Project Management Interview Questions

What are the project constraints?

General

Written by cinemaone Monday, 10 January 2011 19:57

Time For analytical purposes, the time required to produce a deliverable is estimated using several techniques. One method is to identify tasks needed to produce the deliverables documented in a work breakdown structure or WBS. The work effort for each task is estimated and those estimates are rolled up into the final deliverable estimate. The tasks are also prioritized, dependencies between tasks are identified, and this information is documented in a project schedule. The dependencies between the tasks can affect the length of the overall project (dependency constrained), as can the availability of resources (resource constrained). Project Managers will often make a call to double down to prevent a project from breaking deadlines in the final stages of the implementation phase. Time is not considered a cost nor a resource since the project manager cannot control the rate at which it is expended. This makes it different from all other resources and cost categories. It should be remembered that no effort expended will have any higher quality than that of the effort- expenders. Cost Cost to develop a project depends on several variables including (chiefly): resource quantities, labor rates, material rates, risk management (i.e.cost contingency), Earned value management, plant (buildings, machines, etc.), equipment, cost escalation, indirect costs, and profit. Scope Requirements specified for the end result. The overall definition of what the project is supposed to accomplish, and a specific description of what the end result should be or accomplish. A major component of scope is the quality of the final product. The amount of time put into individual tasks determines the overall quality of the project. Some tasks may require a given amount of time to complete adequately, but given more time could be completed exceptionally. Over the course of a large project, quality can have a significant impact on time and cost (or vice versa). These three constraints are often competing constraints: increased scope typically means increased time and increased cost, a tight time constraint could mean increased costs and reduced scope, and a tight budget could mean increased time and reduced scope. In my experience spanning around 15 years and almost 9 different organizations as a consultant. I have found Scope constraint to be most liquid of all. Scope just changes as we progress in the project. Lot of new requirements come up sometime even challenging the basic assumptions in a project. Now, I have learnt to say no to things which are not critical for the business and were not part of the initial specs but will impact the project time line substantially.
 

Which characteristic do you think is the most important for being a successful and effective project manager?

General

Written by Adobsessy Monday, 10 January 2011 19:52

An effective project manager should be able to inspire the project team a shared vision towards a common goal. Effective communication at all levels both within the team and outside the team is very very important. Project manager is not just a manager but also a leader and good leadership demands commitment and demonstration of ethical practices. Project manager must not put personal goals infront of the project goals. Project manager must demonstrate enthusiasm and less of negativity. Project manager must be able to challange, inspire, and encourage team members during different phases of project. Another important quality of an effective PM is the ability to delegate, project manager must be able to plan and delegate tasks at hand. In all effective project manager must be able to keep the team together, keep all the stakeholders well informed and always keep the team focussed towards the common goal of completing that unique project. the project manager should be able to inspire the team with the shared goal. But I also believe that the effective project manager should be intuitive to the people he/she selects for the team or who have been selected to his/her team. It would be to the advantage of the manager to place the correct people into the correct job OR into the correct working unit. It is unreasonable to think anyone can gauge how people will eventually act and work with each other, but a good manager should be able to be able to place varying strengths within working groups and know who the eventual A and B players will be. It is like designing a gameplan - putting forth the best poker hand you can with the cards available and seeing how they hold up in the game. I am not saying that the project manager should be a good poker player, but it would not hurt. Setting the project team up to get the best out of each member can move the project into the right direction from the start, satisfying the customer need and driving toward the common goal.

Project Management and Workplace politics. What do you think?

General

Written by Adobsessy Monday, 10 January 2011 19:52

We all must have faced the workplace politics in our careers but it is unfortunate that we do not teach Politics 101 in MBA's. I have followed some guidelines for myself while leading projects, which have worked pretty good for me so far. I would like to know what other things we can do handle workplace politics and general issues in Project management. What I have done to handle workplace politics are; 1. Always follow up with a written summary for all the corridor or coffee table discussions. 2. One should not Gossip. If team member complaints about the other person, the key is to just listen. It helps the other person to vent out and somtimes just that much is sufficient to resolve the issues. 3. Talk less and listen more. Think twice and then advice. 4. Cross cultural understanding of human behaviour is very important nowadays since teams are global and people in different countries think, live, work and communicate at different pitch. Understanding them is very important. Easiest way of learning culture of different countires is not by books, since they are very time consuming 'sometimes' but good movies from different countires helps a lot. It has helped me, even though some movies do not have subtitles but you get good idea about how people live and think in other countries. You get all the foriegn language movies in any of district libraries.
 

In your organization, how much time and effort is spent up-front planning a project? Why or why not? How can up-front planning be encouraged?

General

Written by Adobsessy Monday, 10 January 2011 19:52

It usually depends upon the kind of projects. Not much time is devoted to upfront planning for a project with too many unknowns variables since if we do not know we cannot plan. But not many projects are like that.

What documents are used in your organization to define project goals and scope? For scope & goals definitions some of the documents which are depending upon where I have worked as a consultant are Project Requirements Documents or Business Blueprint doc

General

Written by Adobsessy Monday, 10 January 2011 19:52

What documents are used in your organization to define project goals and scope? For scope & goals definitions some of the documents which are depending upon where I have worked as a consultant are Project Requirements Documents or Business Blueprint documents or Project Definition documents or Vision Document - different names but almost the same content.
 

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