Adobe Interview Question: If you have a disagreement wi... |

Interview Question

Product Manager Interview Lehi, UT (US)

If you have a disagreement with an engineer about what

  should be built how do you go about solving that?

Interview Answer

3 Answers


It's about flexibility. If there is a disagreement, there must be a reason: it could be a difference in the way the PM and the engineer prioritize the same concerns. May be each of them could have different concerns. The main goal should be to arrive at a common ground, something that solves the top concerns for each person.

Riya Gayasen on 11-Oct-2018

I think it is important to understand not only the technicalities but the other soft aspects of the conversation as well. I agree with Riya Gayasen's answer here that we must identify the reason behind the disagreement and the reasons could be multiple such as different priorities, no clear picture of the needs/wants/expectations of the user, no logical argument with facts and figures etc. The other aspect which is important but oft ignored is the soft skills aspect. It might also be that the engineer doubts the competence of the Product Manager, the tone used by the Product Manager is such that the engineer feels disrespected and shuts off his thinking for any positive argument made, Product Manager appears pushy or "my way or the high way" guy etc. So, although the technicalities are extremely important and are most likely the case in mature companies, the soft aspects also need to be considered.

How do you go about solving it is? Listen and do not respond. Dont just hear what is said. Observe the body language, words chosen, tone used. If it is apart from the normal conversational tone, then there are behavioral aspects involved which require Conflict Management and Influencing Skills. If it is a normal day-to-day conversation, again listen. You might have missed telling some facts and figures. Or the engineer must have misinterpreted. Or as Riya says, both must have different KPIs to meet. Engineer has to show how many bugs has he resolved in a given week but my priority is to release a particular feature before the end of the week. Mutually decide what is the priority. If there is no agreement, discuss it with the responsibles (your manager, his manager), sit together in a room, spread out all the facts, both of you state your opinion. Hear their opinions. Mutually decide what is important from the customer and business point of view. Also ensure that next time there is a process of resolving disagreements. You do not want to go in a meeting room for every small disagreement and waste time when it could have been utilized in a much better fashion.

So, in short, consider technicalities as well as soft aspects. Listen. Lay down the facts. Mutually agree, resolve any conflicts. If priorities are different, bring different opinions to the table and decide the next steps in a collaborative fashion.

Good luck,
Nilesh Dalvi

Nilesh Dalvi on 20-Jun-2019

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