Behavioral questions are critical components of project management job interviews. These questions help the hiring manager in predicting your future job performance. Most behavioral questions start with “Give me an example..” or “Tell me about a situation you faced..,” and the motive behind these questions is to check your creativity, communication skills and ability to see the larger picture.
A common behavioral question in project management interviews is, “What are the early warning signs of project failure and how will you alert the management or take steps to mitigate the same”. In this blog post, let’s discuss the early warning signs of project failure and why it is important to identify these signs.
Remember that this question is aimed at checking your ability to look beyond project metrics. Refrain from giving a transactional answer and emphasize on the proactive approach you are going to use. Following can be some of the indicators you may use to predict the fate of the project:
Early Warning Signs of Project Failure
Given below are a few situations in which projects are bound to fail.
1. Key performance metrics of project not meeting targets
There can be clear indicators e.g. project’s key performance metrics like CPI, SPI being way beyond the target. These can be brought under control with little additional efforts, more rigorous control and support from the senior management, if needed. But what if you do not get support from the senior management or what if the directives you get from the management are changing frequently? This is a clear indicator that your project lacks direction and can’t maintain a consistent course.
2. Lack of commitment from the team
Every project has clearly stated or vaguely discussed goals. No organization will shell out money for a project that has no purpose. If the project team is not aware of those goals or they are not able to articulate the purpose of the project, it will lead to misunderstandings and inconsistent presumptions about priorities. This will also result in poor and inconsistent tactical decisions which will eventually undermine project progress.
3. Lack of coordination in team
There is bound to be chaos if team members are not aligned to the project objectives or if they are not able to listen to each other. As a result, team members will fail to coordinate project activities thus impacting the project progress.
These are a few of the easily identifiable early warning signs of project failure. There can be many more which are not as easy to identify such as those involving intra- or interorganizational effects, or complexity, or between-team behavioral issues. That’s why it’s crucial for project success to pay heed to early warning signs and make sure they are acted upon.
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