Project Management Interview Questions and Answers

Every business needs to be managed to run smoothly without any hurdles. It enables the team to stay focused on the work, away from distractions, staying within the budget, etc. Here is where a project manager plays an important role in managing the project. So there is a huge demand for project management professionals with a number of job opportunities in various businesses. If you are an individual interested in becoming a project manager and seeking for the frequently asked project management interview questions and answers, this article is for you.

We have curated these project management frequently asked interview questions with the help of industry experts and recruiters of project management professionals. So there are chances that you may come across these questions in your interview. Just go through them at least once before you attend your interview.

Most Frequently Asked Project Management Interview Questions

1. How do you define an ideal project?


Determining an ideal project is difficult because it depends on the organization's goals and objectives as well as the particular project at hand. 

But some essential traits of a perfect project could be:

  • Clear Goals and Objectives: The ideal project should have well-defined, specific, measurable, doable, timely, relevant goals and objectives.
  • Adequate Resources: To ensure that a project can be completed successfully, it is ideal to have enough funding, time, and human resources.
  • Effective Communication: In project management, communication is essential, and the best projects have open, transparent, and efficient channels of communication between the team and all stakeholders.
  • Risk management: Projects should have a clear risk management strategy that includes the identification, evaluation, and mitigation of potential risks.
  • Quality Control: In order to ensure that the project produces high-quality results that meet or exceed stakeholder expectations, the ideal project should place a strong emphasis on quality control. This includes clearly defined quality standards and processes.

A project that is well-planned, well-executed, and that yields the desired results within the confines of time, budget, and quality standards is the ideal project.

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2. Explain a project’s life cycle?


The stages that a project goes through from its inception to its completion are referred to as its life cycle.

  • Project Initiation: Project initiation is the first stage, during which the idea for the project is developed and its viability is established. It includes identifying the project's goals, key players, and the charter. The project scope, resources, schedule, and deliverables should all be specified in the project charter.
  • Planning: The project team creates a thorough project plan during this stage, outlining the project's activities, deadlines, resources, and risks. A thorough project schedule, a resource plan, a risk management plan, and a communication plan should all be included in the plan.
  • Execution: This is the phase during which the project's actual work is completed.The project team completes the tasks and activities outlined in the project plan. During this phase, the project will also be monitored for progress and any necessary adjustments will be made.
  • Monitoring and Control: The project team monitors the project's progress during this phase, comparing actual to anticipated progress, and corrective action is taken as needed. The project team should monitor project risks as well as take steps to reduce them.
  • Project Closure: The project is now officially finished and handed over to the stakeholders at this point in the process. The project team should compile a project closure report and lessons learned from the project.

Stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and effective communication are crucial to the project's success at every stage of its life cycle.

3. Define Planned Value, Actual Cost, and Earned Value?

Three essential project management metrics are Earned Value, Actual Cost, and Planned Value. They are used to monitor a project's progress. They are frequently used in tandem to give a complete picture of a project's performance.

Planned Value (PV), also referred to as Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS), is the estimated cost of work that is anticipated to be completed up to a specific date. It is the sum of money set aside in the project budget for the work that must be completed within a specific time frame. PV, which is typically expressed in monetary terms, is used to compare the project's progress to its budget and schedule projections.

Actual Cost (AC), also referred to as Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP), is the actual cost incurred up until a certain point in time to complete the work. This includes all project-related expenses, both direct and indirect, such as labor, supplies, and overhead.

Earned Value (EV), also referred to as Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP), is the value of the work that has been finished as of a specific date. It is the sum of money obtained through finishing the task that was intended to be accomplished.

4. What is a Fishbone diagram and when to use it?


A fishbone diagram is a tool for determining a problem's cause and effect. The name of the diagram comes from how much it resembles a fish's skeleton. The illustration is also occasionally referred to as an Ishikawa diagram or a cause-and-effect diagram. The potential causes of a problem are outlined in fishbone diagrams. The potential causes can then be further investigated, and potential solutions can then be developed. Fishbone diagrams can be used in any situation where root cause analysis is required, but they are most frequently used in manufacturing and quality control.

5. How do you draw a fishbone diagram?


There are many different ways to construct a fishbone diagram, but the most common approach is to use the following five steps:

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Draw a diagram with a “head” and “bones”.
  3. Identify the major categories of causes.
  4. Identify the specific causes within each category.
  5. Draw arrows to show the relationships between the causes.

6. What is RAID in project management and why is it necessary to create a RAID log?


Project managers use the RAID (Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies) log to identify and monitor risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies. Project managers can proactively manage and mitigate risks, monitor assumptions and dependencies, and address problems as they arise by tracking these items. A RAID log can help ensure the success of your project and is a best practice in project management.

7. In the post-COVID-19 world, working from home is now considered normal. How well-equipped are you to lead a remote team?


Today's project managers are expected to manage teams remotely and frequently select their teams from a global workforce. You should have the knowledge and abilities necessary to collaborate virtually with team members. It necessitates a different management approach. In order to effectively manage people and resources in a remote environment, you should clearly describe the project management methodology in your response to this project management interview question.

8. What does the project management term


The triple constraint triangle is a tool used in project management to help identify the three main factors that must be considered when planning a project: scope, time, and cost. By understanding how these three factors are interrelated, project managers can more effectively plan and execute a project. The triple constraint triangle is sometimes also referred to as the iron triangle or project triangle.

9. Let's say the project has gotten off track. What actions would you take to reorient it?


The next top priority is to get the project back on track once you realize it is not progressing according to the pre-planned time, budget, scope, or goals. The project manager should be capable of taking the necessary action to close the gap between actual and anticipated progress. Your response to this project management interview question could involve changing resource allocation, identifying the real reason for off-tracking, exerting more effort, and other options.

10. How do you define Project Scope Management?


The process of defining and recording the work necessary to complete a project is known as project scope management. The project's goals, demands, and deliverables must all be identified and recorded. It also entails deciding which tasks must be finished and who will be in charge of each one. To keep a project on schedule and within budget, project scope management is crucial. Without effective scope management, a project can easily experience scope creep, which makes it costlier and takes longer than anticipated.

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11. Describe CMM.


CMM stands for Capability Maturity Model, which has five levels.

  1. Initial: A new process's starting point.
  2. Repeatable: Repetition of any process is implied by the term "repeatable."
  3. Defined: It contains documentation of the accepted standards and practices.
  4. Managed: This refers to a process that has been measured and managed.
  5. Optimization: The highest level of process maturity in the CMM is optimization, which includes process improvement.

12. How do you handle any changes?


Unexpected events may arise once the project is under way and necessitate modifying the original project plan. These adjustments might be made to the project's scope, schedule, or budget.

If the project needs to be changed, the project manager will collaborate with the team to evaluate the changes' effects and decide how to best handle them. After that, the project manager will create a plan for putting the changes into practice and submit it for the client's approval. The project manager will collaborate with the team to put the changes into action after the client has approved the strategy.

13. Which approach do you take to reduce project-related risks?


There are risks in every project, and sometimes they exist before you even start. You need to be able to give the interviewer enough details about the various fields you can work in so that risks are apparent.

14. How do three-point estimating techniques work?


Three different estimates are used for a single project variable in the estimation technique known as "three-point estimating." The best-case, worst-case, and most likely case scenarios are represented by the three estimates. This technique is frequently applied to project variables like project duration and cost that are challenging to estimate.

Determine the best case, worst case, and most likely case estimates before calculating the three-point estimate. Then, utilize the formula below to determine the weighted average of these three estimates:

(Best case + 4 x most likely case + worst case) / 6 is the weighted average.

15. Do you prefer working on one project at a time or several projects concurrently?


Always be enthusiastic when speaking to the interviewer, but also be sincere. Say that you prefer multiple projects if you believe you can manage more than one.

16. Which ability is necessary for a project manager to succeed?


There is no definitive response to this query because successful project managers possess a variety of skills. But there are some abilities that are necessary for all project managers, such as the capacity for effective teamwork and communication, the capacity for creative problem-solving, and the capacity for organization and deadline adherence.

All project managers who want to succeed must possess these three skills, even though different project managers will have varying strengths and skills.

17. How will you respond if a project fails as a project manager?


As a project manager, how will you react if a project is unsuccessful?

One of the most difficult things a project manager has to deal with is failing projects. You have to figure out what went wrong and how to keep it from happening again in addition to dealing with the team's disappointment.

A failed project can be approached in a few different ways. Determine what went wrong with the project in the first place. Was it poor execution, poor planning, or something else entirely? Once the root cause is identified, you can take action to stop it from happening again.

Debriefing the team and going over what went wrong are additional crucial steps. This is an opportunity for everyone to gain knowledge from the errors that were made. Finally, you need to come up with a strategy for how to proceed. This might entail starting over or making some adjustments to the current plan.

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18. What do you do if you or your team miss the project's deadline or spending limit?


There are a few steps a project manager can take when a project misses a deadline or budget. It's crucial to assess the situation and determine the root of the problem first. Once the root cause has been identified, the project manager can develop a plan to restart the project. The project might need to be redesigned to fit a more reasonable timeline, or the team might need to find ways to work more efficiently.

Keeping stakeholders informed of the situation and the project manager's plan of action is also essential. Any project's success depends on the support of the stakeholders, and their trust and confidence must be upheld.A project manager can restart a project and prevent any long-term harm to their career if they can successfully navigate these difficulties.

19. How should you respond to a dissatisfied client?


As the project manager, it is your duty to keep the client happy. The project deliverables occasionally fall short of the clients' expectations, though. In these circumstances, the techniques listed below are useful:

  • Regularly communicate with your clients
  • Before addressing them, consider their concerns.
  • Find a balance between the needs.
  • correctly evaluating and arguing over their expectations
  • Ask questions and provide the desired answers.

20. What method do you employ to settle disagreements within the team?


Here, the interviewer is attempting to determine your capacity for neutrality and conflict resolution. You can give explanations for why it's crucial to understand both points of view and hear both sides out. Your answer should detail how you can influence both parties to make a choice that is advantageous to the project at hand and results in a win-win situation. It would also be beneficial if you could describe how you ensure that neither of them benefits at the expense of the other.

21. The finished products are rejected by a client. As a project manager, what will you do?


If a client rejects the final deliverables, you will need to take action as the project manager. There are several potential causes for this, including work errors or deliverables that fall short of the customer's expectations.

If this occurs, you will have to collaborate with the team to make the necessary adjustments. After making the necessary adjustments, you must resubmit the work to the client for approval.

To deliver the finished product after receiving approval, you must first ascertain whether the clients have any additional requirements, discuss them with the internal team, and share the costs with them. 

To make sure the customer is happy with the outcome, it is crucial to maintain open lines of communication with them throughout the process.

22. How do you define processes and process groups in a project management framework?


Sequential and concurrent process groups are the two varieties of process groups used in project management. Groups with sequential processes are those in which one process must finish before the next can start. For instance, the requirements gathering phase of a software development project must be finished before the design phase can start. When processes can be completed simultaneously, they are referred to as concurrent process groups. For instance, during a construction project, foundation work and excavation can both be completed simultaneously.

Additionally, processes can be categorized as primary or secondary. The project must successfully complete all primary processes in order for it to be considered successful.Secondary processes are those that aren't crucial to the project's success but could still be useful.

23. What methods can you employ to specify a project's scope?


These various concepts, such as Product Breakdown, Requirement Analysis, Systems Engineering, Systems Analysis, Value Engineering, Value Analysis, and Alternatives Analysis, can all be explained in relation to defining the project's scope.

You can also define the scope of a project using a variety of different methods. The most popular methods include gap analysis, business process mapping, and requirements gathering.

The process of gathering and recording the precise project requirements is known as requirements gathering. Interviews, surveys, focus groups, and other techniques can be used to accomplish this.

A method for identifying and outlining the various steps in a business process is called business process mapping. This can be useful in comprehending a project's scope and locating potential improvement areas.

Gap analysis is a method that can be used to compare a business process's current state to its ideal state. This can assist in locating process gaps that must be filled in order to accomplish the project's objectives.

24. How do you motivate the team to meet the project's expectations and desired goals?


A team can be motivated in a variety of ways to meet project expectations and desired goals. 

As a project manager, you should:

  • Define the team's expectations and goals clearly.
  • Regularly communicate with the team to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Provide the team with sufficient resources and support.
  • Throughout the project, inspire and motivate the group.

You can make sure that your team meets the project expectations and desired goals by taking the steps outlined above.

25. How do you avoid gold plating?


To avoid gold plating, the top management should first steer clear of anything above the requirements and scope baseline.

Second, we need to take a broad look at the project's scope. An impartial auditor or inspector can quickly spot gold plating by comparing the deliverables to the project scope's baseline.

26. Why do you believe you are a goal-driven person?


You must show that you are a goal-driven individual with the ability to lead the project in accordance with the intended strategy because having a strong sense of purpose at work increases productivity.

You should respond appropriately when the recruiter asks you this question during the project management interview round by citing instances from the past that show how you:

  • Split up large projects into sprints
  • Make good use of your time.
  • Put everything in writing.
  • Plan your work and inspire your team.
  • assign the task
  • Request/offer constructive criticism

Also mention your past project delivery methods, strategies, etc., as doing so will reassure interviewers that you are goal-driven.

27. How do you manage your team's workload?


It is your responsibility as the project manager to make sure that everyone on your team is operating effectively and efficiently. To achieve this, one strategy is to control their workload. You can make sure that everyone is on track and that no one is feeling overwhelmed by keeping track of their tasks and assignments.

The workload on your team can be managed in a few different ways. To create and manage tasks, you can use a piece of software like Asana or Trello. Or you can just maintain a running list of tasks and assignments in an Excel or Google Doc. Whatever approach you decide on, be sure to communicate your team's deadlines and expectations clearly.

Another important thing to remember is that your team members are not robots. They are people with separate lives from their jobs. Make sure to include some flexibility in their workload as a result.

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28. When would you escalate a problem?


I would consider voicing a concern at work when

  • There may be a project delay or cost overrun as a result of the problem.
  • I’ve tried to reach an agreement and a common ground with all parties concerned.
  • I’ve tried a variety of approaches in the past to resolve the problem without success.
  • Me and my team members are required to do a significant amount of additional work as a result of the problem.

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29. How do you differentiate project monitoring and controlling?


Project monitoring is a proactive process that is carried out throughout the project lifecycle to identify potential issues and mitigate risks, which is the primary distinction between project monitoring and controlling. On the other hand, project controlling is a corrective procedure that is carried out after problems have already occurred.

Tracking project milestones, reviewing deliverables, and examining project performance metrics are all part of project monitoring. The goal of project monitoring is to identify issues early on so that they can be resolved before they cause major problems.

On the other hand, project controlling is a procedure used to address problems with projects that have already arisen. This might entail changing the project schedule, and the budget, or undertaking other corrective measures.

Getting the project back on track and making sure it is completed are the two main objectives of project control.

30. According to formal theories of motivation, what formal tactics can you employ to inspire a team?


A project manager is in charge of consistently motivating the whole team. The following motivation theories are helpful for project success:

  • McGregor's Postulate 
  • McClelland's Hypothesis
  • Motivation Theory of Maslow
  • Hertzberg Vroom's Prediction Theory

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Research Analyst
As a content writer at HKR trainings, I deliver content on various technologies. I hold my graduation degree in Information technology. I am passionate about helping people understand technology-related content through my easily digestible content. My writings include Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Python, Salesforce, Servicenow and etc.

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