed development lets you gather metrics on intervals.
- A sprint should not exceed one calendar month.
The product owner should mention at least three of the properties listed above.
29. What justifies canceling a sprint?
a cancelation only occurs when there’s a drastic change in priorities. For example, if some critical requirements with high priority are suddenly marked as a low priority, there would be no point in continuing further. Most importantly, the product owner can only make a call to cancel the sprint—they do not have absolute power to do so.
30. What are the characteristics of a good Product Backlog Item?
Product Backlog is a document that outlines the list of tasks and every requirement that the final product needs. Good backlog exhibits certain characteristics and the DEEP criteria are useful for determining if a product backlog has been structured in a good way.
A good product backlog item should be DEEP:
- D – Detailed Appropriately
- E – Emergent
- E – Estimated
- P – Prioritized
31. Vision, Strategy, and Roadmap. We keep using these words, but what do they mean?
- Vision basically is a goal you set for your organization, the product or even for yourself. A Vision Statement describes the desired future position of the company. There are three elements which constitute a vision on a broader level, the purpose, the picture, and the values.The strategy is a system of achievable goals and visions which describes who the customers are, how the product fits into the current market, and how it will achieve business goals.
- In contrast to the product vision, which should have a lifetime of many years, product strategy is typically seen to look at a horizon of months to a few years.The roadmap describes what products and features will be built to realize the strategy and vision, who is responsible for building those product features, and, sometimes, an estimate of when those products and features will be released.
32. What are the qualities or characteristics of a good product owner?
A good product owner is someone who is:
- Quick Decision Maker
- Efficient Communicator
- Conflict Resolver
- Excellent Researcher
- Superb Leader
33. What is Product Increment?
The product improvement is the sum of product work completed during a Sprint combined with all work completed during previous sprints. Important point is that the increment must be in useable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to release it or not. It is one of the most important artifacts used in the scrum framework.
34. What is a user story in Scrum? How does a good user story look?
In agile, a user story is a tool used in Agile software development that represents a small piece of business value that a team can deliver in a sprint. It creates a simplified description of a user’s requirements.
A user story is defined incrementally in three stages:
- Who are we building it for, who the user is? — As a <type of user>
- What are we building, what is the intention? — I want <some goal or objective >
- Why are we building it, what value it brings for the user.? — So that <benefit, value>
A good user story should be Independent (I), Negotiable (N), Valuable (V), Estimable (E), Small (S), Testable (T). In short – INVEST.
35.What is the difference between the Product Manager (PM) and Product Owner (PO)?
The terms are often used interchangeably, and admittedly there is some overlap. Yet, those two are indeed different roles.
- Product managers are more strategic. They focus on the product’s vision, company objectives, and the market. Mainly, they are accountable for strategic roadmaps and business outcomes.
- Product owners are more tactical. They translate the strategies into actionable tasks and work with cross-functional agile teams more closely to make sure they are executing on those requirements accordingly. In simple terms, they are responsible for iteration goals and delivering value to the customer.
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36. Who sets the sprint goal?
Product owner. Defining the sprint goal or sprint objective is one of the most important goal of the product owner.
37. What are the techniques used for backlog prioritization?
Listed below are some popular techniques used to prioritize the product backlog:
- MaSCoW Method
- Kano Model
- 100 Dollar Test
- Stack Ranking
- Cost of Delay
38. What is the Release Burndown Chart?
Burndown charts are used to track sprint status, they illustrate the amount of work remained to complete a project”. Also, they will highlight the area where they see redundancy.
So, burn -down charts include:
- X-axis that displays working days
- Y-axis that displays remaining effort
- Ideal effort as a guideline
- Real progress of the effort
39. What are the most important components of Agile?
The most important components of the agile model are:
- Stand-Up meetings which are done on a daily basis
- Class Responsibilities and Collaborator cards
- Timeboxed Task Boards
- Iteration planning meetings that carry out the iterative development
- TDD (Test Driven Development), Continuous Integration, regular code reviews, pair programming, automated builds, etc.
40. List some popular agile frameworks. Do you know any other agile methodology apart from scrum?
When you are posed with this sort of question, and if you haven’t used any other frameworks, you can just name few that you might have heard of.
Other frameworks that are based on agile are:
- Test-Driven Development
- Feature Driven Development
- Extreme programming
- Lean Software Development
41. As a product owner what will be your responsibilities?
The job description of a product owner is fairly straightforward.
A Product Owner’s typical responsibilities include:
- Creating and managing the product backlog & making sure that it is visible, transparent, and clear
- Guiding the team to achieve the best goals and missions in a desirable time
- Processing the value of the work done and making rational decisions
- Collaborating with the development team and communicating the status to stakeholders
- Managing team economics and actively participate in daily stand-up Scrums, Sprint Planning Meetings, Sprint Reviews, and Retrospectives
- Ensure transparency into the upcoming work of the product development team
- Represents customer and stakeholder interests and needs. Engages their feedback to validate priorities and compromises.
42. Do you think Agile Model is applicable for every project?
A flexible model like agile can be used in cases like, when:
- New changes need to be implemented in between development cycle
- Working on complex and bigger projects
- There are long term goals and no bound on requirements
- Have to quickly launch the product to market
- There are frequent changes throughout the development cycle
- There is no limit on time and budget
43. What are the skills we need in a Product Owner?
It’s quite natural that every role demands certain skills to meet the expectations of the position.
Few of the essential skills to be competent product owners are:
- Knowledgeable- Product Owner should be immensely knowledgeable about the product. Additionally, he/she should not only think about the product but also what is the scope of the same in the market.
- Communication Skills- It is important for the Product Owner to have excellent communication skills that can adapt to different teams and behavior types. He/she needs to work with the business to understand their vision and the development team to bring it to reality.
- Commitment – The PO should be committed to the project, vision, team and the business. Product Owner should clearly communicate the vision between the small backlog items and the larger business goal.
- Available – A Product Owner should be available for the stakeholders, the customers, the development team and the Scrum Master to discuss their issues.
- Decision Making – A Product Owner should have the ability to judge the scenarios and make the decisions that affect the team and its progress.
44. How does the PO filter the user stories before putting an idea in a backlog as a Product Backlog item?
A Product Owner should not outrightly reject any of ideas, nor can he/she accept all of them. Every idea that comes to the product owner needs to be analyzed. The analysis can be done in several ways like analyzing through creating a prototype, working on pilot customers, based on experience, etc. Based on the result of analysis, the PO should decide if the idea should be added to the product backlog or not.
45. Mention some scenarios where using scrum is not suggested?
Not every story about Scrum is a success story. Scrum can fail too.
It’s not suggested to use scrum when:
- The requirements do not evolve much
- You are working with huge groups or have more responsibilities
- The organization is not willing to adapt to the scrum framework
- Frequently needing to respond, quicker than a sprint allows
46. What are the properties of a sprint?
Like any other entity scrum sprint also has certain properties that you should be aware of, like:
- Timeboxed – Literally almost anything in a sprint is time-boxed, whether it is a scrum event or the sprint itself
- Timeboxing helps the team to focus and allows the space for discipline and closed boundaries for any planned activity
- It creates a cadence and also helps in gathering metrics on steady intervals
- Protected from any changes – According to Scrum Guide “Once the team has made a commitment in the Sprint Planning, the scope of the sprint will be locked. Any changes in the commitment in terms of scope change is not encouraged. But if the change is small enough to be incorporated in a sprint, the team should follow the suggestions listed in Agile Manifesto.
- The maximum duration of a sprint should be 2-3 weeks long.
47. Explain the MoSCow technique used for backlog prioritization?
Prioritizing the requirements in the product backlog is one of the most important responsibilities of the product owner. There are several ways to do it, one of the most popular technique is MoSCoW. It is a Product backlog refinement technique, where:
- Mo stands for Must be
- S stands for Should be
- Co stand for Could be
- W stands for Won’t be
48. Is it ever suggested to use waterfall over Scrum? If yes, explain when?
When your requirements are simple, well-defined, fully understood, predictable, and are not subjected to change until the completion of the project you could probably go for the waterfall model.
49. How non-functional requirements can be dealt with within the product backlog?
Non-functional requirements play an important role in the overall product development and delivery. They are the requirements without which the functional part cannot be termed as complete.
There are different ways of handlings such requirements, like:
- Create user stories in the backlog
- Inclusion in DoD
- Acceptance Criteria
50. What is the difference between PM, PO, and Business Analyst?
- Product Managers are responsible for a product roadmap according to corporate strategy.The Project Manager is the person who must ensure that the scope of a project is delivered against budget and time frames agreed. This requires the Project Manager to create plans, negotiate budgets, resources, and track progress.
- Product Owner is responsible for ensuring their product backlog is aligned to the roadmap. PO role is much wider in its scope and comes with a lot more responsibility including researching market trends to fill gaps with a new product. A product owner is responsible for a particular product and works to grow it right from its inception stage to maturity with a vision.
- Business Analyst fills the gap between PO and Development team and is a supporting role. In Scrum framework only Product Owner role is defined, rest two are kind of proxy roles. A business analyst would be responsible for a particular section of the product and would work towards its requirements or coming up with ideas to improve or innovate the process pertaining to its scope.
51. What are the Product Owner responsibilities?
The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog. He/She
- Creates and Maintains the Product Backlog showing visible progress towards forecast results and goal.
- Prioritizes and sequences the Backlog according to business value as expressed by a roadmap and stakeholder needs.
- Prepares for each sprint and release planning session by working with the team to elaborate Feature Stories into Minimal Marketable Features that deliver increments of value and User Stories that are appropriately sized for each sprint.
- Conveys the Vision and Goals at the beginning of every Release and Sprint.
- Represents customer and stakeholder interests. Engages and solicits their feedback to validate priorities and compromises.
- Participates in daily stand-up Scrums, Sprint Planning Meetings, Sprint Reviews, and Retrospectives.
- Accepts User Stories during the sprint to confirm implementation meets the intent of acceptance criteria.
- Re-negotiates Sprint priorities and commitment when team communicates new discoveries that impact the size or value of work.
- Communicates status to stakeholders including use of Visible Product Backlog for forecasting release content and dates.
52. What are the few challenges associated with the Product Owner role?
The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. Sometimes this role is not considered seriously e.g. not having a full-time Product Owners per team. Few organizations fail to realize how challenging the role is and they overload the Product Owners with too many teams and backlogs.
53. What challenges are you looking for in this product owner position?
This question is to determine what are your expectation and what the organization is looking from you in this job, and whether you would be a good fit for the position being hired for.The best way to answer questions about the challenges you are seeking is to discuss how you would like to be able to effectively utilize your skills and experience if you were hired for the job.
54. Can a Product Owner be the Scrum Master for a team?
- No, The Product Owner should never act in the Scrum Master role. These two roles have conflicting goals and should not be merged.
- Disadvantages: There is a huge conflict of interest because the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles have conflicting goals. The Scrum Master should never be responsible for delivery; that is the Product Owner’s main goal. It’s a conflict between business needs and team self-awareness. It’s about balancing long-term versus short-term improvements and results.
55. Describe a typical work week for product owner position?
This is the opportunity to discuss what you do while you are working as a PO in detail. Before you answer, consider the position you are applying for and how your current or past positions relate to it. The more you can connect your past experience with the job opening, the more successful you will be at answering the questions.
56. How will you create or help in creating a Product roadmap?
The product roadmap typically illustrates the following key elements:
- Product strategy and goals
- What products and features will be built
- When those product features will be built
- Who is responsible for building those products and features
- “Themes” or high-level priorities
For a small organization the PO might be directly involved in creating the roadmap however in large organization, he would be someone whose input would be required.
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57. How would a Product Owner deal with uncooperative stakeholders?
The best (and perhaps the only) way to deal with uncooperative stakeholders is to win their confidence by engaging them through regular meeting and discussions and demonstrating the value of agile product development. If it still fails, the product owner should seek help from sponsor. Also facilitating Workshops, training, events etc to get participation from uncooperative stakeholders.
58. What services that product owner receives from scrum master?
Scrum Master serves Product Owner in the following ways:
- Makes sure that the goals and scope of the project are understood by everyone involved
- Facilitates Scrum events as and when requested by the product owner
- Helps product owner find techniques for effective product backlog management
- Ensure the product owner knows how to arrange the product backlog to maximize value
- Helps product owner understand and practice agile practices
59. What are a few challenges of with the product owner role?
Some of the challenges that Product Owners face are:
- Prioritizing features is not always easy and might involve trade-off decision making.
- Product Owners often find it difficult to transforming customer’s ideas into tangible product deliverables.
- Aligning the entire scrum team with customer’s requirements and articulating the customer’s requirements and project goal to the team is a challenging task
- At times, the product owners fail to understand the fundamental of the role which in turn reflected in the performance of the team
- PO might find it challenging to plan releases and sprints to deliver maximum value at the earliest
- Dealing with customers who do not understand the process of Scrum is another difficulty
- Providing timely and constructive feedback to the team to improve the quality of deliverables is not always a straightforward process
60. How does Product Owner maximize the value of the Development Team’s work?
A large part of the Product Owner role is to establish the mission and vision for their teams work efforts.
The Product owner can increase the value the team delivers through different strategies, which are:
- Continuous interaction contributes to maximum value being delivered
- Domain Training, investing time in teaching the development team about the domain, helping them understand the business and how it works
- Vision, taking out time explain the vision for the product and the organization
- Value Delivery, making the team understand the value being delivered at the story level.
61. Have you heard of Product Backlog Refinement meeting? In that meeting do we focus on items of upcoming sprints or the current sprints?
During a Product backlog refinement meeting, the team and the product owner discuss the questions that would normally arise during sprint planning. Therefore, that meeting is for the upcoming sprint. The items in the current sprint are no longer on the Product Backlog. They are in the artifact called Sprint Backlog.
62. If you were a product owner how would you deal with uncooperative stakeholders?
The best way is to find a way to convince them that their presence and contribution is really important. Also, win their confidence by engaging them through regular meeting and discussions and demonstrating the value of agile product development. If it still fails, the product owner should seek help from a sponsor. Also, facilitate workshops, training events etc to get participation from uncooperative stakeholders.
63. Are you a certified scrum product owner (CSPO)?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions. Don’t panic if you don’t have a certification and they ask you this question! Be confident and answer if you have a product owner certification or not. If you are a certified scrum product owner just share the details of your certification like certification type, score obtained, and the year of passing. In case you are not certified to highlight your experience in the particular field and let the interviewer know if you are planning to take one in the future.
64. As a product owner who should you report to?
Every organization has its own reporting hierarchy. Scrum does not provide any mandatory ground rule on the reporting structure for the product owner. In a large organization where the product is fairly big and they use agile frameworks like SAFe, they have product managers at the highest level, who are the main owners of the product. At the team level, they have product owners who constantly stay in touch with the product managers and report to them. But again, there is no set criteria or hierarchy being followed at the organizations.
65. As a Product Owner, how would you communicate your marketplace knowledge to the Scrum Team?
As a part of the scrum team, it is very much required that the development team and the scrum master is aware of the changes happening in the market place. And making sure that the scrum team is up to date on marketplace knowledge is one of the responsibilities of the product owner. The Product Owner does it continuously as a part of his informal interactions with the development team and scrum meetings. He also does that through formal discussions and meetings that are part of the scrum framework.
66. How do you align the product roadmap with the product backlog and user stories?
You don’t align the product roadmap with the product backlog and user stories. The Product Roadmap describes what products and features will be built to realize the vision, who is responsible for building those product features, and, sometimes, an estimate of when those products and features will be released. It should generate User Stories for the team’s Product Backlog. There should be a parent-child relationship between the two.
67. The development team is repeatedly failing to fulfill the sprint commitment. As a product owner, what would you do?
It is very important for the Product Owner to understand the reason for the development team failing the sprint commitment. PO should continuously progress the work status of the Dev team.
It could be due to multiple reasons:
- It might be because of incorrect estimation or over-commitment.
- Or, it might be because of a lack of trust and collaboration in the team.
- Might be because of the team not understanding the user story and not slicing it correctly.
A product owner needs to identify which amongst these reasons are responsible for the failure of the team. Based on the reason, the PO needs to work with the development team and Scrum master to find the solution.
68. What are the critical strengths of the Product Owner role?
The ability to be inclusive is important. The interviewer is looking for the PO to share their understanding of the customer and their needs across the team. So the team is focused on solving the customer problems rather than simply delivering a set of epics or user stories.The most important word for the Product Owner is “No”. Saying yes to features is quite easy and we’re all good at it. “what not to do” is what differentiates the PO from rest of the team and highlights their balanced understanding of the customer’s needs vs. their teams’ capacity.
69. What skills & competencies should a Product Owner demonstrate?
Key skills of a Product Owner should be related to Communication, Commitment, Vision, Focus on functionality, Available and People skills.
The following Performing Competencies are needed to do the Product Owner job well:
- Subject matter expertise and sufficient market knowledge to understand customer wants and needs.
- Manage product backlogs with priority decisions that mitigate risk and maximize value while showing steady progress towards forecast results
- Manages backlog content consistent with priorities agreed to with key stakeholders
- Provides a visible forecast and notifies stakeholders of any significant changes in effort or risk
- Create Feature and User Stories that represent “vertical slices” of value
- Collaborates effectively with Scrum Master and Scrum Development Team
- Engage both team and stakeholders to collaborate in release planning
- Inspires commitment by communicating a clear vision, direction, purpose, and goal for each release and sprint
- Approachable and available to team members to answer detailed questions about requirements
- Understand and represent the interests of customers and stakeholders such as customer service, sales, development management, and executives
- Engages and solicits their feedback to validate priorities and compromises
- Constructive Conflict Resolution
- Demand / assure accountability
- Effective planning and forecasting in spite of the inevitable uncertainty and unknowns
- Understands and applies Agile and Scrum principles and practices
- Balances new feature delivery with high-quality software while minimizing the creation of additional technical debt for sustainable software development.
70. Developers are not good at presentations so should you as you are the one who decided that what functionality should handle the Demo?
Team has to present because of the Scrum, the team knows about it at the system level and what exactly the system is trying to say. Maybe they are not good at present, or maybe the Product Owner is not part of the team and as a consequence, they don’t believe in the product. They are partially right, but there is a bigger picture as well. ScrumMaster just needs to reveal it to the system so they can adjust accordingly, as a team.
71. How do you motivate your team?
Big part of the Product Owner role is to establish the mission and vision for their teams work efforts. Spending time explaining the customer, their needs, and the role the teams’ efforts will play in meeting those needs. Setting a tone of not just delivery, but customer satisfaction and problem solutions.
72. How much customer interaction is expected from a Product Owner? How is their interaction different from Product Managers?
Product Owners communicate with customers in a listening role to share backlog and results for checking to understand, and in order to solicit feedback. Sales and account management calls should be minimized, and are not considered a primary responsibility for the Product Owner role.Product Managers communicates externally and across the company. Product Managers are responsible for the market message and communicating commitments and promises to customers. Product Manager is not a pre-defined role in Scrum.
73. Who are your product stakeholders? Who are the key stakeholders?
Not knowing who your stakeholders are severe limits your chances of knowing how to meet market demand, meet the needs of the stakeholders, and generally being able to deliver a high-value product! It may be two people the PO knows by name, or it may be a set of target audiences around the world. Whatever it is, the PO should know this. In addition, the PO should do everything in their power to involve key stakeholders in Sprint Reviews to increase feedback and chances of always working on the most valuable things.
74. Where is management support to product owner role & backing their decisions?
In addition to coaching and budgeting for professional development and skill-building activities management should:
- Provide feedback on product backlog content, priorities, and dates with a clear purpose
- Support acceptance decisions the PO makes during each sprint
- Management will route all work for teams through product owner to support a single voice for work priorities
- Manage consistent and qualified staffing for teams from sprint to sprint with minimal changes throughout a release
- Key Stakeholders will provide clear direction on prioritizing to achieve corporate strategy and product management objectives shown in product roadmaps
- Development Executives will support the PO in helping Key Stakeholders to understand and accept the necessity for making tradeoff decisions on dates and/or feature content consistent with actual team capacity
75. What reporting structure should Product Owners follow?
Release level Product Owners should report at an equivalent level to their development management peers. If the development manager(s) for people on the team(s) the PO works with the report at the Director or VP level, then the PO should report at the same level. Regardless of reporting structure, development management must have the authority to address any impediments. The preferred approach is for people acting as Release Product Owners to report into the Product Development organizational structure.
76. Who are PO’s are accountable to?
Product Owners are accountable to the Key Stakeholders who make financial commitments:
- Business Unit President
- Product Manager
Product Owners negotiate an agreement to backlog priorities with these Key Stakeholders and keep them informed of any significant impacts or deviations from forecasts.
77. What defines success for a product owner?
Two critical criteria for success in PO role is, Profitable products and satisfied customers. Other criteria includes Strength of Product Backlog, Constant delivery of Value, Attaining of Release Goals, and Understanding of Product Vision by team members along with defining a successful Product Roadmap.
- Product releases deliver great value as perceived by customers and stakeholders
- Balances feature delivery with sustainable software development
- Stakeholder and team members understand the rationale for prioritization and forecasting is visible and transparent
- There are no surprises on progress, feature content, and dates, or priority changes made along the way
- Scrum Team members feel meaningful accomplishment from delivering “winning” features
- Continuously learning and improving the use of agile principles and practices
- Deliver a product that is aligned with the roadmap
78. Can a person be PO for multiple teams?
The Product Owner is the owner of a single product. He/she focuses on the given product by constantly being in touch with the customers and stakeholders. Aligning a PO for multiple projects will impact the quality of deliverable and it will also affect the duties of individual playing the role of a PO.
79. How will you know if you are successful as a product owner or not?
Generally, the success of the product owner depends on how much invested the person in this role and understands the true meaning of being a product owner.
Certain parameters that would help you evaluate yourself are:
- Strength of Product Backlog
- Constant delivery of Value
- Attaining of Release Goals
- Understanding of Product Vision by team members
- Defining a successful Product Roadmap
- When the customer is satisfied and pleased
80. Do you hold any agile certification? Why did you choose this certification?
This sort of question might seem awkward if you don’t have any certification. In such cases, stay calm and just let the interviewer know if are planning to take any in the future. If yes, then mention why you have that particular certification.
Some popular certifications are:
- ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner)
- ASM (Agile Scrum Master)
- CSM (Certified Scrum Master)
- CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner)
- PSM (Professional Scrum Master)
- Safe Agilist
81. Should the team accept changes in the sprint as requested by the Product Owner?
The agile model has helped the teams to manage changes within the development process model. According to agile principles, if the change is being requested by the Product Owner, the team has to decide if they should accept it or not. There will be a negotiation between the product owner and the development, the team gets to take the final call on the acceptance of the change.
82. Your team is constantly failing to meet commitments, and its performance velocity is volatile. What might the possible reasons be?
There are many possible factors that might combine to make a team’s velocity volatile, like:
- Hiring new people
- Team members are leaving
- Levels of seniority in the team is causing issues
- Working in uncharted territory
- Working with legacy code, probably undocumented
- Unexpected technical debt
- Wy to many holidays and sick leave
83. List some of the popular project management tools that you have heard of?
Some popular tools used in the project management are Rally Software, Version One, XPlanner, EasyBacklog Agilefant, and many others.
84.What is scrum product owner training
- In an enterprise with an agile team, the product owner has the complete responsibility for product delivery, managing schedules, and finances, quality assurance as well as communication with customers.
- Hence, the focus is entirely on the product and thus, the main aspect of the business. The product owner should have impeccable abilities to envision the product and align product development and delivery with the overall business strategy. Within, agile framework, the product owner should be able to put together product-related principles with principles of agile. This is where the immense relevance of CSPO course certification comes in. This certification is preceded by scrum product owner training, which facilitates building this knowledge and skill.
85. What do you know about our company?
Follow these three easy research tips before your next job interview:
- Visit the company website; look in the “about us” section and “careers” sections
- Visit the company’s LinkedIn page (note, you must have a LinkedIn account — it’s free to sign up) to view information about the company
- Google a keyword search phrase like “press releases” followed by the company name; you’ll find the most recent news stories shared by the company Remember, just because you have done your “homework”, it does not mean you need to share ALL of it during the interview! .
86. What kind of salary do you need?
A tricky question. Do not answer it immediately. Instead, say something like, That’s a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position?In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range.Note that whenever you are going for an interview, this question may be asked. Before going, try to find out what the average salary for someone holding that position in that industry is paid. This would help prepare you for what is in front of you.
87. How do you align the business direction (roadmap) with the product backlog and user stories?
You don’t. The Product Roadmap (items, epics, themes) should generate User Stories for the team’s Product Backlog. There should be a parent-child relationship between the two.
88. What all do your teams have in their product backlogs?
“All Work” necessary to meet a project or product deliverable (release) should be articulated in the backlog. It should be prioritized, sized, and contrasted against all other work. I think doing less than this breaks your transparency and visibility.
89. What the most important aspect of a “healthy” Product Backlog?
It should be BALANCE, i.e. not having too much of anything in the backlog. When it is reviewed it should have collections of things like: dependencies, technical complexity, architecture, quality and testing, defect repairs, innovation, and experimentation.
90. In what ways are you a bottleneck for the software development effort supporting this product? How can you mitigate slowing down the product’s development?
The PO is a bottleneck position by design, at least if you interpret “being accountable for” to also mean “do the work” (which is a misconception of the PO role, by the way). What can you delegate? What can you direct? What other business-side people can you get help from? Where can you get help becoming effective at X, Y or Z? Are you acting as a matchmaker between stakeholders and the Dev Team, or as a bottleneck and proxy conveying (and most likely accidentally distorting the understanding and intent of) messages going back and forth?
91. Where do you want the product to be, in a year? What’s your part in helping the Scrum Team achieve that goal? What’s your top concern that the product won’t be where you want it to be?
Is the PO doing, or focusing on, the most important thing(s)? Out of all things the PO can do, are they focusing on the right things (like ordering PBIs, clarifying vision, involving the right people, making connections, learning about product perception in the market, etc). Is the Dev Team left on their own, ending up building things clients don’t want? Should the PO work more or less closely with the Dev Team or stakeholders?
92. Would you be calm with letting the Dev Team(s) run the next two Sprints without talking to you?
Does the PO clearly express their vision of the product, in a sufficient way for the Dev Team to do “the right things” themselves? Is the product backlog up to date, ordered and contains enough Ready items to have the Dev Teamwork on their own for two Sprints while the PO focuses on meeting clients, probing the market, etc? Would the Dev Team know which stakeholders to talk to about particular domain areas? Does the Dev Team understand the Product Backlog Items well enough to produce a high-value product without constant – or even occasional – access to the PO (perhaps not forever, but at least for two Sprints)? Is the PO working reactively (short-term only) or proactively (long-term vision being played out through the ordering of the PBIs in the PBL)? Can the PO motivate short-term vs long-term focus, ie which is the right thing to aim for now?
93. What is the definition of Release PO versus Feature PO?
When a Scrum Product Team includes more than 2 Scrum Teams we have found that it’s more than one Product Owner can handle. In this case, we suggest adding a Release Product Owner as a Product Owner Team lead. The PO team covers all the responsibilities and activities of a Product Owner divided into RPO and team PO roles.
Release Product Owner leads the PO team and is first and foremost responsible that the PO team presents a Single Voice
- A clear statement of vision, direction, release purpose and goals
- Managing overall Product Backlog and publishing the Product Backlog
- Show alignment w/ product roadmap
- Getting stakeholder buy-in on Product Backlog
- Prioritization of Product Backlog
- Prepare appropriate Product Backlog to drive release planning
- Ongoing release plan forecasting
- Deployment & release readiness checklist
- Market launch split out to PM
Team Product Owner (or just PO) is a member of the Scrum Team responsible for working with the team from sprint to sprint and grooming the breakdown of Features into sprint sized User Stories so that they are prepared for Sprint Planning
- Prioritize user stories to drive Sprint Planning
- Acceptance criteria of stories in the sprint
- Day to day available to the team for conversations about stories in the sprint
- Accepting stories in the sprint
94. What have you done in the past 5 sprints, to increase the chances of delivering a high-value product?
Does the Dev Team have access to stakeholders as needed? Does the PO engage with stakeholders frequently? Does the PO act as a matchmaker between the Dev Team and stakeholders rather than a bottleneck? How are different needs from different stakeholders balanced? How does the PO track profit and loss? Does the PO ensure that user or stakeholder satisfaction is measured regularly? Does the PO keep a burn-up chart of “value points” delivered per Sprint, or is there some other way to guess or measure delivered value?
95. What features should be removed from the product? How do you know they should be removed? How can you tell that you can’t remove a feature?
Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done, is essential. It is important to NOT build things which are not needed, but it’s also important to remove features that have a negative ROI. Understanding what features are really needed, and how slim we can make them, is a critical skill for increasing product agility. However, understanding what features need to be removed is also a critical skill for product agility.
96. When do we need this distinction versus having a single PO for smaller product teams?
Any time we have more than one PO assigned to a Scrum Product Team.In some cases, the RPO may also act as team PO for one of the Scrum Teams with assistance from additional team PO’s on other Scrum Teams.
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