PM Interview Series #2 Case study: Should you have a date for your roadmap?


Imagine if I would get word from one of the dev teams, that the expected release date will not be reached. Describe your next steps and the outline the communication you would plan.

Before answering this question, there is one question to think. Should you have a date for product roadmap?

Let us discuss the pros and cons when you have the date on the roadmap

Pros: The team can understand better if they really fail the release date, then you can improve to work towards being on time. Besides, it is also easier to manage stakeholders’ expectations.

Cons: To develop a product with features it is not easy and takes a great amount of work from the whole team in order to deliver, it causes pressures to the team and product managers, and then the team will be demotivated. Furthermore, It can also happen that the team tries to reach the date, and pay less attention to the detail, as a result of numerous bugs and a significant amount of quality assurance problems later on.

Therefore, choose to have a roadmap with an internal and external roadmap, internal is for the team, and external is for stakeholders or customers. Internal could state some dates or narrow time frame, and external ones will not reveal that or have a relatively wider timeframe.

Get back to the case study, if it, unfortunately, happened in my team, what would I do to? I would look for some solution to improve the situation.

First of all, re-define our product or feature scope, is it realistic? How to re-evaluate if it was realistic? Take four important factors into consideration, date(or timeframe), goal, budget, and quality. Let us take an example and how to formulate the questions around these four factors.

  • Should we stick to the goal and increase the budget and delay the release date?
  • Should we re-define a new “less ambitious goal” and adjust the date?

One of the factors should be always adjustable. Here, the goal is the one that you are able to re-adjust in order to meet the date.

Looks interesting. Now I’d like to sign up the e-book: How to nail product manager interview?

As for this case study, I suggest to not give out the exact date for an external roadmap, but rather wider timeframe. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong to set up the date. That is why it makes product management job so fascinating because you have no simple answer, it really depends on the situation and the company.


Product Management Interview Series #1: How to build a product roadmap?

Product Management Interview Series #1 Product Roadmap

Why did I start this series: I am switching my career to focus on being a product manager. I have gone through quite an amount of product manager interviews recently. After several rejections, I decided to document my learning from those interviews.

What: There are numerous articles out there talk about all the potential interview questions of product management. However, there are not many articles talked about real interview questions and answers. Therefore, some bite-sized articles of Q&A would provide tremendous help.

For whom: For PM job seekers as well as people who consider becoming PM after school or you just simply want to know more about product management.

How to build a product roadmap?

To build a product roadmap, there are several ways, the one method that I recently learned and loved is a goal-oriented roadmap a.k.a Go Roadmap introduced by Roman Pichler.

To simply explained, this type of roadmap is focused on the goals and define the goals first and in order to set up the goal, you ask relevant questions like why do we need this? What are the benefits and purpose? Give some example, a 1st quarter could be an acquisition for the app and 2nd quarter can turn to activation. Furthermore, you decide which feature will help you achieve your goal and what are the exact metrics to measure your product success? (Metric is important, you need outcome not just output!)

Why is it an ideal way of a building product roadmap? (Tip: PM interviewer always want to know why, why, why? Even they do not ask, you should always provide the reason “why”)

I am a big advocator of Lean, probably because of my entrepreneur background. I believe that setting up the goal first to develop product and feature would help to decrease unnecessarily work such as debating features, to help other stakeholders to understand better and agree on strategic objectives, and making smart investment decisions and allocate the team resources.

If you want to learn more. Sign up to our e-book “How to nail product management interview”?