The Technical Program Manager (TPM) position is gaining vital importance for tech companies looking to stand out amidst rising competition in the digital domain. TPMs play a critical role in helping drive company strategy, aligning teams, collaborating with cross-functional stakeholders, and delivering on multiple complex projects.
Given the diversity of what this role entails - companies often come up with “custom processes'' to interview candidates and follow a set of guiding principles when filtering candidates and deciding who to hire. Facebook is one of the biggest internet companies today that is constantly trying to expand its business and grow globally and therefore looking to hire TPMs. Before we go into the interview process, here's some information about the role of a TPM at Facebook.
Role of TPM at Facebook:
Product TPMs leverage a unique blend of technical strengths, leadership, and program management skills to accelerate the delivery of products and programs. They drive strategy and execution for product platforms and specialized technical areas, in addition to driving cross-team initiatives that require breaking down complexity, strong collaboration, and execution to deliver a product solution. Here's what TPMs do on a day-to-day basis in a little more detail.
- Manage cross-functional infrastructure software engineering programs in a matrix organization covering a range of areas.
- Develop and manage end-to-end project plans and ensure on-time delivery.
- Provide hands-on program management during analysis, design, development, testing, implementation, and post-implementation phases.
- Perform risk management and change management on projects.
- Reduce surprises during execution and own progress reporting.
- Drive internal and external process improvements across multiple teams and functions.
- Interface with engineering and business owners for project requirements and scope.
- Drive collaboration and motivation to reach challenging goals.
- Help drive product decisions to align with higher company initiatives.
- B.S. in Computer Science or equivalent experience.
- 8+ years of software engineering, systems engineering, program/product management, or similar experience.
- Experience delivering tech programs or products from inception to delivery.
- Experience operating autonomously across multiple teams demonstrated critical thinking and thought leadership.
- Communication skills and experience working with technical management teams.
- Organizational and coordination skills along with multi-tasking experience to get things done in a fast-paced environment.
- Analytical and problem-solving skills, exposure to large-scale systems and experience writing code/queries.
Facebook Technical Program Manager(TPM) salary
- Entry level salary: USD 140,000.
- Senior positions: USD 480,000.
- Median salary: USD 292,000 with base component being USD 170,000, stock component being USD 82,000 and bonus being USD 46,000.
Typically, there are 2 rounds of interviews for Facebook TPM roles: initial screen and onsite round.
The initial screen is a 45-minute phone interview with one of Facebook's product TPMs. During this conversation, the interviewer will ask technical and program management-related questions. In this round, the interviewer seeks to understand and assess your ability to engage in technical discussions and collaborate with engineers, product managers and others on various aspects of program design and implementation.
- Program management skills.
- Communication style.
- Breadth and depth of technical knowledge.
Most asked questions in the initial screen
- Tell us about the most challenging programs (technical and non-technical) you’ve managed, and related outcomes.
- How did you lead and drive the team toward a successful (or unsuccessful) outcome? What did you learn?
- How was your experience working with multiple cross-functional teams and dealing with competing priorities? Explain the outcome and how you balanced priorities?
- Demonstrate the breadth and depth of your knowledge in end-to-end architectural components of a product (i.e. platform, app, etc).
- Have you delivered a project with very few resources? What did you learn from the experience?
- When and how have you influenced the product strategy and roadmap?
- How did you measure success for a product launch (business, user case, and technical KPIs)?
Want to practice more such questions with a Facebook TPM expert?
Book a mock interview session with a Facebook TPM!→ Book Now!
The initial screen is followed by the onsite round conducted at one of Facebook's campuses. The onsite round is a full day affair lasting for about 5 hours. The interviewers will be TPMs and cross-functional team members, including engineers and/or product managers. Each interview will be a 45-minute session.
As part of these interviews, please ensure you consider the following three core areas of technical program management as overarching themes: program management, leadership ability, and technical depth. The interviewers will want to understand your interests and motivations for joining Facebook. So, make sure you prepare a short, convincing answer to the cliched "Why Facebook?" question.
The interview sessions during the day will be structured around the following areas (in no particular order):
- Technical Project Retrospective
- Architecture, Product and System Design
- Program Sense
- Behavioural and Leadership Skills
Here's a deep dive into the various parts of the onsite loop.
Technical Project Retrospective
The interviewers are interested in seeing how you demonstrate in-depth technical knowledge of past programs. They also want to see if you have a strong understanding of basic software concepts with the ability to dive into technical details. This would centre around technical dependencies, trade-offs, resource planning, how you mitigate risk, and your contribution to decisions. Technical skills listed in your résumé will be a point of focus during your interview.
It is useful to know that the interviewer won’t expect you to write code or develop complex algorithms, but you’ll need to demonstrate a strong ability to engage in technical discussions with engineers. Be prepared to demonstrate your skills and expertise in the following areas:
- Talking end-to-end about a product, platform, or system.
- Creating a high-level architectural diagram of a system you worked on or built, and diving into the details.
- Discussing potential tradeoffs when evaluating technical options.
- Demonstrating sound approaches for assessing the success of a product or system.
- CS fundamentals
- Design / architecture
- System design
- Scalability / distributed systems / web services
- Program management approaches to challenging scenarios, technical and non-technical
- Data structures (if required for the role)
Architecture, Product and System Design
The interviewers are interested in your approach to solving an ambiguous problem that’s outside of your area of expertise. We recommend that you review these concepts before your interview. The interviewer will ask design questions involving creating and scaling a product or system from scratch. Keep in mind the following areas as you craft your solutions: product sense, system design / end-to-end architecture, scalability, and metrics.
Focusing on impact is key. As you consider multiple goals for your project, you should home in on the most important one that delivers the most value, resulting in the highest opportunity for impact. Also, the interviewers will test your ability to:
- Demonstrate clear comprehension by asking clarifying questions to better understand the goal.
- Propose a design for a product/system and break it down into components.
- Set clear success metrics and keep these top of mind as you build the solution.
- Identify the bottlenecks as the product/system scales, and show that you can poke holes in the design.
- Understand how to adapt your solution when requirements are changed, and how you communicate this across partner teams.
- Draw diagrams that clearly describe the relationship between the different components in your product/system.
- Create necessary tests and identify how to judge the success of your product/system.
In this interview, the interviewers will be looking for your ability to demonstrate the following:
- Execution strategy
- Impact / prioritization
- Program kickoff
- Risk mitigation
- Stakeholder influence/strategy
In addition to the above, the interviewers are looking for:
- How you define roadmap milestones and execute.
- How you balance between scope, time and resources, and manage risk.
- How you support the people around you and communicate to partnering teams.
- How you overcome difficult situations.
The interviewers will ask questions that focus on deep diving into your experience working with and driving successful cross-functional collaboration, including your communication style. Be prepared for situational questions around identifying and troubleshooting project bottlenecks, discussions with engineers around design, as well as adapting your approach and solutions when the situation or requirements change.
- How you bridge the gap between engineering teams and less technical cross-functional teams.
- How you build relationships and resolve conflicting priorities across teams.
- How you get buy-in from peers who may be resistant to your goals.
- How you’ve addressed the most difficult personal challenges you’ve faced.
Behavioural and Leadership skills
- Relationship building with the ability to influence.
- Ability to operate in ambiguous and undefined projects.
- Ability to move quickly and be resourceful.
- Ability to self-motivate and motivate others in your job.
- Your leadership style and ability to influence.
- Ability to work cross-functionally and collaborate with your direct and partnering teams.
- How you work with your direct team and partnering team to resolve conflict.
- Make sure you understand the problem and state any assumptions you’re making.
- Explain your approach to the problem and describe your thought process as you work the problem and solution.
- Identify alternative solutions, if applicable, and discuss how you weigh the options.
- Listen carefully for feedback from the interviewer as they may provide helpful hints.
- Be upfront and honest when questions are asked.
To summarise your interview prep strategy, you must focus on 3 key areas:
Program management, leadership ability and technical depth. Revise the technical concepts well and be willing to showcase your leadership skills and your ability to strategize and collaborate with cross-functional stakeholders. If you follow our guide rigorously, we believe you will do well in the interview.
Onsite rounds can be tricky! Prepare for it with a Facebook Technical Program Manager.
Book a mock interview session with a Facebook TPM!→ Book Now!
How many interview rounds are there in the Facebook tpm interview?
There are 2 rounds, namely- the initial screen, and the onsite round.
What is the difficulty rating of the interview?
The interview is rated as difficult.