Product Owner Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Product Owner interview, here are 65 interview questions and answer examples.

Product Owner was updated by on May 17th, 2023. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 65

Why do you want a career as a product owner?

"Over the last eight years of my career, I've played an integral role as part of a development team on a Scrum team with my current organization. In this work, I've done the groundwork in Scrum sprints and have always been proactive in mapping out goals and achieving them. In recent years, I've been more involved in overall goal setting and have received many accolades for my work here. My current Scrum Master on my team has witnessed this excellent vision and was actually the person to mentor me for a future role as a product owner. I feel it is a great move for me to put my managerial and visionary skills to work."

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65 Product Owner Interview Questions & Answers

Below is a list of our Product Owner interview questions. Click on any interview question to view our answer advice and answer examples. You may view 15 answer examples before our paywall loads. Afterwards, you'll be asked to upgrade to view the rest of our answers.

Great product owners know how to balance analytical and creative thinking. They carry the business knowledge and acumen necessary to make sound decisions on behalf of their clients, teams, and company. They understand what drives value and know how to break down large bodies of scope into incremental development plans. They also possess the leadership and communication skills necessary to influence others.

If that sounds like you, this product owner Q&A set will help you to properly frame your experience in the best light possible and set the stage for a successful interview. If you feel you are lacking in any of the areas described above, this set of questions, answers, and advice will help you to identify gaps you may want to address prior to your interview.

The questions in this guide focus mainly on three key areas integral to success as a product owner:

Companies seek product owners that understand the line of business they will be working to improve and/or the market their products will serve. They seek product owners that understand the product development process and how to prioritize the work involved in alignment with a value stream. Additionally, they seek product owners that are knowledgeable about the methodology and systems used to develop products (i.e. Scrum, Kanban, Jira, Monday, Wrike).

Companies want to hire product owners that can effectively serve to bridge the worlds of their clients with product development teams. This requires the ability to author user stories that are clear in scope and purpose. This requires the ability to develop and communicate priority effectively. This also requires the empathy and intuition necessary to integrate ideas from multiple sources and resolve conflicts.

Companies want to hire product owners that are both servant and influential. They seek candidates that know how to balance the needs of their teams with the needs of their clients. They want to hire collaborators who are passionate about developing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.

Regardless of where your skills land on the spectrum of product owner experience and knowledge, you can improve your chances of a successful interview by focusing your preparation on the three key areas described above. This guide will step you through helpful examples of how to confidently speak about your experience, skills, and talents in a way that will boost your chances of being offered your next product owner role.

  • 1. Why do you want a career as a product owner?

  • 2. Why should we hire you?

  • 3. Describe a time you helped your stakeholders or business partner understand a technical need.

  • 4. How do you know when you have experienced success as a product owner?

  • 5. What types of behavioral patterns can a product owner display that add value to their Scrum projects?

  • 6. How do you facilitate the story estimation process?

  • 7. What are your weaknesses?

  • 8. What are some of the things you do when you encounter difficult stakeholders?

  • 9. What experience do you have presenting information to senior management and/or executives?

  • 10. What are the main communication responsibilities of a product owner?

  • 11. How do you communicate business need to the development team?

  • 12. What is the difference between a sprint backlog and a product backlog?

  • 13. What is your method for gathering business knowledge in areas where you are not a subject matter expert?

  • 14. What are the basic components of a product roadmap?

  • 15. What metrics or KPIs do you feel are important for a product owner to track?

  • 16. What is user story mapping, and what value does it create for the business clients of a project?

  • 17. Imagine that you are a product owner for an eCommerce website. Can you give me an example backlog item for a shopping cart?

  • 18. What are the components of a good user story?

  • 19. What are the main responsibilities of the product owner role on a Scrum team?

  • 20. What are some of the considerations that need to be made when prioritizing user stories within the product backlog?

  • 21. What are the characteristics of a well-developed backlog item?

  • 22. What are the artifacts of Scrum?

  • 23. What is release planning, and what is the role of the product owner during this meeting?

  • 24. What is a minimally viable product?

  • 25. Describe the role of the product owner during a sprint planning meeting.

  • 26. What is a persona, and how is it used in agile development?

  • 27. How do you feel you can add value to the QA testing process as a product owner?

  • 28. What are some examples of product backlog items you might not author yourself as a product owner?

  • 29. What is the difference between a product manager and a product owner?

  • 30. We hire product owners with IT backgrounds that serve as a proxy for the business they will be developing products for. How will you ensure that you have the knowledge needed to develop an effective product backlog?

  • 31. Imagine you are holding a product backlog refinement meeting. What is your role, and what is the outcome?

  • 32. What is a sprint?

  • 33. What is the optimal length for a sprint in your opinion?

  • 34. What is the definition of 'ready' and how does it compare to the definition of 'done'?

  • 35. What is the difference between a user story and a product backlog item?

  • 36. How do you know when a user story is ready for test?

  • 37. What are acceptance criteria, and why are they important?

  • 38. Can you provide an example of a quality user story?

  • 39. Describe a time you experienced conflict while advocating for your client during a Scrum project.

  • 40. How would you rate your ability to respond to team-level conflict?

  • 41. Describe a time you experienced a conflict with an engineer on a team you worked on.

  • 42. How do you determine if an idea is a worthwhile investment?

  • 43. What aspects of your professional background set you up for success as a product owner?

  • 44. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far in your career?

  • 45. Tell me about yourself.

  • 46. Are you a certified product owner?

  • 47. What certifications or education do you have that are relevant to the product owner role?

  • 48. What development methodologies do you have experience with?

  • 49. What strategic planning facilitation techniques do you have experience with?

  • 50. What is a user persona, and have you ever used them in your work as a product owner?

  • 51. What software or tools do you have experience using to facilitate the Scrum process?

  • 52. What phases of product development do you have experience working within?

  • 53. What experience do you have working with vendors for technology solutions?

  • 54. What is your experience in software delivery and client training?

  • 55. Describe your level of expertise within the XYZ industry.

  • 56. Describe the projects where you served as a product owner.

  • 57. What is your experience with user interaction design techniques?

  • 58. What kind of leadership experience do you have?

  • 59. What are some methods of addressing user stories that are deemed to be too large by the development team?

  • 60. What common challenges have you faced as a product owner?

  • 61. Can you discuss a situation in which you had to direct a project stakeholder toward a different course of action than the one they had originally planned to pursue?

  • 62. Imagine you are working with your team to develop a search results page and the engineers have several potential candidates for the backend search technology. How would you represent the work necessary to decide which is best within your product backlog?

  • 63. Imagine that a stakeholder refuses to accept a release you demo. What next steps do you take as a product owner?

  • 64. What is the role of Scrum Master, and how do you interact with this role as a product owner?

  • 65. What is your best teamwork-related skill?

  • Questions to Ask During A Product Owner Interview:

    One of the strategies you can use to separate yourself from other candidates in an interview is asking thought-provoking questions of your own. Classic questions like 'Can you describe the company culture?' can help to fill the requirement of asking at least one question of your interviewer, but they aren't likely to leave a lasting impression.

    It is better to ask a detailed question based on something specifically discussed during your interview. At MockQuestions, we know it can be difficult to come up with intriguing questions on demand. Here are three examples of three quality questions likely to help you stand out in a crowd.

    1. What are the themes of the top priority features the team will be working on within the next few months?

    This question demonstrates that you know just how critical it is for a product owner to understand the priority of the work represented within the backlog. Depending on the response, this question can serve as an opportunity to discuss how you have successfully managed similar bodies of work in the past. Interviewers value product managers that are prepared to hit the ground running. Candidates with experience in alignment with their team's most pressing needs are more likely to receive an offer.

    2. What challenges has the team faced previously regarding backlog item development?

    Scrum teams and teams that follow similar methodologies rely on their product owners to represent often complicated bodies of work as user stories or backlog items. Nailing the right level of detail regarding the scope, priority, value, and validation criteria is as much an art as it is a science. Product owner candidates who ask this question show that they know the importance of authoring an impactful backlog and desire to help improve upon any issues raised in the interviewer's response.

    3. How are authority, leadership, and accountability shared within the team(s) I would be working with?

    While product development methodologies are specific about roles and responsibilities in many cases, many teams adopt models that are unique to the members of the team, HR reporting structures, and the needs of the client. It is important to know how your interviewer views these critical aspects of the product development process as their response will help you determine if your values and experience are in alignment with their needs.

    About the Author

    In the early 2000s the cross-functional application development teams I was a part of began the transition from waterfall to agile. This was tricky for several reasons, but one of the biggest hurdles involved figuring out how our traditional roles of analyst, project manager, engineer, tester, and customer translated to the scrum-based model.

    While I would like to tell you making the move to scrum was an easy and seamless adventure, it wasn't. I was working with a talented group and many of them were subject matter experts with well-developed leadership skills. Our thoughts about accountability and authority did not align with the Agile Manifesto and we had to rethink our entire approach.

    Honestly, I hated working in the product owner role at first. I felt like a great deal of my authority to specify how features should work was usurped. My teams and I were spinning on conversations about stories written on notecards that I could have avoided altogether with a well-delivered set of requirements. I had to ask my clients to completely shift the way we worked together and ask them to trust in my ability to ensure they would get all of the features they needed without them signing off on anything. Do not get me started on the pain that was learning how to estimate user stories as a team...

    Over time, things got better and I learned to appreciate the power of scrum. I no longer authored 300-page requirement documents or change requests. I had the opportunity to deliver and test functionality in a controlled setting while embracing changes that added value. Ultimately, the experience I gained as a product owner, scrum master, and leader of agile projects represents a cherished and invaluable time in my professional journey.

    I genuinely appreciate the work of talented product owners, and I enjoy partnering with them in my current role as a career coach. I hope this Q&A set assists you in proving your worth to your prospective employer, and I encourage you to check out several of our other helpful sets written by experts using the links below.

    Learn more about Karrie Day