Project Management Concepts Through Interview Questions for Project Managers – 7

The aim of this series of articles is to introduce project management concepts. Interview questions one may face for a project Manager position, are used as a vehicle to introduce these concepts. This is the seventh part of the series and further concepts. The series is going to be in ten parts, and each article in the series will discuss five questions that you may get asked and explain the related questions. Concepts introduced should help you prepare for PMP certification that is often required for a Project Manager position.

There are two aspects of quality-related activities. One is quality assurance. These are measures taken in the project execution processes that ensure quality outcomes. The complementary part of activities is defined as quality control.

What does it take to control quality?

Quality control processes, monitor and find out if the quality goals are being met. Periodic inspection of defined metrics is the way quality control is implemented.

Processes are essential in all project-related activities. Processes cannot be perfect in the initial stages. Every process thus must have a provision for implementing improvements.

What is the need for these improvements?

As processes are improved, probability of defects decrease and consequently, quality of the project outcome improves.

What tool/techniques could be used to determine process improvement?

GQM or the goals, questions and metric is considered the main technique in this area. Goals for the process improvement is to be set down initially. Questions then should be asked to determine what improvements can be made. Metrics are the measurements to be taken so that process health could be determined.

Quality outcomes depend largely on the quality of the project team. HR policies and the plans to manage HR issues are of paramount importance.

What are the important HR aspects?

HR areas that are crucial include how the team is acquired, how it is formed, and how the roles and responsibilities are assigned. Carefully thought out policies need to be in place to cover appraisal policies, rewards & recognition, etc. Not only policies be clear-cut but should be communicated to the team members well too.

Why is performance management such an important process for HR?

Acknowledging good performance is a sure way of meeting the expectations of the project team members. Recognizing talent and rewarding high performance is the way to maintain a high-performing team. Thus, periodic appraisals are a necessity and objective assessments an important process. It is required that assessments are seen to be fair, besides actually being fair.

Part 8 will take up another five questions. 10 articles will cover 50 questions between them.

Project Management Concepts – Awareness and Control

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today, I want to look at what we are trying to achieve when managing a project. What do we actually want to get from project management?

The project management concept I want to look at today is: Project management needs both awareness and control of the project. Control is impossible without awareness.

We already know that project management is about bringing change into a business, in a limited fashion. In other words, we attempt to control change, to stop it being chaos.

But to be able to do that, to have that element of control, we also need to understand what is actually happening with the project. We need to have an awareness of what is going on.

Without that awareness, control becomes impossible. You simply cannot know what direction you need to steer the project in if you don’t know what direction it is currently going in! You can’t know if your attempts at control are working unless you can see what is happening.

So, we need to be aware of what is happening in the project, so that we can then try to control what is happening in the project. And that brings us to a project management concept: Project management needs both awareness and control of the project. Control is impossible without awareness.

Project Management Concepts – Know the Project

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today I want to look at the knowledge that we all need about the work on our projects. The project management concept I will be looking at today is: Project managers need to know what has been done, what is being done, and what needs to be done.

We need to have knowledge of what has already been done. It is important for us to know the path we took to get to where we are now, to understand the decisions we took, to remember the obstacles we had to overcome. In this way, we can learn from our project experience, and make our future path smoother.

We know that we need a good awareness of what is happening in the project at present. This awareness, this knowledge of what is happening right now, means we become aware of problems as soon as possible, to make sure we can solve them as quickly as possible.

We also need to have knowledge of where we plan to go next. It is important for us to have a clear idea of where we are going, to understand the challenges that we will face, to accept that unforeseen problems will arise, and to plan to deal with surprises. To make sure these unexpected events don’t derail the project, we have to have an understanding of our final objective.

By having knowledge of these three areas – the past, present, and future – we can improve our management of the project. We can do this by drawing on our experiences from the past to help us overcome obstacles we face in the present, and plot a course around foreseeable problems in the future.

And that leads us to today’s concept: Project managers need to know what has been done, what is being done, and what needs to be done.