August 02, 2020 / Blog

Answering a Product Improvement Question

Product improvement questions are among the most intimidating questions you will be asked during a product management interview. The sheer amount of information to be included in your answer can make it seem impossible. But have no fear- this article will break the process of answering a product improvement question into simple, manageable steps.

Describe the Product

Start with a brief summary of the product. Your description should answer the following questions: What is the product? Who uses it? How do they use it? Why is it used? What is it used for? This rundown of the product shows that you can analyze products, and will help you get your thoughts in order for the following steps.

You shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds or a minute, but it is important to clarify the current product and the audience it caters to.

Choose a Goal for Improvement

This step is pretty simple; you’re just choosing the result you want. This could range from more new users to higher revenue to better user engagement. If possible, you should choose an area that’s genuinely a problem for the product you are improving. In addition, interviewers sometimes already have an improvement goal in mind, so you should ask if they want you to design an improvement in a specific area.

Pick a Specific User Group

This step begins with concisely outlining the different user groups, making sure to mention what sets them apart from each other. The things that differentiate user groups could include reasons why they use the product, differences in how they use the product, and so on. After listing the user groups, choose one to focus on with your improvement. Don’t forget to explain why you chose the group you did.

List Pain Points

For this step, you should brainstorm five or so places where the user’s experience could be improved and give a short explanation of each one. Feel free to ask the interviewer for a minute to think- it can be difficult to locate pain points without using a product yourself. To find these problems in their experience, try to visualize using the product yourself. Imagine the whole process of using the product, from start to finish, and take note of pain points and user cases. Don’t include solutions yet! 

Create solutions

This is fairly straightforward. Just create solutions that address the paint points and user cases discussed in the previous step. Again, feel free to ask for a minute to think. This step is your best opportunity to showcase creative thinking, by coming up with original, innovative solutions. If you are particularly knowledgeable about any new technologies, you should try to include them in at least one of your solutions; this shows the interviewer that you are well informed and up to date with current technological progress. There are really only two limitations on possible solutions- they must actually solve the issues you previously mentioned, and they must be implementable. Your solutions don’t have to be easy to implement, but they do have to be possible.

Evaluate Your Solutions

Assess your solutions based on criteria such as frequency of use, implementation costs, impact on business, value to the users, and any other criteria you find necessary. For this step, you may want to use a table or other type of graphic organizer. It’s very important that you evaluate without bias. It’s possible that not all of your solutions will be practical; if so, it’s better to acknowledge that now instead of defending an unusable solution.

It’s also important to outline key risks associated with your answer. Showing that you can think of these will help you stand out.

Summarize

As always, you should finish up with a short summary of all the previous information. Highlight the goal of improvement and how you could measure it, then briefly list user groups. You may want to go slightly more in depth with the user group you chose to focus on. Discuss both the pain points and the improvements you are proposing to solve them, and finish by asserting the impact your improvements would have on the products.

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