If you are interviewing for a development manager position, then you should be able to answer these ten questions that might get asked.
Development managers are anchors for getting development projects done. The role has a greater impact on the success of the entire development team. If you’re gunning for this role, you’ll need to be able to answer these ten questions that interviewers may ask you. If you want to know more about the development manager role, you may want to see Anatomy of a Software Development Role: Development Manager.
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Q0: What are the important aspects of agile development?
A: Iteration and customer involvement should be near the top of the candidate’s list of answers. A good candidate will be able to clearly explain what makes these aspects important as well. Agile development is important because of the psychology that it elicits from the developers working on the project.
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Q1: How do you manage defects?
A: The candidate should think about the process of handling defects: defects should be logged and captured into a system, then prioritized, and finally worked. The candidate should talk about the challenges with managing defects, including identifying their severity.
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Q2: Which defects should be prioritized?
A: When a defect has a high likelihood of being exploited, or may compromise the data integrity of the system (and the company), any suitable candidate will want to prioritize those. Those defects that are cosmetic should be given a lower priority unless they interfere with the user experience in a substantial way.
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Q3: How do you maintain alignment with your customers (internal or external)?
A: Like with most jobs, the key is communication. The form that these communications come in may vary, but the development manager shouldn’t know what the business wants more than the business does. Good development managers know that users know their business better and development managers can help them understand the technology so that they can together create the best solution.
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Q4: How do you build your development team?
A: A well-bonded team is a well-built team. The answers to this question should refer to activities that the candidate has already done. The candidate doesn’t need to be their team’s best friend, but it’s important that they’re interested in getting to know their team and creating opportunities for them to bond.
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Q5: Which is the best development language?
A: This is a bit of a trick question, but it’s not a silly one. The best language is the one that the team knows; at the end of the day, that’s the language that will get the job done. A good development manager doesn’t have room for pet languages.
Author: Lee Campbell
Q6: Which development methodology do you recommend, and why?
A: There isn’t a particular “right answer” for this question. What it’s looking for is the candidate’s ability to be able to clearly articulate their beliefs and reasoning. Key candidates should be persuasive, but also be able to form a logical argument. If the candidate can convince the interviewer of their point of view, they might just be able to convince a development team to follow suit.
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Q7: What sort of metrics do you consider essential for managing your team?
A: The answer will vary but it should include the backlog of work, the number of defects, and some measure of developer effectiveness, such as functions created, or perhaps lines of code. The point is that the development manager is able to articulate what metrics they look for. These metrics give clues to the priorities that the development manager will have for your development team.
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Author: Highways England
Q8: How do you provide skills training for your developers?
A: The obvious (but not necessarily bad) answer is face-to-face training and mentoring. However, a good candidate will know to include online tools, such as video sites like Pluralsight.com, or free alternatives like channel9.msdn.com. They’ll be looking for ways to train their developers even when there aren’t big budgets.
Q9: What expectations do you have for developers in terms of work hours?
A: Some development managers expect 60-hour weeks from developers—and some expect them to be in at 8:00 and out at 5:00. A candidate who meshes well with the culture and expectations of the organization is critical. Startups require one set of expectations and government organizations require a different kind of thinking entirely.
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