Commonly Asked Project Manager Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Project Managers supervise a project and makes sure that the project goal is achieved successfully. These project manager interview questions will help you in achieving success in your next interview.

In this article, we will discuss knowledge-based, as well as commonly asked HR-related project manager interview questions.

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In this guide you will find:

  • Commonly asked project manager interview questions

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Q1. What is the 6P rule in project management?

The 6P rule of Project Management goes:

Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Possible Answer

The 6P rule describes the primary objective of project management. The job of a project manager is to make sure every aspect of a project runs smoothly. He foresees the risks in the project, i.e. the problems that might occur during the execution of the project, and takes preventative steps to minimize the risks. When the project is ongoing, he is responsible for fixing any issues that occur even after taking preventative steps. The 6P rule “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance” says this very thing, that with proper planning and foresight, risks can be minimized, and the project will go smoothly to prevent losses and poor performance.

Q2. Explain the phases of the Project Management Life Cycle process.

Possible Answer

There are 4 phases in the life cycle of project management. These are Initiation, Planning, Execution, and Closure.

Initiation: In this stage, a project manager identifies the ways to apply to the project in order to get the best result. They also identify if the project is feasible, and the opportunities related to the project.

Planning: When the initiation process is complete and the project manager decides to go with the project, the actual planning starts. The project manager breaks the whole project into small tasks and plans on how each task can be completed.

Execution: After approving the proposal and planning out the tasks, it’s time to actually execute the program. Many issues can occur while executing the work, and project managers have to take care of those issues while executing.

Closure: The final phase of the project management life cycle is closure. When the project is completed, the project manager manages the output and creates reports on them.

Q3. Do you think that project managers should be proactive?

Possible Answer

Yes. The job of a project manager demands to be proactive. Project managers need to anticipate possible threats and issues that can occur, and take precautions. That’s why, then need to be proactive.

Q4. Explain the difference between a Project, Program and Portfolio.

Possible Answer

Project, Program, and Portfolio form a 3-tier hierarchy in management. The lowest level of this hierarchy is Project. Project is the task of creating a single product or working towards a single goal, be it a service or a product. The next level of this hierarchy is Program, where multiple projects, similar or related to each other, are grouped together. And lastly, the top layer of the hierarchy is a portfolio, where a number of projects and programs are grouped together to achieve a strategic goal.

Q5. What is your leadership style?

You can expect at least one of the project management interview questions to be about leadership styles, because one of the most important jobs of a project manager is leading the whole team. Before answering the question, you should know about a few of the leadership styles that exist. Here we have discussed a number of leadership styles.

Different Styles of Leadership

  • Democratic Style: In this style, the whole team discusses a matter, then takes a decision together.
  • Autocratic Style: Unlike democratic, this style is one-directional, and the leader does not seek suggestions from the team members but takes decisions themselves.
  • Strategic Style: In this style, the leader foresees the risks and hazards of a project well before, and teaches his team to work on them.
  • Coaching Style: In this style, the leader includes the team members in the decision making process, engages them in discussing ideas, but takes the final decision himself, and shows the team the right path.
  • Laissez-faire Style: In this leadership style, the leader inspires his team to work on their own, and provides guidance and shows them the right way.

Generally, the democratic and the coaching styles of leadership are the most effective and productive for a project manager. While answering this question, keep that in mind, and show your teamwork and influencing abilities.

Q6. What is RAID log in Project Management?

This is one of the most frequently asked project management interview questions right now. Every project manager should be able to discuss about the RAID log in interviews.

Possible Answer

RAID stands for Risk, Actions, Issues, and Decisions.

Risk is the potential problem that might take place while executing the project.

Actions are the things that a project manager needs to do while the project is ongoing.

Issues are the actual problems that take place even after taking precautions.

Decisions are the steps a project manager follows in order to achieve the goal of the project.

Q7. How would you ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated deadline?

Possible Answer

To make sure we meet the deadline, I plan every task beforehand and give the team specific directions. I also inform my team about the deadline and explain the importance of completing each task well before the actual time, so that if something goes wrong, we can still have enough time to fix the problems.

Q8. What are the essential skills of a project manager?

Besides technical knowledge and qualifications, a project manager also needs some specific set of skills. These are:

  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Organizational Skills
  • Time Management Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Cost Control Skills
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Quality Management Skills, etc.

Q9. Which project management methodology do you follow?

Possible Answer

The project management methodology depends on the project itself. No single methodology can be termed as the best one, because every project requires different methodologies based on their criteria.

Q10. What is a fishbone diagram and why is it useful in project management?

A fishbone diagram is a cause and effect diagram that is used for identifying the potential root cause of a problem while executing a project. The Fishbone diagram is also known as the Ishikawa diagram , named after its inventor Dr. Ishikawa.

More Project Management Interview Questions: Knowledge-based/ Technical

  1. What is a project charter?
  2. What is SOW?
  3. What is Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and why is it relevant in project management?
  4. Explain your team forming process.
  5. Explain Procedure Management Plan.
  6. How do you calculate the three-point estimating method?
  7. What is the difference between Risk and Issue?
  8. Explain the types of risks that you might face while managing a project.
  9. What is the Pareto Principle?
  10. Explain Time and Material Contracts.

Project Management Interview Questions: Management Style related

  1. Tell us about some of the projects that you successfully handled in the past.
  2. Did you ever face any conflicts or differences of opinions with your team/ manager? How did you resolve them?
  3. What is your ideal project?
  4. What is your communication style with your team?
  5. Which projects do you not enjoy working on?
  6. How do you motivate your team in stressful situations?
  7. Tell us about the time when you had to collaborate with a person difficult to work with.
  8. What is your working style?
  9. How do you handle a difficult stakeholder or client?
  10. How do you prioritize tasks in a project?

More Project Management Interview Questions to Prepare: General/ HR-Related

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  3. Why do you want to be a project manager?
  4. What do you know about our company?
  5. Why do you want to work with us?
  6. As a project manager, how can you become successful?
  7. How do you update your knowledge base to keep up with the current trends of the project management work?
  8. Do you have any questions for us?
  9. What do you do when you know that your project is off the track?
  10. How will you manage a lazy team member?

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