Zoox Technical Program Manager Interview

Interview Guide Apr 01

The role of a ZOOX Technical Program Manager

Zoox is on a mission to create a comprehensive autonomous mobility solution that covers all aspects of transportation within urban areas.

As a TPM, you'd essentially the linchpin between different engineering domains; you'd be expected to translate corporate strategy into actionable roadmaps. This would involves close collaboration with software, hardware, vehicle engineering, and product teams. Your role encompasses project scheduling, milestone identification, risk assessment, budget estimation, and of course, ensuring transparency in communication.

Zoox is committed to hiring and retaining top-tier TPMs who will help them push the horizons of autonomous mobility. The annual salary for a Zoox TPM is $215K, broken down into a base of $160K, stock options amounting to $15K per year, and a bonus of $40K.

ZOOX Technical Program Manager Interview Guide

Phone Screen with HR


This initial step involves a brief overview of your resume and delves into situational and behavioural questions. For instance, they might throw a curveball like, "What if someone on your team hates writing documentation?" How would you approach this scenario? 

This is also a chance for the HR to understand your background in management and evaluate your interpersonal skills.

Interview Questions

Example questions could include:

What interests you about the TPM role at Zoox?

Can you provide examples of your experience managing complex technical projects and teams?

How familiar are you with the autonomous driving industry and the challenges it presents to TPMs?

Phone Screen with Manager and Director


In this phase, you'll face a mix of technical and behavioural questions. They may inquire about your experiences in technical project management to get insight into how you navigate challenges and contribute to team dynamics. For instance, they might inquire about a specific project where you had to balance technical complexity with team collaboration.

Here, your responses should demonstrate not only your technical proficiency but also your ability to lead and collaborate effectively within a team.

Interview Questions

  • How would you approach managing a complex project with multiple stakeholders and tight deadlines?
  • Can you explain a time when you had to make trade-offs between project scope, timeline, and resources?
  • Describe a situation where you had to work closely with engineers to resolve a technical issue.
  • How do you prioritise tasks and manage a project with multiple stakeholders?
  • Can you provide an example of a project you've successfully delivered on time and within budget?

Technical Interview


For this round, you should prepare for an extensive session with other Technical Program Managers (TPMs). This half-day interview initially includes a presentation on a problem you have solved in the past; it goes on for about 30 minutes and typically involves sharing a case of a challenging technical issue you have successfully addressed in the past or say, a difficult vendor you've dealt with. 

The next 30 minutes are dedicated to a maths/puzzle, where you collaborate with a “partner” to solve logic problems like optimising a process or solving a complex algorithm.



The on-site round is the most comprehensive, involving around six interviews with various stakeholders, including other TPMs, engineering managers, and the SVP of Engineering. 

The interviews typically include the following aspects:

  • Technical Project Retrospective
  • Be ready to discuss end-to-end about a product, platform, or system you've worked on. 
  • You'll need to create a high-level architectural diagram and talk about potential tradeoffs when evaluating technical options. 
  • Expect questions related to CS fundamentals, design/architecture, system design, scalability, distributed systems, web services, and program management approaches.
  • Architecture, product and system design
  • This segment focuses on high-level product design questions. You might be asked to design a system from scratch or discuss systems you've worked on previously.
  • This part is intricate and usually spans 30-45 minutes, requiring a structured framework for addressing the questions.
  • Dive deep into topics like architecture, MVP thinking, scaling, technical decisions, trade-offs, caching, CDNs, and database choices. 
  • Program Sense
  • This round assesses your understanding of program management elements like ideation, risk management, prioritisation, resource allocation, conflict resolution, and stakeholder management. 
  • Make sure you demonstrate your ability to think comprehensively about programs, considering resources, risks, stakeholder expectations, costs, and deadlines. 
  • To excel in the "Program Sense" portion of the interview, it's important to draw on real-world examples from your experience that demonstrate your ability to navigate complex program management scenarios.
  • Partnerships and Leadership
  • Here, they're interested in your experience bridging the gap between engineering and less technical cross-functional teams. 
  • Expect questions on how you build relationships, resolve conflicting priorities across teams, gain buy-in from resistant peers, and tackle personal challenges. 
  • Questions often involve multiple parts, like setting up a scenario, asking for your approach, and then tweaking the scenario. For instance, you might be asked, "What’s the first thing you would do to learn about your assigned area if documents are off-limits but meetings are an option?"
  • Approach this with confidence, delve into Zoox and AV tech specifics, and aim to convince the interviewers of your competence and trustworthiness.

Interview Questions

  • What is your favourite trait of a project manager?
  • How do you deal with a difficult vendor who cannot deliver within the timeline previously agreed to.
  • What is your favourite trait of a project manager?
  • Tell me about yourself and your work experience?
  • Design a system for a ride-sharing app that handles millions of concurrent users.
  • Draw a high-level architectural diagram for a large-scale e-commerce platform and discuss trade-offs you'd consider in choosing between microservices or a monolithic architecture.
  • Discuss a real-world example where you had to make critical decisions regarding architecture, technical trade-offs, and scalability.
  • Reflect on a time when a project didn't go as planned
  • How do you prioritise tasks when managing multiple projects simultaneously?
  • Describe a scenario where you successfully bridged the gap between engineering teams and less technical cross-functional teams.

Zoox Technical Program Manager Roles and Responsibilities

Following are the roles and responsibilities of a Zoox Technical Program Manager:

  • Primarily, you'll be collaborating closely with engineering teams, creating and managing project schedules, identifying key milestones, and flagging potential risks. It's crucial to estimate budgets accurately and maintain transparent communication on project progress.
  • You'll play a pivotal role in aligning the product configurations with the needs of downstream consumer teams. This involves understanding, planning, and adapting product configurations to meet specific requirements.
  • You'll be working with department leaders to translate the overall corporate strategy into detailed product roadmaps, timelines, and deliverables.
  • Practical application of your technical knowledge is essential, as you'll be involved in demonstrating, testing, and deploying engineering product initiatives.
  • Analysing and providing essential information for the development of software products to all relevant stakeholders is a critical aspect of the role.
  • Ensuring clarity within your teams is paramount, making sure every team understands their deliverables at all times.

Zoox Technical Program Manager Skills and Qualifications

Here are the skills and qualifications that a Zoox Technical Program Manager must have:

  • First and foremost, having a Bachelor's or Master's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field is a prerequisite. Additionally, a minimum of 5 years of experience in engineering, program management, or management consulting is required.
  • The ideal candidate should possess a profound understanding of software, hardware, or automotive development processes.
  • A proven track record of successfully managing complex cross-functional projects is essential, demonstrating the ability to navigate and coordinate diverse teams efficiently.
  • Strong references are crucial to showcase your capability in cultivating solid working relationships with senior leaders and engineers across various functions and departments.
  • Lastly, the ability to maintain a holistic perspective and deliver clear, well-structured, and concise communications tailored to diverse audiences is expected.