Project Management Interview Questions

Interviews are hard when you are out of job & quite enjoyable otherwise. I hope you are here to prepare for an interview either you are a hiring manager or the candidate itself. Here, I have compiled the most important Project Management Interview Questions. I have gathered this data mostly from my personal experience, LinkedIn & as well as from colleagues.

I have divided this into sections;

  • Interview Questions for a Project Manager
  • Interview Questions for a Project Coordinator
  • Interview Questions for a Construction Manager
  • Interview Questions for a Project Engineer

As I do believe these are the most common and authentic roles on a project in the Project Management point of view.

Sample Question
What are the relationships among triple Constraints that is Scope Budget & Schedule?

Scope always drives the budget & the schedule. If you are want to build a big building then you must have more budget first. Then you will define the time and schedule ultimately. If your budget/schedule does not permit then build a smaller one. Agile or waterfall has no control over scope versus budget/schedule relationship.

Interview Questions for a Project Manager

This is one of the top positions in any given project. This guy has the charter to deal with the resources of a Project and ultimately is responsible to utilize ineffective manner or accountable otherwise.

The questions to be asked most of the time are situational that is usually to judge communication skills, leadership & Managerial skills at some time. As in Project Management, you know higher the position requires less technical skills but high Leadership skills.

Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Question-1: Tell us about the major projects you have managed?

Answer: My major projects include a Tower project where I handled 15 contractors in parallel. It was worth of 300 Million USD. This was much versatile in scope wise.

Question-2: How you rate yourself as a project manager from 1-5 star.

Answer: Well, this is a bit tricky one, but to be honest Project Management is really a vast field but considering Managers around I can only rate 3 stars only as I am surrounded by most competent people around.

Question-3: Tell us about your qualifications, certifications, etc. if any?

Answer: I was graduated as Civil Engineer from a well-reputed university, later I went for MS in Project Management and I hold a valid PMI- PMP certification which I consider an extra feather. I have an extensive fifteen years of extensive experience & have managed a number of successful projects globally.

Question-4: What qualities should a project manager have?

Answer: Good communication skill is always that matters a lot everywhere then comes the managerial & lastly, I consider technical. My opinion as per my experience but may differ in a text.

Question-5: How you normally handle the politics at the project?

Answer: I always try to look at both sides of the conflict in handling the situation. I try not to complicate things as there may be many factors. Any powerful stakeholder may be involved in it. First of all, I need to understand the structure of an organization either it’s projected or functional before making any conclusion. In the end, I try to tell the personal benefits to all for completing a successful project.

Question-6: Who is the most important stakeholder in any project?

Answer: I consider always Client the major & then top Management, SME- Subject Matter Experts, Project Team, Legal Team, etc.

Question-7: What is Gold plating and how to avoid it?

Answer: To do extra work that is not as per your contract (scope statement) to get credit the Client – Boss buttering in an easy sense. To avoid simply refer to scope statement always & distribute its copy to your relevant team members.

Question-8: What is the difference between Change Order and a Variation Order Request?

Answer: These are just anonymous. Different culture uses different terms. But I only have heard verbally about Variation Order Request but never seen any form about that. I only know Change Order Request.

Question-9: Are you familiar with any scheduling software?

Answer: Yes, I know Primavera P6 & Microsoft Project very well. I know little about Tilos & Asta Power Project also. But to me Primavera P6 is the most powerful software around although Asta Power Project has some advantage on P6.

You can read more about on this topic here  Primavera P6 vs MS Project

Question-10: Can you tell us about Conflict Resolution Techniques?

Answer: I think 95% of conflicts are due to poor communication. I try to get the people involved Face to Face and it resolves 80% conflicts on spot with a win-win situation. I always focus on behavior, not the personality. But if still, someone has already crossed the lines then I always refer to project engineer or HR manager to tackle the members.

Question-11: Do you know about Crashing & fast Tracking?

Answer: Both are schedule compression techniques. Crashing involves additional resources & Fast-tracking needs to re-arrange activities but increases the overall risk. Before applying any technique, I always discuss with my team first & then the management.

 Question-12: How will you handle Risks on a project?

Answer: I always try to stick with basics and follow to avoid, mitigate, transfer & accept. As risk is not always negative sometimes it helps you a lot. Even the best-planned project may hit any risk anytime.

Question-13: What reporting tools you use to prepare a status report for stakeholders?

Answer: I normally prefer Primavera P6 but also use Microsoft Excel to make better visualization that is helpful for ease of management. I can use Microsoft project also.

Question-14: Can you elaborate on the contingency plan?

Answer: It’s just a plan B or backup plan in case something went wrong on the original plan. For example, if the main contractor/supplier goes bankrupt all of sudden? Or, your project control manager gets a fever on the meeting day suddenly? How many projects you can handle at a time easily?

Question-15: How do you evade Liquidated Damages on a project?

Answer: Eying on each & every milestone where LD is applicable & follow strictly the critical path. Also, get inline with all the contractors to work on it.

Question-16: What are the major factors to look at when accepting a change order?

Answer: There are many factors but I consider the time frame & the Cost. Then I do some calculations for extra resources if available.

Question-17: Which Project management tool you use and why?

Answer: I use normally Primavera P6 as I said earlier, It has unlimited features for reports of every kind.

Question-18: Who has the rights on Float to use in the Schedule?

Answer: It’s always as per contract if not mentioned there then first come first alleviate basis for the Contractor or the Owner.

I have only compiled the questions & answer as per my experience & qualification but if you need to know more explanation you can comment below. I am always happy to answer.

Question-19: What is the difference between Waterfall & Agile?

Answer: Major difference Agile is very adaptive and we follow rolling wave planning in it. While the waterfall is not that adaptive and hence more risky than Agile.

Question-20: What do you know about Scrum?

Answer: Scrum works under the umbrella of Agile where we used time-boxed sprints that make is more adaptive. Scrum team works cross-functional. Scrum master plays a bridge roll between the team and the Product Owner.

Question-21: How to decide if we need to follow Agile or go with a traditional waterfall?

Answer: There three significant factors that help us to decide

1. Level of uncertainty – Higher favors Agile & vice versa

2. Team Competency: Agile needs more experienced and competitive teams

3. Stakeholder Types: Collaborative favors the Agile and Contractual is for the traditional waterfall approach.

But these can be used as a hybrid if possible. Software development favors the Agile while in capital construction is really hard to follow it.

Question-22: What is the difference between Project Life Cycle & Project Management Life Cycle?

Answer: Yes, both are different things. Project Management Life Cycle is applicable to all and every kind of project. It remains the same.

Project Life Cycle, on the other hand, can be different for any other project. It depends on the phases of a project. For example;

  • Evaluation – Designing – Manufacturing – Delivery
  • Designing – Coding– Testing – Launching

Question-23: What is the difference between Qualitative & Quantitative Risk Assessment Techniques?

Answer: Qualitative Risk Assessment is just a filter before we go for extreme analysis for Quantitative Risk Assessment Techniques. As we need a lot of resources to evaluate all the risks in a project. Hence, first we analyze based on probability and impact which we call qualitative risk assessment technique and we see the overall impact of risks on project objective through quantitative analysis. Qualitative is quick but quantitative is time consuming one. You can read more about the Risk Management Process

Each phase can be treated as a project that has it’s own Project Management Life Cycle.

Question-23: What is the Functional Organizational Structure?

Answer: Functional Organization Structure is a hierarchical organizational structure in which people are grouped by areas of their specialization. Read More Functional Organization Structure

Question-24: What is Project Management in simple terms?

Answer: It’s all about how you achieve your goals by involving all the primary stakeholders and using resources in an optimized way by considering triple constraints cost, time & scope in line with quality. Everyone involved should be aware of all these domains.

Question-25: What is the Functional Organizational Structure?

Answer: Functional Organization Structure is a hierarchical organizational structure in which people are grouped by areas of their specialization. Read More Functional Organization Structure

Question-26: How you can define Project Portfolio Management?

Answer: Project Portfolio Management is the selection, prioritization, and control of an organization’s projects and programs.

Project Portfolio Management – PPM is responsible for all projects in any organization. It always sees the projects, portfolios in a bigger picture – a high-level perspective. Project Portfolio Management used to optimize the output of the portfolio to get maximum benefits the organizations want.

Question-27: How you can define the Portfolio Management Office?

Answer: Project Portfolio Management in an organization is best served by a central Portfolio Management Office – PMO.

Now a day many organizations are referring to P3MO model that is Portfolio, program and Project Management office. This is a combined facility that brings project, program and portfolio skills under one leadership. In this, these team supports all the related manager at every level.

Question-28: What does a PMO stand for?

Answer:  PMO stands for Project Management Office which serves an organization in

  • Governance.
  • Transparency.
  • Reusability
  • Delivery support
  • Traceability

It is also used for Portfolio Management Office that is helpful for Project Portfolio Management in an organization.

Question-29: What is Residual Risk?

 Answer: It is the remaining risk after you have executed the planned response.

For example, let us say there are chances of rain, which may last for one day, that you have created the contingency plan to manage this risk. However, what if the rain continues to fall for after that particular one day? Here, you must have a fallback plan to deal with this residual risk.

Question-30: How you normally manage the stakeholders on your project?

 Answer: It is the remaining risk after you have executed the planned response.

Look, I don’t manage the stakeholders rather I engage them on the project. To manage is something ‘disrespectful’ to me as they are the owners and have values attached to the result not only monetary gain for all.

First of all, I identify the stakeholders,  analyze to set the priority level, make a communication plan of their interest base to the project. Then I engage them through the project life cycle.

Interview Questions for a Project Coordinator

Before digging into interview questions to be asked for Project Coordinator first we have to discuss the difference between the project Manager and Project coordinator

Project Manager and Project Coordinator

In simple – Scale of responsibility is the main difference between these two.

The main difference between the Project Coordinator and Project Manager is the scale of responsibility.

First of all, a Project Manager is the one who got the project charter to utilize project resources to get the job done. A project manager has a more senior role. PM is accountable & responsible for project goals, milestones, budget, quality, etc.

A Project Coordinator is responsible for the “on the ground/hands-on” duties. Like communication, management meeting calls, aligning project teams as per schedule, translate project objectives to the teams, etc. He does a lot of the logistics (actually buys the stuff) for project needs.

A project coordinator reported to the project manager.

Qualities of a Project Coordinator

There are many qualities that define a successful project coordinator

  • Communication Skills
  • Hands-on Experience
  • Detail Oriented
  • Controls Productiy
  • Get the job done
  • Project Coordination
  • Planning, directing, organizing project work
  • QA/QC
  • Risk Control and Assessment
  • Procurement Control
  • Performance Report Reviews

Interview questions for a Project coordinator are the same as a Project manager but depend on the complexity of any project.

Certifications Requirements

  • Bachelor Degree in related industry (Civil, mechanical, Project Management)
  • PMP is always an additional advantage

Interview Questions for a Construction Manager

This guy is almost the same and even some times acts as a Project Manager. You can say as construction Manager is a Deputy Project Manager. Hence, the questions are almost the same as the Project Manager.

Interview Questions for a Project Engineer

This guy is only responsible for his own area and a project may have a number of project engineers.

You can read here the roles and responsibilities of Project Engineer

To be Continued!

Read More: 10 Common Mistakes of a Project Manager & How to Decide Project Success?

One Small Request:

Being a Project Management guy, I know how little time we have to play around on the internet. But if you have found this information useful then please share it to your colleague so that more people can get benefit from it. If you have any question then comment below and I am glad to take it.

Further Reads: You can read more about Interview Question for a Planning Engineer

9 thoughts on “Project Management Interview Questions”

  1. Raphae Lonyvosy

    Thank you for this great write up. It is helpful during a Project Manager interview preparation and also for a Palnning Engineer.

  2. Clayton Hottle

    Thank you very much for this nice read. Project Management Interview Questions are overall OK but the last part was amazing.

  3. It is truly a nice and useful piece of information regarding planning engineers. I’m happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Thank you for sharing. This is practical.

  4. I found these Interview Questions for any Project Manager really useful. I can understand that you are any individual so I can follow along easily – no marketing stuff. Keep the good work up. Thank you

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