A bunch of my friends and readers have asked me about "the" interviews for a program management position at Microsoft. Having being involved in several program management interviews, I'll try to write about the preparation that I would recommend for anyone applying for a PM position at Microsoft.
1. Do you really want to become a PM?Before asking this question to yourself, find out the details about the role of a program manager. Then write down the reasons as to why do you want to become a program manager. If there is interest, I can write about this topic in detail in future posts.
2. Design, design, design:A majority of program management positions at Microsoft require you to design the "features" of the product. Please don't confuse the word "design" with graphic or visual design. Read it as product design or software design to be more specific.
I would recommend reading the following books to start with:1. Design of everyday things by Donald Norman2. About Face 2.0 by Alan Cooper and Robert Reimann3. The inmates are running the asylum by Alan Cooper4. Don't make me think! by Steve Krug5. The Art of Innovation by Tom KellyI can write more on this topic, if there is interest.
3. Project Management:The main goal of a program manager is to ship the right product at the right time. This involves all aspects of project management, including dealing with ambiguity, developers, testers, marketers, customers and managers. Be prepared to come up with specific real-life scenarios when you've demonstrated strong project management abilities. That is the only way to demonstrate your skills in this area.