PM interview question: Tell me a time you had a conflict with your developers

How a PM can manage it

Ram Pulipati

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As a PM or a TPM — product manager (technical), what conflicts would you face before you can even jump in and manage developers.

(in this whole blog, you = a product manager or a TPM)

List of conflicts

  • developers want to develop something that is not relevant to the release
  • developers say how users behave
  • developers dont want to participate in roadmap
  • developers may not want you to know the finer implementation details
  • developers are humans too — they react to what you say
  • developers would promise a deadline, and if that gets extended
  • developers dont understand the scope that was explained in refinement/grooming and they say that in the middle of sprint

Conflict description and resolution

developers want to develop something that is not relevant to the release

Sometimes developers would have added a feature, as a side project or as part of old product vision, but to release the product now, there might be some tech debt that could be accrued without which the product would not be possible to release. the security teams would not want a release without addressing a certain issue, or the test leads would want a 0-bug product or some or the other issue would crop up that may seem less relevant to the product team.

even though this is not a critical feature to the release , this could be a hurdle to the release as it may further push the deadlines.

how do you face this as a PM ? -> it’s always better to add buffers to the deadlines in the roadmap, this way issues like these would get mitigated to an extent. if we can find out if there are any workarounds instead of doing a big fix, that would also be a great help.

developers say how users behave

As a PM you would expect that you know more about users and their behaviors. But sometimes developers will also talk about users. Developers will also say that users may not like this feature, users may like it this way etc. sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re not. So as a PM sometimes you may find it challenging to sell your ideas/features…

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Ram Pulipati

10yrs exp as a PM, Dev and Co-founder. Studied, lived & worked in US, Canada & India. Want a FREE PM resume consultation? -> www.linkedin.com/in/janakiramvit.