Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology (Cracking the Interview & Career) PDF AZW3 EPUB MOBI TXT Download

How many pizzas are delivered in Manhattan? How do you design an alarm clock for the blind? What is your favorite piece of software and why? How would you launch a video rental service in India? This book will teach you how to answer these questions and more. Cracking the PM Interview is a comprehensive book about landing a product management role in a startup or bigger tech company. Learn how the ambiguously-named “PM” (product manager / program manager) role varies across companies, what experience you need, how to make your existing experience translate, what a great PM resume and cover letter look like, and finally, how to master the interview: estimation questions, behavioral questions, case questions, product questions, technical questions, and the super important “pitch.”The Product Manager RoleWhat is a PM?Functions of a PMTop Myths about Product ManagementProject Managers and Program ManagersCompaniesHow the PM Role VariesGoogleMicrosoftAppleFacebookAmazonYahooTwitterStartupsGetting the Right ExperienceNew GradsMaking the Most of Career FairsDo you need an MBA?Why Technical Experience MattersTransitioning from Engineer to Product ManagerTransitioning from Designer to Product ManagerTransitioning from Other RolesWhat Makes a Good Side Project?Career AdvancementTips and Tricks for Career AdvancementQ & A: Fernando Delgado, Sr. Director, Product Management at YahooQ & A: Ashley Carroll, Senior Director of Product Management, DocuSignQ & A: Brandon Bray, Principal Group Program Manager, MicrosoftQ & A: Thomas Arend, International Product Lead, AirbnbQ & A: Johanna Wright, VP at GoogleQ & A: Lisa Kostova Ogata, VP of Product at Bright.comBehind the Interview ScenesGoogleMicrosoftFacebookAppleAmazonYahooTwitter Dropbox ResumesThe Second RuleThe RulesAttributes of a Good PM ResumeWhat to IncludeReal Resumes: Before & AfterCover LettersElements of a Good PM Cover LetterThe Cover Letter TemplateA Great Cover LetterCompany ResearchThe ProductThe StrategyThe CultureThe RoleThe QuestionsDefine Yourself“Tell Me About Yourself” (The Pitch)“Why do you want to work here?”“Why should we hire you?”“Why are you leaving your current job?”“What do you like to do in your spare time?”“Where do you see yourself in five years?”“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”Sample Strengths and WeaknessesBehavioral QuestionsWhy These Questions Are AskedPreparationFollow-Up QuestionsTypes of Behavioral QuestionsEstimation QuestionsApproachNumbers Cheat SheetTips and TricksExample InterviewSample QuestionsProduct QuestionsAbout the Product QuestionType 1: Designing a ProductType 2: Improving a ProductType 3: Favorite ProductPreparationTips and TricksSample QuestionsCase QuestionsThe Case Question: Consultants vs. PMsWhat Interviewers Look ForUseful FrameworksProduct MetricsInterview QuestionsCoding QuestionsWho Needs To CodeWhat You Need To KnowHow You Are EvaluatedHow To ApproachDeveloping an AlgorithmAdditional Questions & SolutionsAppendixTop 1% PMs vs. Top 10% PMsBe a Great Product LeaderThe Inputs to a Great Product RoadmapHow to Hire a Product Manager

Gayle Laakmann McDowell
CareerCup; 1st edition (December 2, 2013)
364 pages

File Size: 85 MB
Available File Formats: PDF AZW3 DOCX EPUB MOBI TXT or Kindle audiobook Audio CD(Several files can be converted to each other)
Language: English, Francais, Italiano, Espanol, Deutsch, chinese

“I wish this book had existed when I first found my way into product management. Gayle and Jackie don’t just help you land a PM job; they show you what it takes to be great once you’ve got one. Finally there’s a game plan for charting your career as a product manager.”–Ken Norton, Partner at Google Ventures (former PM at Google)”If you were looking for a comprehensive, well-researched book about how to get a job in product management, look no further than Cracking the PM Interview. Gayle and Jackie break down the entire process of landing your dream PM job, while bridging a wide range of perspectives that aspiring PMs may bring to the table. This is a no-brainer resource to leverage during your job search.”–Jason Shah, former Product Manager at Yammer/Microsoft & instructor of How to Get a Job in Product Management”Impressed by Jackie and Gayle’s thorough interview walkthrough, from defining your skills, to resumes and all the way to product questions. A definite handbook for hopeful product managers.” –Ritu Jain, Organizer of PM Fast Track Community & CEO of LearningJar <div id="

  • Like many other MBA students, I aspired to break into product management post-graduation.This book was extremely helpful for learning what the role of a PM is all about, how it varies from company to company, what a typical day in the life is like, and some high level interview advice.I do have two criticisms for this book however:1. The content is definitely dated and feels like it was last updated over a decade ago. The book lists Yahoo as one of the top companies for PMs and goes in depth alongside companies like Google, Microsoft, etc. It also says Facebook has very stringent technical requirements for PMs. That is actually no longer true and hasn’t been true for several years. Facebook doesn’t ask any technical questions in their PM interviews.2. Given the name of the title, I thought the book would focus more on the actual interview questions and answers and less on explaining the role.Don’t get me wrong, the other material in the book is still valuable for newbies but if you are already a PM and know the basics, only one third of the book is actually interview prep material. If your goal is interview prep, I’d recommend reading two other books.1. Swipe to Unlock: The Primer on Technology and Business Strategy – This book was written by PMs at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to break down the core concepts of tech and business strategy that all PMs should know. The book is essentially a collection of mini case studies on all aspects of tech strategy, featuring pretty much every notable tech company (e.g. Google, Uber, Robinhood, etc.)2. Decode and Conquer: Answers to Product Management Interviews – This book was written by a former Microsoft PM and it’s essentially what I was expecting Cracking the PM Interview to be like: a super focused interview book with great frameworks and tons of example PM interview questions and answers.By reading these two books, I was able to get Product Manager offers from both Apple and Amazon straight out of business school without prior product management experience!tldr; If you are new to product management, buy this book immediately. If you are already a Product Manager and just looking to brush up for an interview, read Decode and Conquer and Swipe to Unlock instead.
  • This has been a difficult book for me to rate. On one hand, I really liked it. On the other hand, I couldn’t stop thinking that it fell quite short on some aspects of product management. I will explain both of those reasons in more detail below, but let me first tell a bit about my background as I think it is relevant for this review.I have been in the industry for more than 20 years. Currently, I am the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of a startup that creates networking solutions for the Internet of Things. Previously, I worked for a very large networking vendor in both technical and business roles for more than 15 years. My last role there was a Sr. Product Manager in Office of the CTO. Previously, I held roles as a Product Line Manager (PLM) managing P&Ls north of $200 million. I was also a Program Manager managing multi-year multi-million dollar projects that won innovation awards etc. Throughout my career I coded things, launched products and tools that have been very successful and that are still in use. I also launched products that didn’t take of as I had expected them to. I am an engineer by education, I have a EE degree and an MBA and several advanced certifications in business and technical domains. Although I don’t have a background in CS, I code for personal projects and I also code for our startup. I have open source repositories on GitHub that have a total of 100 stars in total. I certainly won’t claim I know much but I think I have had my fair share of experience dealing with technology, specifically in a B2B/Enterprise model.I try to keep myself refreshed by learning new things, reading books, working on side projects etc. That is the reason I read this book. I liked it and I also thought it missed some aspects while focusing only on a subset of a larger picture. That is what this review is about.First the good stuff. Product Management is a bit of a mystery for outsiders. It is partly science and partly art. There is no specific education for Product Management, which makes it a bit hard to grasp. To make matters worse, it may mean very different things in different companies. Sometimes it is perceived to be more of a marketing role, sometimes it is under engineering and so forth. On this topic, I think the authors have done a pretty good job in creating a fundamental structure for understanding Product Management and making it approachable for those who are aspiring to be Product Managers (mine was a bit of luck, I built a service as an engineer which became so successful that they asked me to lead a team to build it for external customers and launch it as a product manager). I liked that the authors gave specific examples on what product management means in different companies, I also liked that they outline paths for engineers and designers to become product managers, which makes a lot of sense.Authors provide some very good behavioral questions and reasoning behind those questions. I particularly enjoyed seeing that they busted some myths (as they explain, Product Managers are not CEOs of their products, however cool it may sound!). Many of those behavioral questions are also applicable to other roles that require soft skills (Project Management, Program Management, Customer Service etc.) as well and can easily be part of a study plan for interviews for those roles. I must admit, some of the estimation questions challenged me (I haven’t done those in so generic ways for probably over a decade) and at times I felt intimidated, which is an indication of good balance.That made me think, how many times I have asked those generic questions myself while interviewing other PMs and the answer is, it wasn’t much (I will explain why below). That also made me think what else was amiss.That brings us to stuff that I think can be improved. It feels that the authors’ experience has been primarily in a B2C context and the book shows it. Content heavily skews towards consumer oriented Product Management. Majority, if not all examples and questions are around consumer products. Companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft etc.) in question are well known but they share a lot of common traits and pretty much all are consumer focused (and on a side note, it may be time to take out examples from Yahoo and Twitter). There are a few questions that venture slightly outside of B2C but it is an exception. Microsoft is arguably the only company that sits somewhere between B2C and B2B in this list, but the way it is covered is still through the lens of consumers. There is nothing wrong with this approach but it misses a perspective of Product Management for B2B, Enterprise Software and Hardware companies which have their own challenges.Three things that stood out the most for me was a lack of focus on go-to-market strategies, content creation and to a lesser degree, domain expertise. Go-to-market strategy and execution consumes a significant portion of a Product Manager’s time and is thus reflected in interviews. Similarly, in most B2B companies, Product Managers are expected to create collateral in the form of presentations (not the fluffy stuff but the ones that have factual information), competitive analysis for sales teams, whitepapers, use-cases etc. A lot of time is also spent on helping sales teams to win deals by helping them with RFPs etc. These activities can intersect with those from marketing (and sometimes sales) but it is an important activity for Product Managers. So, these also are also reflected in interviews, depending on the experience and background of the candidate.Go-to-market is covered in some indirect ways but I didn’t find it nearly complete enough. In real life, if I ever created and presented a business case without a fairly detailed go-to-market strategy to an executive team or even a wider PM team, that could have been the end of my career. And when I say go-to-market, I mean an in-depth plan with channel strategies, partnerships etc. Once again, we are talking B2B here. This is reflected in interviews and we expect people to come with at least some knowledge of and experience in go-to-market strategies. I didn’t think the coverage of this in the book was enough.Second to go-to-market, there was also no mention of collateral creation. In our interviews, we expect people to demonstrate previous experience on content creation, let it be in the form of blog posts, technical white papers for engineers, product documentation etc. If you are applying for a product manager role in a B2B context, I’d recommend you to have some collateral that you can showcase. It can come in different forms depending on your experience and job history but this will be important.The last part is the lack of focus on domain expertise. This will depend on the industry, company and your previous experience but domain expertise is important for product management especially in B2B. So, while you may get generic estimation questions if you apply for junior roles, in more senior roles, you will be asked more specific replacement questions that require fairly in-depth domain knowledge. This brings out the other implicit assumption that I observed in the book. It is aimed at people who are planning to move to product management starting in more junior roles. There is a certain emphasis on fresh college graduates. So, examples and context make a lot of sense for that target group. But be aware that expectations can vary significantly beyond that target group especially for different industries and companies.All in all, I think this is a valuable book and I applaud the authors for writing it. I recommend it to anyone who is planning to venture into Product Management, also to seasoned Product Managers for some fun and refreshment (just put it into context and set your expectations accordingly). I enjoyed reading it and admittedly it helped me to refresh some topics that I haven’t practiced for a while. I get a similar feeling when I open my books from college or MBA days and it feels refreshing at some level. But also understand that this is geared towards people who are in earlier stages of their careers and the content is skewed towards B2C companies and products. I think a different title would be much more accurate and to the point: “Product Management 101 – Interviewing in the age of social media and new tech”
  • I think there is enough rave about this book and almost everyone around me heard about this book, doesn’t matter if they are doing PM interviews or not. And I do think everyone whose interview entails product should read the book to get an idea of key concepts and interview question types.I decided not to repeat the good part of the book, but focus on something I feel this book left to desire and after I failed some PM interviews (Full disclosure: I don’t have official PM experience).This book does provide some frameworks for you to use to answer questions; however, it does not really present how you actually apply these in your answers, at least I didn’t see much in the example questions/answers. So I was still left in haze when I tried to structure my answer to some questions. Not to promote one book or another, but I think you will be able to form more structured thoughts by reading Lewis Lin’s Decode and Conquer. I recommend to read both so that you have a much better perspective on PM interviews.
  • Decent book, but recommended only if you are in undergrad or have close to zero experience in tech. If you are an experienced professional looking for a transition this is not the book for you.
  • I currently work as a Product Manager and I used this book to ensure that I have all the basics and framework nailed to confirm that I am doing my role to the best of my ability.I’m not actively looking for a job, but as I progressed internally in the company I work at, I’ve never had a proper Product Manager interview, so I was curious to see what one is like to be able to determine whether or not I would likely be successful or not. After all, considering I progressed internally, am I even doing the correct day to day stuff that a PM should be?So I used this book to see the kinds of questions that recruiters and companies ask during the Product Management Interview process.This book was a great insight and made me realise the following:- Product Management interviews aren’t usually just a sit down face to face. You’ll end up doing something like a whiteboard challenge to show you understand the product development lifecycle all the way from ideation to delivery.- If you want to work at most of the big tech companies, you’ll need to have some coding experience as you’ll be expected to show understanding in the interview. I am by no means an engineer, more a strategy/community based PM, so this book has opened my eyes to what I should and shouldn’t be aiming for as I progress through my Product Management career.Overall, this book is a must have whether you are looking for a new PM role or not.Ash
  • I’m twisted about this book.It generally gives a good indication of the interview process for US based companies, although it mainly focuses on Google, with a few indications on Amazon and very small bits for Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook.The general principles on the product manager role are very valid, they make you think not only how to prepare yourself for an interview but also what you should aim for in a PM role beyond the interview phase. Also, for cases like Google or Amazon if you don’t know the interview process well and the type of questions you’d be asked you won’t get far, and the book is surely useful for that. However when it comes to estimation questions or product design questions the answers provided are imho far too unrealistically precise and structured than answers from a candidate during an interview. I get they’re willing to open your mind into a way of tackling similar questions but I personally found them beyond reasonable and therefore patronising, unless you have access to Google search when interviewing at Google (which you don’t).Overall the book translates perfectly the culture at US tech giants, all they seem to care about is their own culture and whether you can adapt your past experiences and skills to their culture. No value whatsoever to your own professional experience or achievements per se which has personally put me off applying to PM roles for such firms.All in all I’d recommend the book, but don’t make it your personal bible. And be warned that everything there refers to a world where only US exists, examples, metrics, mindset, everything screams stars and stripes.
  • Read it, realised how insufficient my CV was and used its tips and guide to re write it. Got an interview of the back of that, and then got a product manager job first try. Its fantastic, and a really good insight into product management as a career path, whats required to actually be able to do it, and whats required to show you are good it. Have lent the book to other people since, as it provides fantastic preperation for job hunting in general .
  • This is a great book and definitely helped me get my PM job. Warning: the Kindle edition has some formatting errors, especially with the code.
  • This is great – not just about the interview step but how to work your cv/resume, as well as what to be focusing on in your current role whether you’re a product manager looking for a new opportunity or someone wanting to move into their first product management role. I got my first job in product management recently and feel that this really helped me along the way!
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