Tell me about a time you had to seek buy-in from multiple stakeholders in a program that you were TPMing, and how did you go about doing it?
As a TPM, I am expected to partner and align with cross-functional functions like engineering, product, operations, finance, legal, and many more. One such example is when a new feature request comes from a Product team during the quarter as a change request and Engineering resources are in conflict.
Keeping program milestones and delivery in mind, I own and drive various perspectives from these functions on the request and consolidate them into a single view with an impact on the current program scope, schedule, and cost, so everyone’s opinion is well represented.
Then, I drive the discussions on pros and cons with the mission of team engagement of each option, keeping program goals, capacity, or resource allocation in mind, for decision-making and trade-offs.
Next, I communicate the final decision through proper channels to all stakeholders for transparency.
Finally, I make changes to the scope, schedule, and cost as applicable to the program for further execution and tracking.
Following is the key plan for stakeholder management for a TPM during a program execution:
Stakeholder Identification: This part of the process helps at the ideation of the program. There are many frameworks to address this, such as RACI, DACI, and RAPID. The goal is to identify the key stakeholders early in the program, along with their roles and responsibilities during the entire program execution phase.
Stakeholder Engagement: Here, a TPM defines the process for stakeholder engagement. Many methods and principles are available for this — adopt one that fits your team culture.
Stakeholder Influence: This is an important step to foster collaboration among the stakeholders of different functions and ensure their viewpoint is heard empathetically. The decision-making should be data-driven to achieve a shared common mission.
Stakeholder Communication: Here, the emphasis is on keeping all stakeholders and leadership aligned and informed during the course of the program to avoid any confusion or slippage in the timelines.
Here’s another popular problem you can practice:
Plan and drive a $$B project with a large group of various functions within the company and solve the challenges along the way in an empathetic manner.
Stakeholder management is a crucial skill for a TPM. Fumbling or missing key considerations when answering questions related to stakeholder management can cost you the interview. To learn how to systematically tackle such questions, join Interview Kickstart’s TPM Interview Course. Designed by FAANG+ TPMs, it covers everything you need to know to crack your next tech interview.
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