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20 Product Owner Interview Questions

In product management, the Scrum team is critical to a product’s success. The product owner, out of all the team members, is the most important. As a result, hiring the best person for the job is critical. You’ll need to be familiar with some of the most popular product owner interview questions and responses to do so.

Product owners are frequently the first persons hired to work on a project. Their work begins before that of the product manager or development team.

In this article, we’ll look at what a product owner works for a firm and what the most typical product owner interview questions are.

If you’re an aspiring product owner, you may use this page to prepare for a forthcoming interview by using these frequent product owner interview questions.

If you want to review these questions, continue reading.

Table of contents

20 Product Owner Interview Questions

A product owner interview should be approached from a variety of angles. Acceptance criteria should consider the candidate’s decision-making ability, prioritization skills, technical experience, and other factors.

A great product owner has a lot of business value because they are in charge of various deliverables that go into making successful products.

The product’s value is determined by how successfully the product life cycle is designed and executed. And the success of the product owner’s vision and roadmap depends on how well they are designed.

As a result, it’s critical to ask the product owner interview questions. If you’re not pleased, conduct additional interviews, but make the best decision possible.

Here are some of the most popular and crucial questions for potential product owners.

1. What do you want to gain from your new position as a product owner?

The inquiry is an icebreaker that allows the candidate to give an outline of their experience. It would reveal how well-prepared the candidate is for the interview and their level of expertise in their profession.

Each response to this question will be unique depending on the industry, company, and products. There are certain commonalities to search for.

Sprint planning, sprint retrospective, grooming, and sprint review are keywords to look for. You can be confident that the candidate has the knowledge and experience if they cite these actions.

2. Do you believe having one individual handle both the Scrum Product Owner and Scrum Master roles is a good idea?

Determining how well the candidate comprehends the complete product development process is critical.

This question is the most effective technique to determine how well a candidate comprehends their function compared to other roles.

The answer should be “no” unless the candidate has an interesting reason. Scrum masters and product owners have distinct duties, and combining them will always wreak havoc on the development process.

Between the product owner and the development team, the Scrum Master serves as a liaison. As a result, if the same person serves both jobs, there will be a conflict of interest.

3. Have you worked with a Scrum framework before?

A fundamental comprehension of the Scrum framework is required of every product owner. The candidate’s response to this question will show how well they comprehend the framework.

Their understanding of the framework can be a benchmark for what to expect from the product owner.

Every product owner will have a different answer, but a few things should be consistent.

Scrum, for example, is a method of promptly providing incremental value to the end user. This statement should be the focus of the response.

To become a master at Scrum, start with some of the Top Scrum Master Certifications in 2023

4. Have you worked with any other product discovery frameworks?

Although Scrum is the most popular Agile software development methodology, it is not the paradigm for every case.

If the potential product owner has worked with Kanban or Waterfall, for example, this will aid them in determining the optimal strategy for each situation. Consider completing our Product Owner Certification Course to understand more about these frameworks.

5. During the product discovery process, how much time do you devote to analyzing client needs and conducting user research?

A fundamental understanding of the product discovery phase is crucial, but it’s even more important to learn about the product owner’s methodology. Their method of operation and justifications reveal how well they comprehend the complete procedure.

The answer to the question will vary depending on the firm or product. When someone says they devote 50% of their time to user research, that’s usually a good sign.

However, if they claim to spend 20% or less of their time on it, they are not doing enough. They may be ignoring feedback from customers and market conditions.

6. Do you have prior Scrum Team experience?

A product owner must be able to discern between the many roles and teams involved in developing a product. Most product owners, but not all, have worked in a Scrum product team.

The product owner, Scrum Master, and developers make up most Scrum teams. They collaborate on sprint goals, product specifications, and user stories. Coding, developing, and testing are all part of the development team’s responsibilities.

7. How do you convey your industry expertise to the Scrum team?

The product owner has the market knowledge to establish a product vision, but the rest of the team does not.

The product owner delivers relevant market knowledge to the Scrum team. The answer to this question determines the candidate’s ability to communicate that information effectively.

Market information has traditionally been passed down through informal exchanges. However, planning meetings and conducting formal talks, such as standup, is a wonderful approach to informing the Scrum team about current market trends.

8. Is it possible for a Product Owner and Scrum Master to be the same person?

No. The roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master are distinct, and combining them might have a negative impact on the development process. Both roles cause complete dedication. One guy will not be able to fulfill all of his tasks fully.

When the development team and PO’s aims diverge, the Scrum Master may need to act as a mediator. There will be a conflict of interest if the same person acts in both roles.

9. How do you prioritize the items on your Product Backlog?

MoSCoW – Mo (Must be), S(Should be), Co(Could be), W(Won’t be) – is a common response. A good and seasoned PO, on the other hand, will discuss various strategies, such as:

10. Is it possible for a product owner to cancel a Sprint?

Canceling a Sprint should be done with caution because it may break teamwork. For example, if Product Owner A cancels this week’s Sprint and reschedules it for next Tuesday, Product Owner B and C must make their own adjustments (e.g., move tasks or change priorities).

11. Is it necessary for POs to keep track of a project’s progress?

Product owners should monitor a project’s progress and make adjustments to ensure it is on track to meet its goals. For example, product owner A may change the target completion date for story X if it appears not completed by July 20th.

12. What is the DoR (Definition of Ready)?

The Definition of Done and Definition of Ready are two states that go hand in hand. Before moving on to the following steps, such as testing or production release, product owners should consider what needs to happen.

13. Can you give me a definition of Sprint as a product owner?

Sprint is a technique used by product owners to help teams arrange their work to accomplish user stories more quickly. For example, a team might work on a narrative for a week before moving it to test or production.

14. What is your relationship with stakeholders as a product owner?

Any group or individual with a substantial interest in the product is called a stakeholder. Product owners usually collaborate actively with stakeholders, receiving comments and updating them on the project’s development.

Stakeholders might be internal (management) or external (customers) (e.g., customers). Building trust with stakeholders over time by delivering consistent updates on work status and requesting regular feedback from those engaged is the greatest way for product owners to create relationships with them.

15. When redesigning a product, what factors do you consider?

It is your responsibility as a product owner to consider the end user’s needs. You should think about their problems and how they currently use the product to see if it needs to be updated or changed to be more effective for them.

16. Why is having a product vision crucial for a product owner?

A product vision is a clear picture of where the product needs to go. It may or may not be in line with the company’s objectives, but every excellent product owner knows what they want their ultimate result to be.

17. What should you do if a stakeholder refuses to cooperate?

As a product owner, you must be as accommodating and flexible with stakeholders as workable.

They may require more time or refuse to accept improvements that would improve their end-user experience. Still, if the stakeholder refuses to accept changes that would improve their end-user experience, there are other options.

First, try contacting them to find out why they are reluctant to change and see if you can agree on lesser issues so that development may continue.

If this doesn’t work out, seek help from someone at another company or department inside your organization who has similar stakes to you.

18. What does “functioning software” mean to you?

Working software refers to any product or feature that customers actively use, even if it’s still in development or hasn’t been publicly launched.”

Sometimes, before releasing something into production, teams want to produce an MVP to get feedback and improve on what they’ve already created. Working software refers only to the Minimum Viable Product in this scenario.

19. Is it necessary to have an agile mindset as a product owner?

A product owner does require an agile mindset. Product owners need to switch between thinking in terms of features and problems. Features can introduce recent issues, so a product owner must have an agile attitude.

20. What is a Product Roadmap, and how does it work?

A product roadmap is a high-level visual overview that lays out the vision and gives product development strategy and plans.

Several short and long-term organizational objectives drive it, and it explains how and when the product will help them be met. It also lowers future uncertainty and keeps teams focused on the most important product projects.

21. How would you describe the sprint planning meeting?

A sprint planning meeting gathers all scrum roles to discuss the team’s top priorities and product backlog items. It’s a meeting when the team members and the tasks to be done during a sprint are sketched.

What is a Product Roadmap, and how does it work?

A product roadmap is a high-level visual overview that lays out the vision and gives product development strategy and plans.

It’s driven by many short and long-term organizational objectives, and it explains how and when the product will help them be met. It also lowers future uncertainty and keeps product teams focused on the most important product projects.

Why is it necessary for a Scrum team to have a product owner?

Every Scrum team must have a clear vision for their product. The product owner is to develop a strategy, define features, and ensure that they create backlog items.

Also, the product owner prioritized the backlog for non-Scrum team members. The product owner handles these roles in the Scrum framework.

When a Scrum team lacks a product owner, it opens the door to erroneous priorities, such as following directives from stakeholders who don’t always share the Scrum team’s viewpoint.

The team will not follow the principles and workflow for product development without a product owner. This can cause a lot of complications.

The relationship between a product owner and the Scrum team

Weekly, if not daily, a product owner engages with the Scrum team. The product owner might attend the daily Scrum to learn about progress and issues directly. 

Most importantly, the product owner meets with the Scrum team around once a week to work on refinement and assist in preparing items for the next Scrum. 

The sprint review, in which the product owner summarizes the status of completed sprints to business stakeholders, is another key meeting for the product owner.

Many firms’ product owners are in charge of many projects, which implies they collaborate with multiple teams. Many firms’ product owners are in charge of many projects, which implies they collaborate with multiple teams.

It’s critical that the product owner carefully balances their time and attendance; they can’t be present at every meeting or engage in every aspect of each group’s development process. 

Stakeholders, end-users, and Scrum teams are just a few of the entities that product owners must consider. When a product owner cannot attend a meeting, they can use the Scrum framework to assign these tasks to others.