34 Product Owner Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
Updated 25 October 2022
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A product owner is the backbone of a scrum team and is responsible for a product's success in an organisation. Hiring managers look for technical and non-technical expertise and assess the analytical, technical, communication, leadership and decision-making skills of potential candidates for product owner roles. The interview stage analyses a candidate's understanding of the industry and product development process. In this article, we provide you with 34 product owner interview questions and some sample answers to help you prepare for interviews.
General Product Owner Interview Questions
A hiring manager could ask general product owner interview questions to help them understand you as a person. These questions are typically about your background, education, industry interests and basic product owner skills. This helps interviewers judge your suitability for the company's culture.
Hiring managers start interviews with general questions to help candidates relax. Review the following general product owner interview questions while preparing for interviews:
Why do you want to work as a product owner?
What are the typical responsibilities of a product owner?
This organisation believes that product owners are visionary people. What is your vision when working as a product owner?
What excites you about being a product owner?
Do you think a product owner has to be a highly technical person?
What is your biggest strength as a product owner, and how do you utilise it when working on projects?
How is your role different from a product manager or a scrum master? Do you think the responsibilities of a product owner overlap with theirs?
A product owner works with various stakeholders and is the point of contact between different areas of the product's development. How do you handle different opinions when collaborating with various partners?
What do you bring to the organisation as a product owner?
Describe yourself as a product owner in a sentence.
Related: 16 Types Of Scrum Master Certifications And Their Benefits
Questions About Experience And Background
The job of a product owner comes with many responsibilities and accountability. It typically requires five to six years of experience in product development to become a product owner. Questions about experience and background demonstrate your working style and understanding of product backlogs. This helps interviewers gauge how your experience can benefit the company.
You could also discuss product life cycles, customer needs, market situations and collaborations with the scrum team. The following list of sample questions can assist you with experience-related queries during an interview:
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a product owner?
How do you handle situations when the scrum team cannot meet sprint commitments?
Have you ever failed to deliver desired product outcomes, or how would you correct a product feature that does not meet user requirements?
How often do you interact with your project's scrum team and internal stakeholders?
What other product discovery frameworks, other than scrum, are you familiar with? Have you worked with any other frameworks?
What do you think the essential features of a user story are?
How do you develop a strategic product roadmap?
What techniques do you use for backlog prioritisation?
What factors do you consider when cancelling a sprint, and how do you justify the time and investment spent on a cancelled sprint?
How do you manage the stress of the job as a product owner? Do you think the role can provide work-life balance?
Related: Learn How To Become A Scrum Master (With Tips And Skills)
A hiring manager tests your knowledge of a product owner role with in-depth questions. You can familiarise yourself with the challenging technical aspects of the position to accurately answer such questions. The interviewers want to calculate your expertise in the different facets of a product owner role and whether your knowledge adds value to the organisation. Here are some in-depth questions interviewers may ask candidates for a product owner's job:
How does the Agile Management Software facilitate a scrum framework?
How much time do you spend understanding customer requirements and researching the marketplace before laying out the product design?
How do you plan to say 'No' to a stakeholder's opinion without affecting the collaboration?
What are the various estimation levels in the scrum, and how do they help achieve team goals?
Do you think a product owner can handle multiple projects? If so, how do they do that?
How does a product owner optimise the development team's work?
When a product owner faces difficulty understanding the scrum progress concerning a product, who is a suitable person to consult in the organisation?
How do you approach customer requests when they ask you to add design features unknown to you?
How would you describe a scrum framework to a non-technical person?
Tell us about a product you believe is well designed but is failing to generate revenue for a company.
Related: Product Owner Skills (With Definition And Responsibilities)
Interview Questions With Sample Answers
Here are some sample answers to prospective product owner interview questions to help you prepare for your interview:
1. What elements do you think are necessary for redesigning a product?
In the product development industry, every product needs fresh features and designs to sustain itself in the market and leverage finances for the company. A product owner is responsible for creating a product that meets the end users' requirements. Interviewers may ask this question to understand your problem-solving abilities. You can try to answer based on your previous experience redesigning products and provide examples when possible.
Example: "The factors I consider before redesigning a product are its viability in the market, customer satisfaction, user stories, branding and competitiveness. I believe products need design and technological upgrades but not at the cost of compromising the product's legacy and the company's revenue. I would first work on a product discovery framework, keeping all the feedback in sight. Then, interview the key stakeholders and run a product analysis with the development team before working on refreshing the product design. I followed this process while working on a product for a client, and the team was successful at rebranding."
Related: Product Analyst Vs Product Manager: Learn The Difference
2. How would you deal with the changing market situation of a product and customer priorities?
Product owners constantly research and restructure their strategies for situating a product on the market. They update their user research and market regularly. They also communicate these changes with the scrum team to come up with a plan to develop a successful product. You can emphasise teamwork and your product owner vision when answering. The answer can focus on aligning changing market priorities with backlog changes.
Example: "I think effective communication with my scrum team and other stakeholders is necessary to deal with changing priorities and to establish a product's market situation. I would create an environment that encourages discussion and feedback to include them in the product backlog. Customer priorities align with product development and sprint. Conveying information to the team and changes in user stories can help deal with emerging priorities and an evolving market."
3. What about your previous job designations has inspired you to apply for this position?
Candidates can talk about their previous job titles and learning experiences and how they can apply that knowledge as a product owner. Working as a product manager, scrum master or product developer can help a product owner. If you have worked in other fields, it can be helpful to focus on the leadership and team management aspects of former jobs and how that helped you grow as a manager.
Example: "I started my professional career as a product developer. I learned the importance of working in a team and in line with product visions to optimise time and accomplish sprints. My role as a product manager taught me about the hard work involved with ideating, creating and maintaining a product and about the phases before generating a product backlog. My experiences and mentors have helped me understand that a product outcome is the result of a collaboration between different teams and stakeholders.
My previous job roles have had strong leadership, communication and customer-centric focuses on products that meet market requirements. Because of this, I feel that my previous roles have helped me grow as an effective product owner."
Related: What Is Product Management? (With Skills And Duties)
4. What unique quality sets you apart from other candidates?
Companies are always looking for product owners who can adapt to their methodologies. Not every organisation follows the same product development process. Hiring managers might ask about your skill set to see if you are flexible and how your talent could benefit the scrum team. Candidates can answer this question humbly while emphasising their unique personality traits. There could be many candidates with similar technical knowledge, so passing the interviewer's personality evaluation could help you differentiate yourself.
Example: "I believe my patience and empathy with team members differentiates me from other candidates. Product-related projects include many iterations, extended team discussions and brainstorming sessions across all product levels. Being proactive and understanding others helps everyone grow. My focus has always been fostering a healthy and engaging work environment, which I could not do without empathy."
Product Owner Skills (With Definition And Responsibilities)
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