Project Management is the discipline that helps in organizing and managing the objectives of a project in a controlled manner to produce unique outcomes. The profession of the project manager traces back to the early 19th century but was not recognized as a distinct profession until the late 20th century. But in today’s market, it is recognized as one of the most reputed professions offering a lucrative salary. But grasping it is definitely not a piece of cake, where you will have to compete with others across the globe. In this Top 30 Project Manager Interview Questions article, I will help you in gearing up for your interview and ace it.
You can also, check out our PMP® Certification Training if you want to ensure your job as a project manager because certifications like PMP, Prince2 etc. help in beefing up your resume and are preferred by employers globally.
So, let’s get started with our project manager interview questions.
Project Manager Interview Questions
1. What is the difference between Project, Program, and Portfolio?
|An endeavor undertaken to produce a unique product or solution||A group of interrelated projects that are managed together||A collection of projects and operations managed under one group to achieve a strategic goal|
|Temporary in nature with defined start and end point||Temporary in nature but lasts longer than project||Permanent in nature that keeps on changing and is aligned with the strategic planning|
|Follows the project-level plans with the main focus on detailed delivery||Follows the high-level plans that are backed up by detailed plans||Follows the ongoing processes that prioritize and align the portfolio to achieve strategic objectives|
|Has a narrow and defined scope with no changes||Has a wide scope can change with time-based on client requirements||Has the widest scope with the strategic perspective of the whole organization|
2. What is your understanding of Project Management?
Project management is the discipline that helps in implementing various processes, methods, knowledge, skills, and experience for achieving the objectives of a unique project. Project management is nothing like the usual management. One key factor which differentiates these two is that project management has a final deliverable and a definite timeline whereas management is an ongoing process. A project manager must always follow the 6P rule of project management which is Proper Planning Prevents Poor Project Performance.
3. Elaborate on the Project Management Life Cycle process?
The Project Management Life Cycle is a series of various activities/tasks that are crucial for accomplishing project objectives or targets. This helps in structuring the efforts and simplifying them into a series of logical and manageable steps. The Project Management Life Cycle consists of four simple phases which are listed below:
It’s the first and most vital step in the life-cycle of your project where the initial scope of the project gets defined and resources are committed. This process group ensures the success of your project.
In this process group, an appropriate level of detail is jotted for the project to plan time, cost and resources. It estimates the work needed and manage risk effectively.
This process group consists of the processes which are used to complete the work defined in the project management plan. It’s about achieving the project’s objectives. It also involves tracking, reviewing and regulating the performance of the project. Also, you need to identify potential problems quickly and take corrective actions.
This process group is an important part of project management, performed to finalize all project activities to complete the project. This means finishing all activities across all the process groups, disbanding the project team and signing off the project with the customer using the project closure report.
4. What are the most important skills that a Project Manager should possess?
Most important skills that a Project manager must possess are:
- Team Management
- Negotiation Power
- Personal Organization
- Risk Management
5. How will you start your job as a new project manager?
When you start your job a project manager first few things that you need to take care of are:
- Listen, observe and learn
- Understand your client’s needs and wants
- Know your team and their personalities
- Take the opportunity to learn some new skills
- Help out around the workplace
- Try to master the tools your company possesses
6. How will prioritize tasks in your project?
Prioritizing tasks in a project is very important and especially if it is an extensive one. It helps in ensuring successful and timely completion of your project. In order to prioritize the tasks you should follow the below pointers:
- List the tasks and responsibilities
- Distinguish between urgent and important
- Assess the value of each task
- Order the tasks by estimated efforts
- Stay flexible and ready to adapt
- Know when to say NO
7. What is your leadership style?
Leadership is a quality that every project manager must possess. Every leader has his own leadership style to guide his team. The leadership style refers to a leader’s characteristic behavior while directing, motivating, guiding, and managing his team to bring the best out of them. In a project, they hold the responsibility to motivate others for better performance, creation, and innovation.
There are basically four types of leadership styles and your leadership style should be situational, depending on the type of team you are working with and the importance of the tasks involved in the project. Below are the four leadership styles:
8. What is your ideal project?
Before you decide on your ideal project, you must consider the following questions. These questions will help you in narrowing down your choices while making sure that your productivity maximizes.
- What type of work do you enjoy the most?
- How much you want to and are allowed to show your creativity?
- Under what type of deadlines do you work best?
- How comfortable are you with trying new things on a project?
- Do you prefer to always receive full credit for your work?
- Are you okay with working as part of a team, or do you prefer to work alone?
9. What are the processes and process groups in the project management framework?
A process in the project management framework is a defined way of doing tasks that are involved in the successful completion of a project. These processes define the actions to be taken along with their sequence. There are around 49 processes in the project management framework embedded in various process groups. Process groups are a collection of processes that are applicable through various stages of a project.
There are 5 process groups in which 10 knowledge areas and 49 processes are mapped into. The five process groups are:
- Monitoring & Control
10. What are the knowledge areas and how relevant are they in a project?
Knowledge Areas are the core technical subject matter that are vital for effective project management. All the 49 processes are primarily part of these knowledge areas where they are grouped based on their commonalities. Below I have listed down the 10 knowledge areas of project management framework:
- Project Integration Management
- Project Scope Management
- Project Schedule Management
- Project Cost Management
- Project Quality Management
- Project Resource Management
- Project Communications Management
- Project Risk Management
- Project Procurement Management
- Project Stakeholder Management
11. How would you handle a difficult stakeholder involved in your project?
Since stakeholders hold a high authority and are an integral part of a project having their concent is very important. But sometimes they can be little difficult to handle, in such cases should:
- Accept their authority without fighting
- Remove all the negative emotions
- Understand their issue
- Ask for advice and listen to them
- Be tactful and honest with your decisions
- Praise them and try to establish the connection
- Improve your communication
12. What is RAID in Project Management?
RAID in project management stands for Risk, Assumptions, Issue, and Dependencies. These are very important items that a project manager must have knowledge about.
- Risks are the potential problems that can have either a positive or negative impact on the project resulting in a deviation of the final result from the original plan.
- Actions are the task that you perform throughout the project.
- Issues are the hurdles that you might face in the course of the project which must be successfully resolved or it might derail the project or cause the project to fail.
- Decisions are your choice of actions/tasks in the project.
13. When you consider that your project is off track and what will be your steps to ensure that it finishes within the given timeline?
To detect whether your project is on track or falling behind the agreed timeline, you must check the below pointers:
- Budget is under control or not
- Is it consuming too much time
- Does the project scope keeps changing
- Original goals are still present or not
If the answers to these pointers are true then, your project is definitely off the track and you must take immediate action to bring it back on track. Few steps that you might take are:
- Discover the root cause
- Put in more time and efforts to catch up
- Try to follow the original goal or vision
- Re-adjust resource management (resource, finance, human etc.)
- Keep open communication with client and stakeholders
14. Which project management methodology do you prefer following in your projects?
Not a single methodology can be applied to all types of projects. The selection of project management methodology must be based on the following criteria:
- Strategic goals and core values of your organization
- Key business drivers of your project
- Constraints (if any) in the project
- Stakeholders involved in the project
- Risks that might occur
- Level of complexity of the project
- Estimated size and cost of the project
15. What are the tools mostly used for improving the process activities?
Majorly used tools in the industry:
- Comparing and Baselining a Process
- Value-Stream Mapping
- Cause and Effect Analysis
- Hypothesis Testing
PMP® Certification Exam Training
16. How will you manage the team members who are not working to their full potential?
To bring the best out of your team members, you must:
- Try to avoid any type of emotional confrontation with the team and stakeholders
- Encourage them to think and act in their own ways
- Help your team members in developing their decision-making abilities
- Develop their performance tolerance threshold
- Strengthen the potential of weak employees by surrounding them with those even stronger
- Understand what motivates your employees
- Show your employees where they fit in the company mission and vision
- Arrange a proper follow-up process
- Reward and appreciate their improvement to encourage them more
- Be ready to let them go if there is no scope of improvement
17. Being a project manager how will you gain your team agreement for results?
Trust and agreement is a key factor that facilitates proper communication and coordination in a team. that brings ou the best outcome. To gain agreement from your team members you must:
- Keep your expectations clear from the very beginning
- Build achievable milestones so that they don’t feel pressured
- Collaborate and maintain team trust throughout the project
- Agree on the terms with the team & ask for their opinions as well
- Schedule frequent accountability meetings
- Establish outcome results and consequences
- Clear out any conflicts among the team members as soon as it arises
18. Explain Ishikawa/ Fishbone diagrams.
A fishbone diagram is also known as a cause and effect diagram or Ishikawa diagram. It is a visualization tool that is used for categorizing the potential causes of a problem in order to identify its root causes. A Japanese quality control expert named Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa invented this fishbone diagram in order to help employees to avoid solutions that will merely address the symptoms of a much larger problem.
19. Explain the entire team forming process you follow for your team.
Developmental stages of the team generally consist of:
- Forming: In this stage, the entire group unites for the first time where the focus is to build relationships within the team and clarify the mission or vision of the project.
- Storming: In this stage, team members get more comfortable in sharing their opinions with the team and with a possibility of internal conflict within the group.
- Norming: In this stage, the project team receives the clarity and support on the tasks to proceed with the project.
- Performing: By this stage, the team members learn to trust and accept each other. Each of the team members become competent, autonomous and is able to handle the decision-making process without anyone’s supervision.
- Adjourning: This is the final stage of the team forming process, which takes place after project completion. In this stage, the team is broken up and resources are released.
20. What is the process of calculating the three-point estimating method?
There are two ways in which you can calculate the three-point estimation:
- Triangular Distribution E = (P+M+O)/3
- Beta or PERT Distribution
E = (P+4M+O)/6
where P = pessimist, O = Optimist, M = most likely.
21. Explain the Work Breakdown Structure (WBD) and its effect on the work estimates of tasks/activities?
Work breakdown structure defines the work activities that are required for the project completion and the sub-activities of each of those work requirement. It has a hierarchical structure in which concrete/ main activities are segregated into logical sub-activities. There are two approaches:
- Top-down approach
- Bottom-up approach
22. Differentiate between risk and issues.
|Issues are more of present focused||Risks are more of future focussed|
|These always tend to be negative in nature||They can be either, positive or negative|
|Issues are generally documented in “Issue Register”||Risks are generally documented in “Risk Register”|
|The response to an issue will be “Issue workaround”||The response to risk is based on “risk response planning”|
23. Why does a Project Manager need to be proactive?
Proactive Managers have higher chances of finding out the risks and implementing solutions in order to minimize them. Being proactive, lets them have more control over their project tasks and resources. They can keep a better track of all tasks and issues to work towards implementing small changes and improvements for higher productivity and efficiency. Organizes frequent meetings for developers to talk about their problems, brainstorm solutions, share best practices etc. Compares the actual costs and time spent on tasks on a weekly basis with the planned numbers.
24. What is the difference between Risk Impact and Risk Probability?
Risk Probability is the chance that a risk will occur whereas Risk Impact is the cost when a risk does occur.
25. Which communication style do you prefer using in your projects?
Type of communication you use in your project will completely depend on the type of project you are working on and the type of team you have. Types of communication styles that a project manager uses:
26. What do you understand by time & material contract?
It is a type of contract that is a hybrid contractual arrangement containing aspects of both cost-reimbursable and fixed-price contracts. Time and material contracts resemble the cost-reimbursable type arrangements where they have no definitive end. This contract is generally used in projects whose accurate project size can’t be estimated or when it is expected that the project requirements would most likely change.
27. What will you do if any of the customers are not happy with the quality or results of the product by the end of the project?
To handle an unhappy customer, you must:
- Show the customers that you value them
- Understand why they are not happy
- Figure out what modifications they want
- Try to incorporate the modifications if possible
- If not possible try to convince and explain to the customer that the project fits in with the agreed scope
28. What is the Pareto principle analysis?
Pareto Analysis is a statistical technique in decision-making. It is basically used for the selection of a limited number of tasks which can bring a significant overall effect. This principle follows the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) and states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the actions. It helps in prioritizing the work especially in large projects with a number of small tasks
29. Explain the triple constraint triangle in project management.
Triple Constraint Triangle is a combination of three key components which acts as the most significant restrictions on any project. Following are the three constraints in this model:
Each of the constraints forms the vertices of the triangle with quality as the central factor.
30. What are the major types of risks you might encounter in a project?
Majorly encountered risks in a project are:
- Cost Risk
- Schedule Risk
- Performance Risk
- Resource Risk
- Technology Risk
- Market Risk
- Legal Risk
- Strategic Risk
- Governance Risk
- Operational Risk
- External Risk
This brings us to the end of this article on Top 30 Project Manager Interview Questions. Hope it helped in adding up to your knowledge. Wishing you all the best for your interview. Happy learning.
If you found this “Project Manager Interview Questions” article relevant, check out the PMP® Certification Exam Training by Edureka, a trusted online learning company with a network of more than 250,000 satisfied learners spread across the globe.
Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section on this Project Manager Interview Questions and we will get back to you.