Microsoft Interview Question for Program Managers

Team: Visual Studio
Country: United States
Interview Type: In-Person

Comment hidden because of low score. Click to expand.
of 8 vote

The answers that are posted here are jumping to conclusions and solutions. A PM's role is to be high level and see the big picture. When answering this questions it is important that you approach it from a very high level and then keep drilling down.
- I would start with how do you know that the bags are lost ( it may sound like a silly start but a PM has to make sure that all assumptions are well communicated). The answer to this may be too many lost baggage claims.
- Which flights are the most affected by the baggage loss? Now we are trying to narrow down our problem areas. The answer here many not be a single route but with simple data analysis we can find the top affected areas. The reason we need to identify the specific segments is because each segment may have a different problem & may need specific investigation.
- We take a particular segment & identify if the lost luggage belonged to long haul flights or short ones. This can also be found using data analysis. This may help us point out if the luggage was lost in flights that were transferring luggage vs. non-transferring ones.
- If there were more cases of lost luggage on a route that had a particular hop in the middle, example : flights between Mumbai & Boston via London or Mumbai & Johanusburg via London, we can pin point that there is a possible issue at London in transferring the luggage.
- Then we drill a little on what processes or technology is used in London to ensure how the baggage is transferred which will help us find the deficiency, example: all account keeping is paper based or all luggage to be transferred ends up in one place without segregation
-Then a solution should follow, example: RFID/E-tracking in the former case above or a physical barrier to separate luggage to be transferred in different segments in the latter one.

This question is more about how data driven and how analytical you are instead of how technically sound you are or which solution is the coolest one.

- Ketki August 28, 2013 | Flag Reply
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of 3 vote

1) Identify problem : Can be anything in following
a) Bags are being stolen
b) Issue with conveyor belt system
c) Issue with packing the bags in together
2) Fix it
a) Tighten security
b) RFID solution
c) Tie all the bags together

- Anon October 23, 2012 | Flag Reply
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of 2 vote

Maybe... Think more in terms of how you would solve the problem (after identifying it). The way most design questions work is that, you would suggest multiple solutions/theories for something and then the interviewer would steer the conversation in a particular direction. Loop back.
I proposed adding RFID tags to the sticker (I think amazon uses this method to track packages) and having RFID on the conveyor belt that make sure the bags are going in the correct place, or raise a red flag. This way, the bag's last location would would always be known and would help in finding lost bags faster.

- Survy October 22, 2012 | Flag Reply
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of 2 vote

As program manager you need to be able to communicate well during the interview, and this question clearly ask the interviewee to communicate, ask question, and make assumption rather than giving a straight answer. Ketki did well on answering this problem. My answer to this problem is:

Ask question:
1. Which flight that got stolen (domestic or international)? as this going to be important when we start designing the solution. If we can ask the interviewer to be able to assume that only domestic flight that got stolen cause this will simplify our design.

2. I assumed that only domestic flight that got stolen. and ask whether there's transferring flight in the domestic flight? cause maybe during transferring that bags got stolen. Ask the interviewer to be able to assumed that there's no transferring flight in the domestic flight. Again, I ask this because I want to simplify the design.

So then I think we cover how the flight went. We assumed that the ones that got stolen are domestic flight with no transferring flight (connecting flight).

Start explaining to the interviewer on how the bags get on the plane and how we collect the bags once we land. Start by giving the bags to the check point at the airport. then the bags get on the conveyor belt, got pick up by people who work at the airport, then all the bags from all passengers are put together and they start putting the bags inside the airplane. Once we land, the bags got pick up by the people who work at the airport and the bags put on the conveyor belt then lastly we collect our bags.

Now while explaining this start identifying what could cause the bags to be stolen. Is it because of the people that work there or is it because a broken conveyor belt or anything that you could think of

Finally Solution.
Once we identify the problems then we can give solution to the problem like assigning RFID/e-tracking to all bags.

Again, I agree with Ketki, this question is more about how data driven and how analytical you are. This question is not to demonstrate technical ability.

Hope this help.

- farizbey September 07, 2013 | Flag Reply
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of 0 vote

Well the problem could be in the automatic routing system which could have barcode / text readers. There could be a fault with the sensors/readers or routing algorithm.

- Noobie October 22, 2012 | Flag Reply
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of 0 vote

i think it is the airline that has a problem and not the airport...

- gsumanthkr June 16, 2013 | Flag Reply
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of 0 vote

I think this problem by managing by hireing more workers to manage all the things

- Anonymous July 11, 2013 | Flag Reply
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of 0 vote

1. Is this happening with National route or International
2. Is this happening with a particular carrier or all of them
3. Is this happening with non-stop flights or stop-by flights
4. Is this region specific or happening regardless of the route
5. Is this happening with all passengers on that flight or some of them? Is this happening with first few passengers, or last few passengers of the flight or random?
6. Is this only happening with passengers having multiple luggages?
7. Are all baggages getting lost for the passengers or one of the few baggages are getting lost?
8. Any specific timings of the day, or week?
9. Is this happening with passengers opting for online-checkin (Web checkIns) or non-airport checkin counters
10. Are the luggage lost completely, untraceable or are loaded on a different flight

- Asheesh July 15, 2015 | Flag Reply

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