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Engineering life at Productboard: The interview process and how to prep

Defining requirements when looking for work

  • I didn’t want to work in a digital agency.
    Agencies and outsourcing companies generally don’t sit well with me on principle. For me, the feeling of ownership is lacking with the product itself. Often, management doesn’t emphasize doing things well, because it takes more effort and money and might not necessarily result in increased returns for the agency. Body-shopping is a similar case, which usually leverages the fact that big companies don’t want to employ contractors directly or at least don’t mind using external companies that employ contractors. On the other hand, digital agencies are interesting at the beginning of one’s career, as you can get exposed to many different technologies, change projects often, and meet a lot of different people.
  • I wanted to work at a company with established processes, but not too many.
    At startups, they say the absence of processes is “punk,” but at a certain size, processes become necessary, or else the company can no longer scale. On the other hand, corporations tend to get so hung up on processes that they get very little work done, which is also far from ideal. So the key is to find a balance between the two.
  • I wanted to work on an interesting product that I would want to use.
    Once you meet the basic needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which isn’t hard to do in IT, you start to realize that you have to enjoy what you do. If you don’t like your work, you lose motivation, and it’s difficult to do a good job in the long run. So it’s important to work on things that you enjoy and can fully realize.
  • I wanted to work with inspiring people from who I could learn.
    One common cliche is that a person is the average of the five people he spends the most time with. There’s definitely something to that, at least from my perspective. We absorb language, behavior, and thought structure from our surroundings. Considering the fact that we spend a good chunk of our lives at work, it’s important that you get along (as much as possible) with your colleagues. I wanted (and still do) to work with people who are curious, who like to try new approaches, and who don’t just see work as a means to an end. If you don’t like your work or work in a toxic environment, I recommend changing it as soon as possible.

Searching for work

What does Productboard even do?

Productboard workflow diagram: On the left are the tools to collect feedback from users, and on the far right are the tools for issue tracking. In between the two is Productboard. It consolidates user requests and makes roadmaps from them that can be publicly shared and then used to collect further feedback.

Visualization of functionality in terms of effort invested vs. value-added

Productboard’s interview process

And the winning choice…

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