How Do You Manage Team Members That Are Not Working To Their Full Potential
Sometimes, no matter how much due diligence you put into assembling a skilled and experienced project team, someone underperforms or creates conflicts. While the project is rolling, you dont have time to stop and tweak your team. Rather, the project manager must use problem-solving techniques and communication skills to deal with the problem. This comes up with even the best project team, so any capable project manager would know how to nip underperformance in the bud.
List Of Project Manager Interview Questions: Technical Skills Questions
Your project management skills and expertise will be put to the test in the interview. A good Project Manager must have a range of technical skills, so expect interview questions for a project management position to cover a spectrum of project management knowledge.
For a project manager interview question targeting technical skills, you could expect to be asked:
Tell Me About A Time When Your Stakeholders Didnt Agree On A Project How Did You Proceed
Other versions of this question:
- Tell me about your experience managing up to senior stakeholders.
- How do you encourage cooperation on your teams?
- Which soft skills are most important for a good project manager to have?
Monster.com notes that companies are interested in project managers who can inspire cooperation between all parties.
Interviewers should ask this question to draw out stories that will reveal whether the candidate has the necessary soft skills for the job. Try to deduce insights about the subjects personality, priorities, and skills. Past work experience tends to foreshadow future work behaviors.
Strong candidates will have stories about former project management roles and use them as a confirmation of their mediation skills, making sure to give context, outline the actions they took in response, and then explain the results of their actions.
One of my favorite questions is Tell me about the most challenging project youve ever lead and how you overcame challenges issues? Then let them talk. Ill jot down a couple follow-up questions, but that question has uncovered a lot for me, says Jason Orloske, a VP of operations in Fargo, ND.
Be wary of candidates who cant come up with a specific experience to refer to, answer vaguely, or boast about a situation that they handled poorly, such as treating someone harshly for an honest mistake.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Evidence of a soft touch that can be used to resolve conflicts and mediate between parties.
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What Is The Role Of A Critical Path In Project Planning
The critical path is crucial for effective project planning as it helps in determining the best possible timeline for completing the project by outlining the sequence of dependent tasks that forms the longest duration. Identifying, managing, and monitoring the critical path and ensuring all its activities arent delayed is vital for completing the project within the deadline.
What Is Software Development Life Cycle
So, to answer this question correctly, you need to name the main phases of an IT project.
For example, it might be:
But, whats more important, you need to understand what happens in these phases. You need to visualize and see what challenges, what kinds of work occur in those phases.
Interviewers will test your knowledge on how to deal with these challenges.
I have an in-depth article about the software development life cycle. Do read it as well.
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How Do You Ensure That Your Project Is On Schedule To Meet The Deadline
What theyre asking: You need to live and breathe deadlinesyou know that much. The employers goal with this question is simple: They want to confirm that youre someone who can deliver a project on time and on budget.
How to answer: Start by recognizing that even the best-laid plans experience a curveball every now and thenevery realistic project manager knows that. Then, explain in detail your typical approach to ensure that projects run smoothly. Try something like this:
“Meeting deadlines involves a balance of scope management and schedule management. First and foremost, I ensure that the team has a solid grasp of the scope of the project. Everybody needs to understand what needs to be done before it can be done on time. Then, I move on to schedule management, including time management processes required to complete the project by the deadline. I think its important to make sure these processes and a detailed schedule are somewhere that the entire project team can easily access, so theres no confusion or question about when pieces need to be delivered. Of course, this schedule is flexible and will likely change as circumstances arise. But, thats why I also think its important to frequently check in on progress and roadblocks to make sure things are coming together in accordance with the process and timeline.”
How To Manage Risk
To begin managing risk, its crucial to start with a clear and precise definition of what your project has been tasked to deliver. In other words, write a very detailed project charter, with your project vision, objectives, scope and deliverables. This way risks can be identified at every stage of the project. Then youll want to engage your team early in identifying any and all risks.
Dont be afraid to get more than just your team involved to identify and prioritize risks, too. Many project managers simply email their project team and ask to send them things they think might go wrong on the project. But to better plot project risk, you should get the entire project team, your clients representatives, and vendors into a room together and do a risk identification session.
With every risk you define, youll want to log it somewhereusing a risk tracking template helps you prioritize the level of risk. Then, create a risk management plan to capture the negative and positive impacts to the project and what actions you will take to deal with them. Youll want to set up regular meetings to monitor risk while your project is ongoing. Transparency is critical.
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What Do You Think Is An Important Skill For A Project Manager To Have In Order To Succeed
This is, in fact, a personal question, so your answer will differ based on your job experience. Think back to your own career and past projects and reflect on why your best projects were so successful. Once you do dial in on a skill let’s say, communication be sure as you answer this question to not only explain why it’s an important quality for any PM to have, but also illustrate why it’s an area you excel. Even if an interview doesn’t include this specific question, it’s a wise exercise for any job candidate to think about his or her top skills and how they bring value to companies.
- Whats your ideal project?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you think is an important skill for a Project Manager to have in order to succeed?
- What kinds of projects interest you the most? Why?
- What part of the project management process do you enjoy most?
- Why do you want to work with this company?
- What are the three words that describe you best?
- Why should we hire you?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
How Have You Improved The Project Management Processes At Your Current Company
A project manager may have not had the chance to overall companies project management processes. However, they still should have made suggestions in previous roles that can help improve overall performance and efficiency.
You want to search for a project manager that has fresh ideas and is not afraid to suggest them to upper management.
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Briefly Explain The Process Ofrisk Management
Here, the interviewer will try to assess the extent to which you understand the risk management process and risk management framework.
Tip 1: State the steps involved in riskmanagement
Tip 2: Give weight to your answer by brieflyexplaining each step
Although different termsare used to describe the process of risk management, the main steps involved inthe process are:
Pm Job Interview Question #: Do You Have Outsource Personnel Or Supplier Management Experience
Managing outsource personnel or supplier is a different project management skill. If you are applying to a company that works with outsourcing personnel or suppliers, this project manager interview question will be an elective one.
If you have a project management experience in a vendor, most probably, you will have outsource and supplier management experience as well.
Let us first define what outsource and supplier is. Outsource personnel is hired or acquired by a company only for a limited time or for a specific project. For instance, assume that you are installing a database for a utility service provider in the scope of your project. You need a database administrator for this work. However, your company does not have a full-time database administrator. You have to hire or outsource the database administrator for a limited time to work for your project.
Suppliers are material, equipment, tools, etc. providers of your project. In your project, if you need database servers, and if these servers will be provided by a 3rd party company, this company is the supplier of your project.
After defining outsource and supplier management, letâs go through a sample answer for this project manager interview question.
The answer clearly shows the outsource and supplier management of the project manager interview participant.
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The Elements Of A Project Plan
The project planning process already discussed only scratches the surface of what is a deep well of practices created to control your project. They start with dialogue speaking to stakeholders, teams, et al.
The deliverable for your planning phase is a document called the project plan. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge Fifth Edition says that the project plan is made up of lots of subsidiary plans. These include:
- A project scope statement to define all the tasks and deliverables that are needed to complete the project
- A risk management plan for dealing with project risk including the processes for logging and tracking risks
- A change management plan to manage any changes that will be made to the project plan
- A cost management plan for managing costs and the budgeting elements of the project including any procurements or supplier engagements you might have
- A resource management plan for managing the material resources such as equipment and the human resources on the team both in terms of availability and skills
- A stakeholder management plan setting out who is going to receive messages about the project, when and in what format
- A quality plan that specifies the quality targets for the project
Thats a lot of documentation.
Suppose The Project Has Gone Off The Rails What Steps Would You Take To Get It Back On Track
Once you realize a project is not going as per the pre-planned time, budget, scope, or goals, the next top priority is to get it back on track. The project manager should be efficient enough to take the necessary steps to resolve the discrepancy between actual progress and planned progress. Your answer to this project management interview question may include re-adjusting resource management, finding the real cause of off-tracking, putting in extra effort, and more.
When A Project Hits Roadblock And Doesnt Go According To Schedule What Actions Do You Take
Interview Question Intent
Similar to the off-track project question, the interviewer is assessing your analysis skills and leadership skills to resolve project roadblocks.
Interview Answer Guidance
Avoid providing a generic answer and instead ask about the context of the question. Is the interviewer referring to a specific roadblock for a project they are experiencing? If you have more context, you can provide a more specific answer.
In general, once a roadblock occurs, I bring the team together, identify the root cause of the issue and build a plan to resolve the issue. I also ensure the issue is appropriately communicated in the project status report and in a portfolio review. If the roadblock is significant enough, Ill escalate to the stakeholder and my immediate management for support.
Roadblocks can be found in executing purchase agreements, signing contracts, resolving a technical issue or depending on another team to do work yet they havent delivered to their commitments. Your past project history will provide a wealth of examples.
How To Answer How Do You Handle Stress
To answer this question successfully, you’ll want to provide specific examples of how you’ve handled stress well in the past. You might also provide examples of times when pressure actually made you work more productively.
Be careful how you respond. If you say you get stressed when you’re given multiple projects, and you know the job will require you to juggle many assignments at once, youll look like you’re not a good fit for the position.
Consider mentioning how a little stress can be a helpful motivator for you. Try to provide an example of a time when the stress of a difficult project helped you be a more creative and productive worker.
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Have You Managed A Project In This Industry Before
Although it seems like a simple yes or no answer, there is a lot more to it than that. First of all, youre unlikely to get the job if the answer is no because there will be far more experienced candidates. Assuming the answer is yes, you have to expand on it by outlining your relevant experience, and the results of the project.
For instance, you could say that as project manager for Acme Enterprises, I was in charge of a multifaceted and diverse team and charged with meeting a strict deadline on a truncated budget. Feel free to discuss the results of the project but make sure you have evidence to back up your claims.
How Will You Manage Underperforming Team Members
A PM must keep a close observation of the performance of every team member to get a thorough idea of what is going on in the team.
Ways in which a PM should try to deal with an underperforming team member are:
- Have a direct and informal conversation and take an empathetic approach to understand the underlying cause.
- Offer meaningful help, encouragement, and training to motivate the underperforming team member.
- Analyze if there is a possibility to change the role of that particular team member within the same project after assessing their capabilities.
- Observe if the underperforming resource can be changed with a capable one.
Ultimately, the project manager should strike a balance between the project success and supporting the underperforming team member to raise the bar of their performance.
What Are The Details That A Project Plan Should Include
A project plan is a blueprint that includes detailed information about how the project will be executed, monitored, and closed. It comprises the project scope, schedule, cost estimates, and budget constraints known as project baselines. A project plan is prepared by the PM with the help of inputs given by the core team members involved in designing various components of the plan.
What Are Interviewers Looking For In Project Managers
Project managers work across industries and in so many contexts that each role is a little different from the next. Make sure you look closely at the specific requirements and responsibilities in the job description for the role youre interviewing for. At the same time, there are some more universal qualities interviewers are looking for, including:
Sometimes an interviewer will ask you directly about these skills and qualities, but you should also be prepared to demonstrate them throughout your interview. Here are some common questions youre likely to get in a project management interviewplus advice on how to showcase your strengths in your answers and examples of what that might sound like in practice.
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Adjust Plan As Needed
No plan remains the same throughout a project. Things happen and changes are demanded. Therefore, being able to edit your plan easily is key to the project planning process.
Edit your plan on the Gantt by a simple drag and drop. Move the old date to the new date and not only is that task fixed, but any impacted tasks are also updated automatically.
ProjectManager is an award-winning software that helps managers plan and helps teams get organized. Gantt charts control all aspects of your project plan from scheduling to assigning tasks and even monitoring progress. Multiple project views provide transparency into workflow and give everyone the tools they need to be at their best.
The project manager is responsible for producing the project plan, and while you cant make up all the content yourself, youll be the one banging the keys to type it all out. Use templates where you can to save time. Download our free project plan template and write your plan in double-quick time!