Always Mention Tradeoffs in Product Management Interviews was originally published on Exponent.
One strategy I used all my product management interviews is always remembering to mention tradeoffs.
Let me give you an example of what I mean by this.
Let's say I was just asked, “How would you improve Google Maps?”
In short, my answer might look something like:
What if Google Maps could help you remember where you left your stuff?
If it wasn't just your car, maybe it was your suitcase or maybe even your house keys.
Google Maps can help you remember where these items were located if you have better tracking data.
Now, this sounds like a great feature and I could have ended my answer here. But there's something more than I can add.
Here's what I would have said at the end of that interview:
“Yes, we've created a great feature here ,but I want to alert us of the privacy concerns.
Of course, Google has an important relationship with its users and a very trusting relationship with its users. It's important that we don't break the user trust here.
There's a lot of information we're collecting about users and it could be sensitive or private. So we want to make sure that we're not overstepping our privacy bounds by collecting this information.
Before launching this feature, I'd test out this feature on some users see how they respond to this privacy collection and see if they react negatively after doing that.
I would be very careful and make sure that we're clear with our PR plan on how we're marketing this feature.
We want to help users, we don't want to collect data and we don't want to sell it to other companies.
Here, I'm taking the answer that I gave and showing ways it might be wrong.
Why is this so effective?
The interviewer might have been thinking about these things throughout the interview.
They might say to themselves, “He's not thinking about privacy. He's not thinking about user feedback.”
No answer you give will be perfect. There will always be flaws.
At the end of your answer, give a little bit more information about how you might change the product under different circumstances. Show concern for how the product impacts users.