Dear Readers, Welcome to Project Managers Interview Questions and Answers have been designed specially to get you acquainted with the nature of questions you may encounter during your Job interview for the subject of Project Managers. These Project Managers Questions are very important for campus placement test and job interviews. As per my experience good interviewers hardly plan to ask any particular questions during your Job interview and these model questions are asked in the online technical test and interview of many IT companies.
A project is a set of task/activities undertaken to create a product, services or results. These are temporary, in the sense that they are not routine work like production activity but most often one time set of activities undertaken.
An example would be the creation of the Microsoft Surprise tablet that used a liquid magnesium deposition process to create the enclosure. The process developed in the project will be used for subsequent production of the tablet. Examples could include development of a new product or process (as in the example), constructing a road or a bridge (infrastructure in general), developing a computer/information system, etc.
Project management involves applying the knowledge & skills of the project team members including the project manager, application of tools and techniques available to ensure the defined tasks are completed properly. Proper completion means implies achievement of end results within given cost and time constraints. It usually means balancing of the constraints of scope, budget, schedule, quality, risks and resources.
Most often any project goes through some easily identifiable set of activities during its lifetime. Some typical activities can be identified as related initiating a project. Planning set of activities are required to plan the activities to be undertaken to achieve the defined goals. Executing group of activities help getting the project done. A related set of activities are required to monitor and correct the course of actions to keep the project on the planned course charted for it. Final set of activities are related to the systematic closure of the project. Most important of which is, of course, to formally record what has been learnt during the execution of the project. When documented, this set of documents, related forms to be used, the way estimates are to be made, database of estimates of similar projects etc. are often referred to as Organizational process assets.
Projects are undertaken for a specific or a set of related purposes. A program is a set of projects managed in a coordinated manner to achieve different parts of an overall goal. For example the NASA lunar landing program had the development of the command module and the lunar landing modules as separate projects. A portfolio is a collection of projects, programs and even other portfolios that help an organization achieve some common high level business purpose.
Any person, organization or an entity whose interest is affected, positively or negatively, because of the project. The influence of stakeholders is an important issue to take into account in any planning and subsequently during execution of it as well.
Every organization has a certain way of doing things, collective wisdom about how things can best be done, etc. and these influences the planning and execution processes. These influences need to be taken into account when estimating, planning for activities related to projects. These are often mentioned as organizational environmental factors.
A project has distinct phases when the range of activities required to carry out the project work differ. There is a distinct “start” phase, followed by an organizing and preparing phase. “Carrying out” is the actual execution part of the project. “Closing” phase makes sure the temporary activities related to the project are closed systematically. The points in time when the phase changes happen are named variously as phase gate, exits, milestones or kill points. If a project is to be closed, it is decided at these stages based on the performance or if the need of the project has disappeared.
This is a document where it all begins. Project authorization is done on this document and a project would be initiated with the top level requirements listed in this document. Initial requirements as seen by stakeholders and the outcomes of the project also are listed in it.
Baselines are the final version of all plans before the project execution starts. Project baselines are the starting versions of all related plans of a project, be it the time schedule, the quality plan, the communication plan or whatever. This acts as the reference against which project performance is measured.
Besides being a good professional manager, the PM needs to have additional personal skills for being effective. It is not only essential for him to have project management skills but be proficient in them. Attitude, core personality characteristics and leadership qualities are needed. Team management and leadership skills that help the team reach common objectives and goals are required.
A process is a defined way of doing things. Not only does the process define the actions to be taken but also in what sequence they are to be carried out. Process groups are a set of processes that are applicable to various stages of a project. For example, initiating process group, planning process group, etc. Each of the processes has a defined set of inputs and produce defined outputs by applying a set of tools and techniques on the input.
Scope management, time and cost management knowledge areas are quite obvious. Same goes for quality management too. To complete a project in all its aspects one needs to be aware of the project integration knowledge area. Communications is an essential issue so is the communication management knowledge. Procurement and risk management are two vital support areas. Since people get things done Human resources management is also an equally important area.
RAID stand for risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies. These are vital items that a PM should always be aware of. There are always risks about actions and a PM must take least risk actions. Unless assumptions about any estimates or actions are clear, these can go wrong. Issues and dependencies also limit the choices of actions often.
It starts with a project charter development. Project management plan development is another important activity. Direct and manage project execution and monitor and control are plans that are to be followed all through the project. Closing of the project (or the current phase) is the final set of activities for integration management. Since changes are often unavoidable an integrated change management plan must be developed to guide all changes systematically.
SOW or the statement of work is a detailed description of the outcomes of the project in terms of what products, services or results are expected from the project. Most detailed SOW are usually given by the customer if he is the one requesting the project.
Typically this process involves collecting requirements, defining scope, creating WBS, verifying scope and controlling the scope. The project scope statement, WBS and WBS dictionary defines the scope baseline. Controlling the scope process must minimize scope creep.
Through the integrated change control process. Requested changes will have to be reviewed by a change control board. Only the approved changes shall be included in the document changes guiding project execution.
Work breakdown structure defines the work activities required for the project and the sub activities of each of the work requirement. The breakdown goes down to levels where all the work required is clearly understood. Work need not be broken down further than that. Work breakdown dictionary includes additional details that help define the tasks. Time and effort estimates can be accurate when everything about the work and dependencies are known.
Milestone is a point in project schedule when some objective, a part of a result or a part of the planned services planned are achieved.
Product breakdown, requirements analysis, systems engineering, systems analysis, value engineering, value analysis and alternatives analysis. Alternatives analysis can be helped by brain storming, lateral thinking and pair-wise comparisons, etc.
When the activity effort and resource estimates are known getting the work done depends on how the tasks are sequenced. Dependencies with other activities have to be clearly known. The basic sequence is determined by what activities should be carried out first and what should follow. Unconnected tasks/activities can be sequenced in parallel to reduce project time. Most optimized sequencing would give you the best possible time needed given the resources allocation is ideal and there are no constraints there. Scheduling is done from activities list prepared after WBS has been finalized.
Parametric estimates, three point estimates and analogous estimates are the techniques used for estimating activity time estimates.
One optimistic estimate, a pessimistic estimate and one “most likey” estimate is considered for an activity. (Op estimate+6 X most likely+ pess. Estimate) is calculated and divided by 6. This result then may be further iterated. This is the estimate to be used.
Activity scheduling network diagram is the most common form of representation for the project time schedule. This is often accompanied by milestone chart, and bar charts.