This tutorial provides frequently asked Project Management interview questions and answers with explanations to help you prepare for the interview:
The project can be described as a series of tasks carried out in collaboration with stakeholders after research and design considerations, carefully planned by a team of experts, and led by the project manager to achieve a particular aim, goal, or outcome.
Companies invest heavily in projects with the consideration of growth and success. It is essential to plan and manage operations to successfully achieve expected deliverables and goals.
Project management is a process of applying the experience, knowledge, skills, and methods to achieve specific project objectives based on project acceptance criteria within parameters agreed upon.
What You Will Learn:
About Project Management
Project management has five stages – initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. The activities include identifying and managing risks, managing resources, smart budgeting, and clear communication across multiple teams and stakeholders.
The project manager needs to communicate with the stakeholders and then set realistic goals, budgets, and timelines, focusing clearly on objectives with an eye on potential risk factors.
By breaking down the project into clear assigned tasks, milestones, and deadlines, the project cost can be reduced with improved efficiency, mitigating risks, and optimizing resources project management ensures the successful completion and achievable goals for the project.
Frequently Asked Project Management Interview Questions
Q #1) List areas being managed under project management.
Answer: Following are nine areas that are being managed under project management
- Time management
Q #2) List essential skills required for the project manager?
Answer: Following are main seven skills that are essential:
- Effective Communication
- Scheduling and Time management
- Technical expertise
- Risk Management
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Q #3) What critical skills are required for a project manager to be successful?
Answer: Critical skills include:
- Communication and interpersonal skills: The ability to convey viewpoints, share them among the stakeholders and team. Working and leading a team is needed to ensure that team follows a plan designed by the project manager and approved by management.
- Ability to negotiate: Working with multiple stakeholders and a hierarchy of management, the skill of negotiation is essential to convince time, budget, and resources needed for accomplishing the project within the agreed timeline.
- Resolving Conflict: Every individual has different ways of doing the task and there can be situations that involve differences of opinion and the need to resolve conflict.
- Building commitment and sense of ownership among the team: While leading a team, all the team members should be committed and have a sense of ownership about the assigned task. The manager can develop this while working on the project.
Q #4) Who are the stakeholders for the project?
Answer: Stakeholders are of two kinds. We explained each of them below:
- Stakeholders are groups or individuals who have an interest in any activities or decisions of an organization, such as shareholders, investors, consumers, suppliers, and internal staff.
- Key project stakeholders are those who have authority and influence to dictate project to be successful or not. These are the group of individuals whose objectives should be satisfied. Even the project ran under budget and all deliverables were supplied in the time intervals agreed upon, if stakeholders are not happy or satisfied, the project is not successful.
Examples of key project stakeholders are explained below:
- Internal Staff is people from the organization that execute the project, such as the project manager, project team members, and program owner.
- Sponsors/Investors: These are financial institutions or funding agencies that support projects through funding. They have a stake in project success as well.
- Consumers/Suppliers and Shareholders are indirect beneficiaries of the project.
Q #5) Describe phases of the project life cycle.
Answer: The project life cycle is a framework for managing any type of project within a business. It consists of the following phases:
- Project Initiation starts with defining the goal and objective of the project through business use cases and a project feasibility report is designed.
- Project Planning where the project scope is defined by methodology and work breakdown structure, how to manage the project.
- In parallel cost, quality and resources are estimated,
- Project milestones, task dependencies, and schedules are identified.
- Project Execution begins with kick-off meetings, deliverables are completed in this phase and regular meetings with team members, and communication with the program owner giving project status reports.
- Monitoring and Controlling: Progress and performance are measured to keep information about the project with management and stakeholders.
- Project Closure: On receipt of the final deliverable by stakeholders, resources are released, contracts signed off and a study of project success and failure is carried out by analyzing the closure report.
Q #6) List the documents required during the project initiation phase.
Answer: During project initiation, the following documents are required:
- Project initiation document, a project guide that explains to everyone what is going on right from the beginning. The document gives justification for a project, what will be its objectives, and how the project will be organized.
- Business Case Document, which consists of financial justification, feasibility report, project budget approval, potential investments, and benefits that can be achieved from the project.
- Stakeholder Register that gives names, designation, interest, the current level of engagement, and powers of each of the stakeholders. It is like a repository where new stakeholders can be added even during the project life cycle.
- Project Chapter is another document that explains the project’s objective, scope, and constraints, along with the name of the project manager and sponsor agreed and signed on this document.
Q #7) What is the need for a requirement traceability matrix?
Answer: Requirement Traceability Matrix acts as a tool to maintain and identify the status of the project’s scope, deliverables, and requirements remain constant when compared to the baseline.
- RTM ensures by tracking all the requirements are being met by the current design and process.
- Assists while creating Project plan tasks, Requests for Proposals, Deliverable documents, and Test scripts.
- All system requirements have been met during the verification process.
Q #8) How do you handle conflict within your team?
Answer: This one is a trick question where the hiring manager in this specific position is looking for someone who can speak out his opinion, stand up for what he thinks is right. In other cases, employees need quick conflict resolution and settle with compromise.
Working as a manager in an organization, one has to face close monitoring from both higher management and the team reporting to him. It may face criticism if the manager does not perform, behave, and make the correct decisions on time.
Various scenarios/situations are enlisted that can be one or many of them:
- Promoting one to a senior position out of multiple suitable candidates.
- Key resource threatening to leave or overpowering other members.
- Dealing with older team members than your age.
- Team members are frustrated due to the continuous workload.
- Underperforming team members result in a delay in assigned tasks.
However, on a positive note, you can say I can try to know the root cause of conflict between the team members and speak with each one separately and understand the individual points of view.
Think rationally and bring both together by trying to resolve both and make them focus on goals set and individual progress rather than remain stressed during the work as a team.
Q #9) How important is budget management experience in project management?
Answer: Managing a project budget means controlling project costs within the budget that has been approved and making sure it does not exceed the limit set by management.
In real-time scenarios, circumstances change, costs fluctuate and project elements get derailed. Keeping accounting for these aspects throughout the project’s life is essential for effective budget management.
Allocation of the correct amount and preventing unnecessary expenses is an essential skills for budgeting in project management. This will save energy and protect the project manager from anxiety, uncertainty, and negative consequences by investing time to plan effectively estimate the project cost.
Q #10) Explain Cost variance in project management
Answer: Financial performance evaluation process for the project is known as Cost Variance. It compares the budget approved for the project before its start and what amount was spent during project execution.
In simple words, the difference between what you expected to spend versus what you spent.
The difference between the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP) and the Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP) is Cost Variance. In the ideal case, Cost Variance is when both ACWP and BCWP match each other. The project is over budget when cost variance is negative.
Q #11) What will you do if a project is off schedule?
Answer: Following are actions the project manager should consider:
- Identify the reasons
- Analyze pending activities
- Confirm project objectives
- Design risk management plan
- Hold a mid-term kick-off session
- Possible options to bring back the project within the schedule like
- Make the team work overtime
- Extend the deadline
- Change the scope of the project
- Recruit more resources
Q #12) What is Schedule Variance in project management?
Answer: The measure that calculates how much a project is ahead or behind schedule is termed as Schedule Variance (SV) by the project manager. This measure will help to determine utilizing the remaining resources.
The difference between planned value and earned value is known as schedule variance.
Positive SV means the project is ahead of schedule, negative SV means the project is behind schedule.
Q #13) Explain how you will manage projects remotely while working from home?
Answer: Working with teams at different remote locations or working from home managing team members located at different remote locations has challenges such as motivating the team at regular intervals and understanding their concerns by way of communication.
Remote teams are more affordable to the companies than on-site ones. Employees can save time, money, and hassle of daily commute and concentrate more on work being productive.
Communication with the team, scheduling time for daily meetings based on different time zone, and managing workload are challenging for project managers.
Selection of suitable project management methodology for managing remote workload, scheduling sprint planning, daily stand-up, sprint review meets and retrospectives in agile work culture should be carried out with the team using various tools.
Following are some tools that provide a platform for conferencing with teams and clients:
- Zoom Meetings
- Microsoft Teams,
- Google Workspace
- Webex Meetings
Q #14) Explain what tools can manage remote teams?
Answer: Following are the list of tools that are used in managing remote team members:
- Asana: A single platform to plan, discuss work with the team, and check their progress.
- Basecamp: Assists in organizing and tracking the tasks assigned across remote teams.
- Buffer: Helps to connect with team members, generate leads and prospective clients across social media handles.
- GoToMeeting: This can be implemented as a fast, reliable online meeting solution with clients and remote team members.
- IDoneThis: Helps to identify completed and pending activities, assign tasks, due dates, and track progress.
- Jira Software: A single platform to plan, track, release and report user stories, epic, defects, and other tasks in the agile development environment.
- Slack: Used as an instant messaging interface between stakeholders and team.
Also Read =>> Free and Commercial Project Management Apps
Q #15) How can you collect project requirements?
Answer: Following are some of the techniques:
- Document analysis
- Focus Group
- Requirement analysis
- Interface analysis
Q #16) When would you escalate an issue?
Answer: It becomes necessary to escalate an issue to higher management when
- The project may get delayed or the budget can exceed.
- The work can increase significantly due to scope creep and can become not manageable.
- You were not successful in trying other strategies to resolve.
- You have already compromised with the situation and solution for the issue but found it to be a not workable resolution.
You should follow these steps while escalating the issue:
- Acknowledge the problem before escalating the issue.
- Find out what can solve the problem.
- Collect evidence of the issue.
- Know to whom the issue should be escalated.
- Explain the issue.
Q #17) How will you handle scope creep?
Answer: Scope creep is when a goal, vision, or project requirements change beyond what was agreed or accepted originally at the start. To avoid scope creep, there should be check-ins during daily scrum or stand-up meetings.
The questions should be raised to understand scope creep, such as
- List the activities/tasks completed.
- What is the task at hand/working on right now?
- What difficulties do you face we can help to overcome?
It is best practice to refuse the additional tasks that result in scope creep, to protect the quality and delivery commitments of a project.
Q #18) What will you do if a team member is underperforming?
Answer: When employee quality of work decreases below the required level, for example
- The employee fails to execute duties that are of expected standards.
- His/her conduct is disruptive, negative, or unacceptable.
- Employees do not comply with rules, policies, or procedures.
There can be many reasons for employee underperforming, such as lack of skills, job dissatisfaction, stressful work environment, insufficient onboarding training, and/or personal issues.
- Recognize signs of underperformance.
- Conduct meetings to discuss what causes employees to underperform.
- Explain the job expectations.
- Understand what employee expectations from the job.
- Design the action plan together with the employee.
- Ensure regular follow-ups and check-ins on the plan and progress.
- Recognize progress and appreciate the employee.
- Learning on the job – improves performance.
- Providing constructive feedback to the employee.
- Encourage healthy work-life balance.
Q #19) Describe Cost-benefit analysis.
Answer: Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a tool that evaluates the cost of a project versus benefits received by beneficiaries from the project.
Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) lists
- All the expenses and tangible benefits from the project,
- Followed by calculation of return on investment (ROI),
- Internal Rate of Return (IRR),
- Net Present Value (NPV) and payback period.
The cost of the project should be less than 50% of the benefits and the payback period should not exceed one year.
Q #20) Explain Change management in the project management
Answer: Anything due to which changes are needed that impacts processes, structure, tasks, and job functions of the project are known as change management.
There can be a dedicated team or the project manager himself can monitor and make sure that change is incorporated into their practices to achieve the project overall objectives.
For example, the introduction of a new tool – the change team will make sure the training of team members and tracking of the implementation of the tool into the project by the team.
The change management team will include managers who convince members of tendency or resistance to change and adopt change. Sponsors guide and lead by using the change in their system to set an example. Change practitioners create integration plans.
Q #21) Explain different types of Change management in the project.
Answer: Following are various types of Change management:
- Anticipatory: Planning for changes in advance of the expected situation. For example, one of the technicians/developers resigned from the company.
- Reactive: When an unforeseen event occurs – A crisis that often occurs, such as feature malfunction during project demonstration to the client, a project manager has to choose a reactive approach and fix the issue ASAP by fixing the issue or workaround for the situation.
- Incremental: Gradual changes are introduced over an extended period such as adding new features in an existing application, such as showing the Gantt chart in the project management application. There is a chance of scope creep that is closely linked to incremental change.
- Strategic: The change is large enough that is impactful that affects the direction of the organization. This will lead to modifying the original project plan.
Introducing some features in the application such as
- Gantt charts – for an interactive timeline and project milestone updates.
- Kanban boards for tracking project progress and addressing any project roadblocks in advance.
- Templates and calendars for a uniform look and feel and verify the schedule.
Q #22) Explain agile methodology in project management.
Answer: Agile methodology of project management is the way to manage the complex project by breaking the tasks into intervals of 1 to 4 weeks known as Sprint working in collaboration and iteration to accomplish the small do-able tasks.
These tasks can be completed by implementing various values and frameworks, such as Scrum, Kanban, Extreme programming, and adaptive project framework.
Q #23) Describe steps taken for risk planning.
Answer: Any uncertain condition or event that adversely affects one or multiple project objectives like (cost, scope, performance, or time) is known as risk.
Planning for the risk is a process that identifies how to carry out activities of risk management.
Following are five risk management components:
- Identifying the risk
- Risk Analysis
- Resource planning
- Risk mitigation
- Monitoring risk
Q #24) What do you know about the triple constraint triangle of project management?
Answer: Triple constraint triangle in project management indicates that the success of the project is impacted by its Cost, Scope, and Time.
Following are examples of trade-offs between the above three.
- Time and Scope: If the project scope is reduced, you can reduce project duration if you are running behind schedule. Similarly, if stakeholders come up with additional project activities you can increase the timeline of the project to accommodate these activities.
- Cost and Scope: If the project scope is reduced, i.e. execution of fewer activities or tasks results in a lower cost of the project. In the opposite case, projects with extended scope will cost higher.
- Cost and Time: There is a direct relation between project cost and duration of the project. The rent of hiring the workers for a longer duration will be high.
Q #25) Describe the Gantt chart and its importance in project management.
Answer: Gantt Charts show dependencies between tasks, track schedules, manage project timelines.
As seen in the diagram, you can find a list of activities on the left side of the chart, along the top is the timeline there is a bar for each of the activities with start date, duration, and end of the activity represented by position and length of this bar.
The Gantt chart shows the following details:
- What are various activities in the project?
- When each of the activities has begun and ended.
- How long will each activity is scheduled for
- What are the activities overlapping each other and their percentage?
- Start and End of the entire project.
Q #26) What are the possible alternatives to the Gantt chart in project management?
Answer: Alternative to Gantt Chart are listed below:
- Kanban board
- Scrum board
- Project management timeline
- Project network diagram
- Cross-functional flowchart
- Project checklist
Project management is crucial and requires detailed understanding and capability to control various areas from coordination, cost, communication, resource, risk, and time management during the project life cycle.
The project in charge should be aware of various terminologies used and their calculations, tools used to record project planning, execution, and observations, and analysis, connecting and monitoring the progress of remote teams, resolving various issues like underperforming resource, scope creep, and escalation of issues to management.
These are some of the key factors discussed in interview questions for a project management position.