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Senior Technical Program Manager Interview



A vaguest ion that was asked in a very general way, but which the interviewer clearly had specific answers he was looking for: "what are four components that are included in every specification doc". That sounded a lot like a thing you would find at Microsoft and similar large companies where process is more strictly defined. I answered poorly, I think, perhaps because I haven't worked with that kind of spec in a very long time, and not on any projects that worked out well. Smaller orgs/programs/projects (startups and incubators, for example, where the outcome is always in flux, as I am accustomed to working with) can have poor specs, specs that are centered on marketing, planning documents that are made up of wireframes and time-based stage gates. In any case, I choked a bit, and the interview kind of skated around and became more specific as we went along. I don't think that is inappropriate, though, because Amazon does value and expect the ability to deal with ambiguity.

Tags:technical, analytical, business case

Interview Answers

4 Answers


"what are four components that are included in every specification doc" This question is insane, and I would hate getting an interviewer that asks such a question. Correct answer can be: "1. Title, 2. Author, 3. Requirements, 4. Version". If the title "requirements doc" is not there, maybe it is not a requirement doc. Specific sections are:

NA on


The toughest interviewer with the "4 components" question was a dev, in fact. The TPM screen was not so academic, more about challenges and solutions, philosophy, team fit, familiarity with the specific technology and business. That was definitely the screen that didn't go well, although he was wicked smart and wasn't just trying to mess with the candidate or anything.

John Doe on


What do you mean of Sepc ? If you mean a document which will be used for developing a feature of software i.e Use case sepc, user story, backlog item, It should contain at least following components : 1- Who is Actor / Role 2- What action will actor/role will take ? 3- Goal. Why actor do that ? what the software will provide for user. You may add acceptance criteria to the above list.

HassanM on


Description of the current state, problems in the current state, Description of proposed state, advantages of proposed state.

AO on

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