Day 4: Prioritization


Tell me about a time when your team had multiple projects under development and you realized the team may miss a serious deadline. What was the situation, and how did you resolve it?


Prioritization depends on n number of factors, and therefore, there can’t be an “ideal” solution. 

However, there are some key principles you can deploy when answering such questions. Ensure that the example you pick from your experience showcases these principles. 

A. Prioritization Guidelines:

1. Balance short term and long term 

This way, you can ship immediate customer value, but still have systems that are executable in the long term.

2. Scalable solutions are better than one-off solutions

Scalable solutions can be easily expanded, resued, and upgraded on demand.

3. Automated solutions are better than manual solutions

More efficient, timely, accurate, and consistent.

4. Must-have more important than nice-to-have

Always separately track required features and wish lists.

5. Function more important than interface

This is not to say that usability issues are not important. Rather, functional issues should take a higher priority.

6. Long-pole project takes priority over parallelizable project

A long-pole project can only be done serially, while a parallelizable project can be divided among multiple team members and conducted simultaneously.

7. Escalate when needed

After trying all prior steps, if the priority issue is still not resolved, ask leadership for help.

B. Good TPMs Should Be Able To:

1. Analyze business impact and urgency

These 2 factors are the most important, but they are sometimes independent.

2. Explore all options, including time, efforts, and resources needed

There are always different paths to accomplish the same goal. Detailed analysis will tell which is the best.

3. List out the pros and cons of each option

There are always trade-offs. A good TPM should consider all possibilities.

4. Make strong judgment and act quickly

Dealing with ambiguity is critical, so a good TPM should be comfortable making decisions and pushing the team forward.

C. Red Flags:

  • Procrastinating without proper analysis
  • Not enough communication
  • Too much micromanagement

Here are other popular problems you can practice:

  1. How do you organize your work when you have to take on multiple projects/clients at the same time?
  2. Tell me about a time you missed a deadline.
  3. Describe a situation where you made an important business decision to help your team move forward. What was the situation and how did it turn out?

When answering questions related to prioritization, you have to justify each decision with relevant reasoning and data. Join Interview Kickstart’s TPM Interview Course to learn how to effectively navigate different types of TPM interview questions. Attend the webinar for more information.

Register for Free Webinar
Talk to a Program Advisor
Need more help with this topic? Write to

Similar - Problem Sets

Risk Management-4
Risk Management-3
Risk Management-2
Risk Management

Career impact

Our alums land high-paying and rewarding offers from the biggest tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and Netflix.

Amol Kanitkar

Senior Engineering Manager
Placed at:
meta blue
After a few unsuccessful attempts, at a couple of FAANG companies, I realized that I needed some help in building a structured approach towards preparing for interviews, specifically for the technical rounds. Overall, I would recommend this course for anyone who is serious about preparing for technical interviews.

Abhishek Gupta

Technical Program Manager
Placed at:
meta blue
This course is very helpful for anyone who is looking for deep technical knowledge for System Design interviews. The Instructors are very knowledgeable and covered all Technical topics in detail.

Rahul Cherekar

Senior Technical Program Manager
Placed at:
meta blue
The curriculum is planned very well and covers all the basics of programming, algorithms, and system design. Omkar's foundational videos are especially world-class and provide a good foundation before the live problem-solving sessions. Also, technical and career coaching are available during the support period, which is a good value-add. Overall, very satisfied with the program and the learning.

Meet your instructors

Our highly experienced instructors are active hiring managers and employees at FAANG+ companies and know exactly what it takes to ace tech and managerial interviews.

Danielle Class

Senior Technical Program Manager
15+ years experience
FAANG Company

Kyle Hicks

Technical Product Manager
9+ years experience
FAANG Company

Yura Kostiukevych

Technical Product Manager
15+ years experience
FAANG Company