We have compiled a list of top, expert-curated list of Technical Project Manager interview questions and answers that will help you crack Technical Project Manager interview competently. Technical Project Managers roles and responsibilities is to bridge prospective customer engagements and the technology production floor. Technical project manager certification, Technical project manager skills, expertise and specialization in technology separates them from non-technical project managers. With the formulated answers, you can confidently face questions related to job positions like Technical Project Manager, Senior IT Program Manager, or Project Manager. Prepare well with these Technical interview questions and answers and ace your interviews at leading tech employers like Cognizant, Accenture, Wipro, HCL, Infosys, JPMorgan Chase, etc.
A project is a set of tasks/activities undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. These are temporary because they are not routine work like production activity but most often one time set of activities undertaken.
Projects have the following characteristics:
Project Management as per PMBOK: “ Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria."
Project management is different from the usual Operations, as tries to build a unique deliverable within a specific timeline. A project manager should follow the 6P rule, i.e., Proper Planning Prevents Poor Project Performance.
The broad responsibilities of a technical project manager are the generally same as a project manager in any field and are as follows:
Project Managers manage the project while technical project managers manage projects with a high degree of technicality. Technical project managers should know about hardware and software installation, upgrades, site maintenance, and, ideally, program and app development. They should also be able to review and validate the feasibility of project proposals.
Prioritizing tasks on a project is an essential skill needed by almost every business, but it's also one of the most difficult. It's important to master because if you don't, you'll constantly be juggling between deadlines and never completing anything. And ultimately, this can lead to frustration which will only hurt your productivity and diminish your team's efficiency in the long run.
Some tips below for prioritizing tasks
Agile is a time-boxed, iterative approach that helps deliver software built incrementally from the beginning of the project rather than trying to deliver once in the end.
Following are the benefits of Agile project management.
According to PMBOK “A program is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. Programs may contain elements of work outside of the scope of the discrete projects in the program.”
A program refers to multiple projects managed and delivered as a single package. Therefore, a program manager oversees all the program projects to achieve their outcomes.
A project is a set of tasks/activities undertaken to create a product, service, or result and have defined start and end date and while programs refers to multiple projects managed and delivered as a single package.
Projects differ from Programs in the following ways:
A project is a set of tasks/activities undertaken to create a product, service, or result
A program refers to multiple projects managed and delivered as a single package.
Project goals and scope of a project are well-defined.
Scope and goals in programs may be broadly defined.
Project is a single endeavor and hence the teams are less in number
Program covers multiple projects and hence the team member size tends to be large
A project has well defined start and end date
Program having multiple projects and hence end date is flexible.
Projects concentrate on achieving tangible outputs.
Programs concentrate on results – which may be tangible
In terms of qualities as a project manager, what qualities do you possess that will/does make you standstill/effective project manager?
Organization is the most important quality that must be factored in any undertaking. I am an organized, hardworking individual. This has been the foundation of every project I have undertaken. Organization is what defines a working plan. I am a highly motivated and confident employee. As project manager I am able to listen to my inner voice and trust my instincts while making an important decisions. I understand when to act decisively and speak out my mind when situations require of me as I can endure the pressure and consequences of it. I have a big appetite for growth and learning. I possess great eagerness for new challenges. I have always wanted to improve through exposure to various situations. As they say experience is the best teacher, it develops a skill for problem solving. My ambition drives me every day to achieve new things noteworthy of propelling not only individuals but the entire firm to greater heights and to reach their potential. I accept nothing other than quality from myself and my peers. I pay attention to the minute details in every project. I am also a flexible individual when approaching technical projects as the current world requires flexibility and endurance together with my exceptional interpersonal skills. My result-oriented mind is what propels my workability.
A project manager spends a large part of their time communicating through formal, informal, written, or oral channels. Effective communication is the key to project success as it keeps every stakeholder engaged. Communication in project management refers to the sharing of ideas and constructive opinions among the project staff and over the time I have worked in this role, I have discovered that communication is among the key elements required for this role. In the case of complex projects where it requires each participant to contribute a positive slice, a clear communication is essential. Also for everyone to be able to effectively work and perform optimally, a well-structured communication is necessary to ensure that we are all on the same page as well as bring transparency into the project. Effective communication also creates a conducive working environment between the staff. Another necessity is the communication with the client and other stakeholders. This communication is primarily on the progress of the project to ensure that everything is well on track. In most of the projects I have worked on, I usually schedule meetings, send emails, use phone calls, carry out surveys and send memos to my project staff whenever I need to communicate an important issue. Basically, communication is the key component for a smooth and efficient flow of a project.
What experience do you have in managing different projects? And how can this contribute to our position?
Project manager handles the schedule, planning, and monitoring to the end. The project Manager takes the project and implements all the processes as below:
I would provide a brief description of my projects and how the two projects gave me valuable lessons and skills that I carry with me to this date. I handled the projects implementing as per the procedures as mentioned above. As a project manager I was privileged to handle a project that entailed collecting and analyzing data from customers. I encountered a lot of challenges like handling changes from the client, main resource resigning, working within new technology on which team had no expertise on this project that needed to be handled innovatively. I designed an approach that worked really well. I formulated group problem-solving sessions among my project staff. This approach worked well as it highlighted and clarified the strengths, weaknesses, and roles of each member of the group. We were able to come up with achievable plans and schedules that were contributed by the entire project team. Presently, I have noticed that many projects are being faced with constricted budgets and limited resources. However, the above approach works to maximize the available limited resources while ensuring that the staff is focused and motivated during the entire project.
Managing a team is one of the underrated and overlooked qualities of project managers. For a project to be successful, there must be unity among the project staff. Conflicts arise due to various issues and the only way to solve conflicts is getting to the bottom of it and understanding the root cause. It is my mandate as a technical project manager to handle conflicts in a professional and effective way.
To provide an example, In a recent incident my team faced, the project technical analyst and the performance manager could not agree on a solution to a problem. I initiated a discussion to try and understand the perspective of the two parties before arriving at resolving the issue. We decided on the parameters to be used for evaluating and selecting a solution first after critically analyzing the two, we agreed to settle on the performance manager's solution since it was better suited for our delivery timelines and budgets, both. Such incidents helped me learn that it is not only enough to communicate but also to listen keenly and without preconceived ideas, before solving a conflict.
Project managers carry the responsibility of understanding and handling projects budget and other costs such as those of materials, project team, and most importantly time. The above factors are important to be handled carefully to have any project to be successfully delivered. It is my mandate to manage budgets and the costs for a project, learn the procedures required to request as well as change and manage the resources allocated for a project without the need for overspending throughout the whole project. All those encounters provide invaluable experience in this field that could grow and achieve in achieving its goals. Clear communication with stakeholders regarding the budget is very important. Looping and updating stakeholders is of utmost importance.
A technical project manager is required to assign tasks as per the project requirements to every team member. Some companies rely on the project manager's criteria while others have a specific way of assigning tasks. Assigning tasks may be a way of gauging a manager's leadership skills as it entails managing team members. Personally, I would delegate tasks to my team members based on their skills, interest, career goals, available capacity and distinctive qualities. I also understand that work must be shared among the team members. I would personally devise a way of rewarding and recognizing those hard working members of my team as a way of motivating the rest of the team to work hard and perform better. I will also delegate those complex tasks to members who can comfortably handle them. Once I have delegated tasks to my members, I will carry follow-ups on each task to ensure the members work towards fulfilling the timeline and are well prepared and equipped to handle the task. It is also my understanding that every team member has his/her weakness and strengths. My approach is to maximize on their strengths. I would also encourage my team members to approach me whenever there is an issue that requires clarification.
Working with international clients comes with its own set of challenges. For a website development project, the client required the website to be functional in different languages, so an international team with members from different nationalities were assembled to complete this task. The biggest challenges were working around the language barrier, and the team members working from different time zones. An eager junior member in the team was assigned in the project. He altered his schedule to accommodate the needs of the project. The project required every step to be clearly documented for all the team members to understand. This project gave us a valuable experience as it was a great test for the entire team. Working internationally gave us a boost in confidence and skills as well as the experience of handling different clients.
One of the most successful project we completed recently on Pharma. The client asked us to revamp major modules and lots of enhancement were integrated on this portal. The project’s deadline was tight and we had to properly plan out the approach to complete it within deadlines.
Below are the skills required for an project Manager to make any project to be successful
The following are ways to keep control of your project scope.
Documenting your project requirements is the most basic form to avoid scope creep. A precise and clear definition of the project requirements allows for specifying the scope of your project.
The requirements document is a starting point, and when the stakeholder wants to change something, it can be analyzed and approved before the team starts working on the changes.
It is unrealistic that everything is going to stay the same. It is essential to prevent scope creep by controlling the changes in the project.
Stakeholders' requirements are used to determine the project scope. A work breakdown structure (WBS) is created, which would help the team to build the MVP. The project schedule would help outline what will be delivered in tasks, activities, and milestones.
It's essential to review that the requirements are correctly understood. The project schedule can be checked with the stakeholders and confirmed that all the features they wished to see are represented in the task list.
Project stakeholders should be appropriately communicated with and know about the change control process and how it will affect them. They must be guardians of the project scope, not agents of change.
What and how do you intend to improve your skills and stay updated in the project management field?
It is part of every project manager’s job to keep up with the emerging trends and the ever changing needs of management. Most clients look at experience as well as how updated one is with the industry.
As a technical project manager, am a passionate seeker of new skills and more knowledge through books, internet and from associates. I usually spend most of my free time reading books and magazines about successful managers. In the past year, I read four books on project management which have really helped further my technical knowledge. Recently, I took a short online course on man management and handling of staff. It helped broaden my scope on how to handle a team in project management. In my previous project, I undertook a larger project with a wider scope compared to what I have managed before. Fortunately, I was able to complete the project though it took longer time. It was all successful and I learned a lot from it. In terms of personnel management, timing, budgeting and planning, I gained a lot.
It is part of project management to handle both underperforming and over performing team members. Usually underperforming team members require more attention than the latter.
While working as a project manager in my second job, one of my project developer’s was having difficulties acquiring data from one of the client’s websites. I gave her more time and the project started missing timelines. After giving her enough time, I arranged a meeting to try and find out what was the problem. I had to invite a more experienced senior developer to the meeting. After the discussion my developer was able to learn from the senior developer and she was able to complete the task in one day. From there, we worked comfortably and without any issues. I also found out that motivating team members by giving rewards and incentives improves their performance and overall success of a project. Giving team members short breaks for projects completed before deadline and prior to starting another project highly motivates them. I once handled a team of over performing members. It was a worthwhile experience as it required more man management to ensure the project is in compliance with the client’s needs.
Human error and mistakes are part of everyday learning. My biggest mistake was a year ago when I entrusted my team member’s so much to handle a project. I did not follow up on their progress and on the final day of project submission, one of the team members had not completed his task. The final output was vital for the project and due to my failure of not keeping track of the project; the whole team was left doing one member task on the last day of project presentation. It was a huge setback but it gave me a valuable lesson. Since then, I always make sure to check on the project’s progress and every member’s task progress. Another stuff that I have handled exceptionally well is planning and prioritization. Before undertaking any project, I always differentiate between the urgent and the most important tasks and this has been my key in developing a perfect work plan. I also use an outlook calendar as a remainder as well as notepads. This has helped me develop a lot and even some of my team members have actually applied this technique and it has worked so well.
A portfolio is a cluster of different programs and projects within the same organization, which may be associated or unrelated to one another.
A portfolio is a group of projects and programs at an organizational or functional level to optimize strategic advantages or functional efficiency. They are managed at an organizational or operational level.
Projects and programs focus on deploying outputs, results, and benefits; portfolios exist as coordinating structures to support or help a deployment by ensuring the optimal prioritization of resources to align with strategic intent and achieve the best value.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is an important part of project planning. What is WBS? And how do you intend to use it to prepare a good plan?
Work breakdown structure is a categorized breakdown of project work into small and easy manageable work packages for successful completion of a project. Work breakdown structure helps a team to have a clear understanding of the project. A good work breakdown structure results in a viable and an effective project plan which will allow efficient execution of tasks and good tracking of work progress.
As a technical project manager, I will seek to incorporate both the organization work breakdown structure together with my work structure. My work breakdown structure has been of great help in my previous projects. I will strive to incorporate both the bottom-up and top-down work principle. From my previous projects, work breakdown structure has really helped in estimating project duration, associated costs, resources and expertise required for the tasks. It has also been of great help in projecting the possible risks and thus proper planning prior to the risk and clear avoidance measures. Work breakdown structure has been among the cornerstones of my success and the success of the projects I have undertaken.
Risks may occur in a project. What are risks and how do you mitigate the risks as well as what steps do you undertake in planning risk?
Risks are the uncertainties which may occur during a project that may bring setbacks or positive impact on the project. Those risks that bring positive impacts to a project scope are referred to as opportunities while the risks that negatively impact/setback the project are known as threats. Those future opportunities and threats to a project need to be proactively managed in a critical manner to ensure that opportunities are maximized while the threats are minimized.
In my past projects, I have handled risks several times and they have given me an edge on this. My techniques as a technical project manager include first identifying the risk then analyzing the probability and impact of the risks. After that, I prioritize the risks in terms of urgency and importance. Finally, create a response strategy to manage both the major and the critical threats. All this procedures are enlisted in my risk register which serves as an important reference for my overall project performance.
Technical project management requires resources, both man power and physical resources. How do you plan to acquire the essential resources for project execution?
For successful execution of a project, resources are needed whether within the organization or an outsource. Manpower resources are available within the organization. If the available manpower resources are not sufficient to fulfill the project needs, I always outsource from an external source. In the previous projects, I have initiated clear processes of acquiring resources from outside majorly on contractual basis. It is my sole responsibility to negotiate the right cost with the different resource owners in the organization or from outside the organization to select the best possible resources to handle the project. Also it is my mandate to exercise transparent selection and hiring procedure. It is upon me to ensure competent and well skilled team members are carefully selected. With my experience from the several projects I have handled, I can roll out mechanisms and conditions for selecting the machineries and materials needed for the project. This may involve sourcing from within the organization or procuring from outside. Procurement may involve working with the procurement department of an organization.
Below is the plan for the execution of resources to be implemented
Gold plating is delivering more than scope baseline and this can increase project risk. It is whereby a project team delivers beyond what was asked for in a project.
Scope creep is also understood as requirements creep. It happens due to the following reasons:
Follow these procedures to control scope creep:
After completing my second project which was a project on web development, the client was not satisfied with the final results and did not accept the project. The scope was to deliver a website with a homepage, product page, category page, and login/sign up page as well as staff page. We delivered as per what was agreed before the project. The client was not satisfied with the final product because they had seen a similar competitor’s page and they needed theirs to have a referral program page that will give them an edge over their competitor. After understanding the client’s requirements, I had to set meetings with him to discuss the arising needs. We revisited the initial project scope to highlight to the client that what he required was not in the agreed scope. We had to revise the costs of the project as well as the time needed to complete the task. The client agreed to our new proposals. A month later we delivered the project as per what the client needed and they were very pleased with our final product.
Encountering an unsatisfied customer is unfortunate but often unavoidable. When a poor customer experience occurs, there is always time to mitigate and never too late to take on learnings.
Here are ten tips on how to manage angry customers.
It is also referred to as the 80/20 rule. 80% of the results are achieved through the effort of 20% of this population. This rule has applied to programming in software, criminology, businesses and economics activities. This rule aims at prioritization of events based on their immediate significance instead of its urgency. In technical project management, project managers make use of charts and other planning methods in order to efficiently fasten through the dependencies and tasks in order to reach a viable output. Critical path method identifies the critical paths (20%) which can cause major impact (80%) to the Milestones. Similarly out of all risks identified, the critical risks (20%) are likely cause major (80%) impact. In Coding it is highly likely that 80% of the problems arise from just a few issues such as syntax and context errors. Also in terms of productivity, it is evident that one tends to be highly productive during certain hours of the day while those hours which one is not productive are spent on activities which do not push the project forward. In such situations it is advisable for one to identify their peak hours and use it maximally.
There are two main inevitable things in everyone's professional career as well as life - success and failure. While working on a telephone communication project, after completing the project, some regions could access the network coverage and they could not make calls. This was a huge setback to my project and I considered it a failure. The client was utterly disappointed. Our initial tests on the project were successful and everything was working alright. I had to recall the team so that we could investigate what was the problem. As time passed the client was getting even angrier frustrated. At first we thought it was a local problem since it kept shifting places. Team’s software engineers and field engineers worked tirelessly for close to six hours and finally found the problem. Some regions had customized network coverage and the engineers were able to change and update the settings on the servers. It was a long 6 hours of my career as the client was all over my neck inquiring about the issue as each minute passed. It was a huge test of my personality and work ethics. Handling failures requires taking into account some important aspects such as acknowledgement of the issue, delegation of tasks, establishing accountability, providing updates on the issue and graceful handling/workarounds to minimize the impact of the failure along with providing the long-term solution to avoid recurrence of the identified failures.
Technical project managers are mandated with a lot of activities for successful execution of a project. It ranges from leadership to management. Most of the activities are taught majorly on the management part while for leadership, they come with experience. Current trends require managers to be more of leaders.
As project manager it is my role to evaluate every particular project first. The next steps include acquiring the necessary resources required for the project, evaluating and acquiring suitable skills for the project, assigning responsibilities, ensuring a constant communication and keeping a transparent communication channels on all levels such as stakeholders, clients and fellow team members, implementing necessary risk responses, engaging and understanding the stakeholders needs and expectations, carrying out team building practices and conducting and keeping audit reports. Also handling team conflicts and arising needs is part and parcel of my job. All those activities are sufficient for the success of a project right from its execution to the final stage. Planning and developing a work scope is another essential activity needed before project execution.
How would you handle and engage stakeholders, specifically the high interest, high authority stakeholders?
As a technical project manager, the first step when undertaking project initiation is identifying stakeholders. Also it is paramount to categorize the stakeholders on their basis of power/authority and their interest in regards to the project. Stakeholder analysis helps in identifying stakeholders who will be associated with the project. Using an interest power grid has greatly helped me in that it highlights the various stakeholders and their prioritization in project development.
I believe communication is the most effective way of engaging stakeholders. Keeping them updated on the project’s progress is very vital. I try to have weekly meetings with stakeholders to convey updates and any arising issue that require their opinion. Keeping a close and warm relationship with stakeholders highly benefits the project. Especially for high interest and high authority stakeholders, it is paramount to work with and manage them closely. Accepting their authority as well as keeping a positive attitude and emotions with stakeholders helps in creating a good working environment in an organization. Opinions and decisions of stakeholders are important and would help to successfully deliver withing deadlines. Keeping their interest aligned while effectively using their authority results in project success. It is important to consult the major stakeholders before undertaking a major decision. The decision needs certification and approval from them.
RACI stands for Responsibility-Accountability-Consult-Inform. RACI chart helps to defining roles and responsibilities. The rows of the table contains work items at the desired level and columns contains people involved in the project. We shall define the role in the corresponding cell. It could be R, A, C, I, or combination or empty. Modelling the roles & responsibilities in RACI chart helps to ascertain the completeness & correctness of the assignment.
RACI is an acronym for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. Each illustrates the roles and levels of involvement of a stakeholder against the related task/milestone.
A RACI chart discloses the information to the organization about its employees' workload, indicating which functional role(s) are assigned to each member of the team. For example, the organization notices if any team member has more responsibilities or not.
In other words, it provides information if any member has too many or too few particular tasks to complete? That way, the organization knows whether someone already has too many responsibility assignments or could take on more responsibilities. RACI framework helps to meet deliverables, as everyone impacted is in the loop.
It reduces miscommunication and increases productivity. If any task is not completed correctly, RACI points out who is involved and eventually accountable. In short, RACI makes it more comfortable and easy to have the proper conversation with the right people. In turn, it saves everyone's time.
As technical project manager, quality control and quality assurance are two important factors of a project. How would you incorporate both in your work?
Quality is the key factor in every project. Quality is the process of meeting or exceeding the client’s expectations. It is deemed high quality if it meets or exceeds clients expectations while it is low quality if it does not meet the expected standards. Quality assurance arises from the strategies, standards and plans laid down to perform the project tasks. Strict adherence to the standards and laid down strategies assures that the final output meets the expected quality standards. However, quality assurance is achieved through proactive measures like good raw materials, good process, skilled people, high accurate high precision equipment, well defined optimized processes and giving adequate time.
Quality control is the procedure of analyzing the final product and ensuring that it adheres to the set standards and the laid down strategies. QA depends on DEFECT PREVENTION and targets zero defects. Leveraging inspections and testing on the final output to ascertain that it conforms to the expected standards produce high quality deliverables. To summarize, QA focuses on preventing defects at the process level, while QC focuses on finding defects at the product level and both are integrated pieces of quality.
My previous roles have imparted great experience in me that I cannot accept anything short of quality from my team and myself. Constant motivation of team members results in improved performance and consequently production of high quality products. Client’s satisfaction is vital and can only be achieved through provision of high quality outputs.
While handling a project as technical project manager, you notice that JIRA is indicating 100% staff utilization but some of the tasks are frequently late while some are turned back by test engineers. What steps and how would you handle such a situation to ensure everything is working right?
JIRA is an agile project management tool that provides flexibility across the various methodologies. Two of the most popular agile project management tools include scrum and kanban. However, as a technical project manager will shift focus to individual assessment and carry follow ups on every task.
As technical project manager in charge of your department, you notice that there is a rising case of employees resigning from the company and some in your department and there are difficulties in backfilling those positions. What strategies would you recommend and how would you handle the situation?
My first step as technical project manager would be to investigate the root cause of the problem. This will involve interviewing employees who have resigned to get their honest reviews and opinions about the company and why they are resigning. Some employees may resign as a result of finding better opportunities elsewhere. Some of the reasons that lead employees to resign are unnecessary stress and pressure which may come as a result of strict rules and over bureaucracies. I will handle such issues by allowing employees and team members to provide their opinions before making a decision. Also aligning juniors with the seniors helps to minimize technical pressures on the junior employees. The seniors will act as mentors providing first hand mentorship assistance and guidance. Allowing flexibility such as flexible working hours and other times, working from home. Developing a reward system in the organization by recognizing and rewarding employees for their good work as well as creating compensation packages. Giving employees the opportunities to further their skills and knowledge by allowing room for regular training highly motivates and creates a good working environment in an organization.
My backfilling procedure involves promoting the talented junior employees to senior positions, training employees to be ready to take those senior positions whenever an opportunity arises and carrying out transparent and skill oriented interviews to pick individuals with the right skills. Also, allowing the current employees to provide referrals for positions that require filling.
State and explain the three major challenges that the IT industry faces today. How would you handle those challenges efficiently?
Technical project management industry is not short of challenges.
The best way is to handle the challenges is as below:
During my studies to become a technical project manager, I researched various tools that were being used in project management. I later found two of the best methods which have been the key reason of my project’s success. One of the tools is the fishbone diagrams. Fishbone diagram is a technique that is used to identify the origin of major problems in a project. The tool has a lot of advantages but one of the most outstanding one is that it provides a clear visualization and complete analysis of intricate hitches and glitches that may have hidden effects on the project. This not only helps to identify the problem but also come up with solutions to premeditated problems.
Incorporating agile project management tools has been a great addition to my role in technical project management. Scrum and Kanban methods are the two most important methods. It ensures proper and even task assignment to team members.
EVM is a management approach that, upon combining any program – provides all levels of management with early visibility into cost and time-related problems. EVM provides the foundation to evaluate work progress against a baseline plan, relates technical, time, and cost performance provides data for pro-active management action and provides managers with a summary of effective decision making.
Earned value analysis is a project management technique that helps evaluate a project's performance against its budget and schedule. It assists in deriving an estimate of the resources required to complete the project.
Comparing the assignment completed to the forecast made at the beginning of the project, the project manager can forecast how many resources are required for completion. Unlike the Elapsed Time that fails to measure project completion accurately, Earned Value offers an objective measurement of the work accomplished.
Let's illustrate with an example.
For example, if a 12- monthly construction project includes tasks such as engineering, plumbing, and electrical, one would assign values such as:
When each task finishes, its Value is added to your EV. In this example, if you completed engineering and plumbing at the six-month milestone, you can report that you have utilized 50% of the time and 75% EV. Thus with EVM, budgeting and scheduling are in time-phased, planned value increments, eventually forming a Performance Measurement Baseline.
Risks are the uncertainties that may occur in the future causing a negative or positive impact to a project. Some of the common risks in project management include performance risk; legal risk ,cost risk, resource risk as well as market risk. All those risks may negatively or positively affect project management. It is upon the technical project manager to ensure that the negative impacts of threats are mitigated and positive impact of opportunities are maximized to the project and the company at large. Some of the measures to combat risks are putting in place the necessary measures to combat them in case they occur. For example the cost risk, it is prudent to include emergency funds in the budget.
Issues can be termed as situations that presently impact project objectives. They may include an employee or team member suddenly getting ill and being unable to continue with the assigned task. These issues negatively impact a project and it is upon the project manager’s role to find a quick solution to avoid the project from deviating from its scope and ensure that its objectives are met. Issues affect project plans in terms of costs and time. Acquiring a new employee to fill a post may mean spending more time using large chunks of time.
Corrective and preventive measures are two closely related aspects in project management. As a technical project manager, how would you define and differentiate the two in your project?
According to ISO 9001, the differences between Corrective and Preventive actions are:
Corrective Actions: “The organization shall take action to eliminate the causes of nonconformities in order to prevent a recurrence.” Preventive Actions: “The organization shall determine action to eliminate the causes of potential nonconformities in order to prevent their occurrence. In short, corrective action prevents recurrence, while preventive action prevents occurrence. Corrective measures are those actions which are undertaken to identify, document and solve the origin of a problem permanently. As a technical project manager, corrective measures should be keenly looked at. For example in a project team, it is better to replace old machines than carrying out continuous maintenance whenever it fails to perform a task. Such a measure is a corrective since it serves to eradicate the problem for a very long period of time.
Preventive action defines what would deviate from the chosen path and cause issues in the project, for example, over budget or low-quality output.
A good example would be to inspect the pipes and drains of all the sinks present to see if they need to get replaced before they fail.
Including a specific preventive action plan would help mitigate potential problems; a preventive action process also includes implementing controls to ensure that preventative measures continue to work.
Preventive action suggests determining not only potential problems but also improving potential opportunities.
However, in technical project management the two are usually referred to as CAPA; corrective action and preventive actions. Corrective measures are referred to most managers as reactive measures while preventive measures are known as proactive measures.
Variance analysis is a quantitative review of the differences between plan versus actual values. Trend analysis is a quantitative review of a parameter over a period of time. Variance analysis is used to collect and assess the cost and schedule of a project. It is used to gauge whether the performance of a project parameter is deteriorating or improving. For example, we can use it for analyzing quality, productivity.
Trend analysis is used to gauge whether the performance of a project parameter is deteriorating or improving. For example, we can use it for analyzing quality, productivity. The main role of these two tools is course correction of a project.
While executing a project, you notice that there are new change requests. How would you handle the change to ensure success of the project?
Not all projects go smoothly as expected and it is my mandate as project manager to adjust the schedule and carry out the necessary communications to adjust to the changes. Usually changes occur when a progress is presented to a client.
While handling one of the website development projects, midway through the project, the client came up with new requirements. I was required to develop a website that loads pages in less than three seconds while the earlier requirement was to create one that loads in five seconds. Also I was supposed to create a portal that includes a referral section for customers. These two changes completely changed the scope of the project. I had to schedule a meeting with the client to discuss the impact of the change. I requested more time for the project and a slight change in budget. The client was slightly hesitant but later agreed with a condition that we exceed their expectations. I also sent memos to my team members to inform them of the changes. They were gutted for a while but later agreed to work after promising them compensations for overtime. We completed the project as expected and the client was very pleased.
In your position and role as technical project manager, what do you think of the term “Technical Project Management”?
Technical Project Management as a whole is a hugely mandated role. It is a combination of many operations that requires skills, knowledge, techniques and tools. It is a field that necessitates a lot of technical skills as it involves handling highly technical projects. It is my expectation as technical project manager to spearhead all the activities right from the initiation of a project through execution all the way to the closing of the project. It is also in my capacity to handle the various teams that may have stake in a project such as the stakeholders. However it is understandable that the field requires to maintain pace with the various technically advanced members in a team. It is a field that requires not only my technicalities but also my high grade leadership skills. My irrevocable experience in managing the expectations of both my team members and the organization is what gives me an edge in this field. Am a great team member as well as a good communicator. My unique understanding of the various necessities of this particular role has been a key factor for the successes of my previous projects. I am a huge fan of technology and the emerging trends of technical project management. This has been of great help to my career balancing all the emerging and past requirements of the field.
Technical project management requires one to be skillful. In your work experience, what skill/skills do you consider vital to a project manager?
Technical project management is such a field that one cannot say it requires a single skill to manage. It requires one to possess an extensive range of skills and technical know-how. It requires a technical project manager to constantly develop new skills to meet the needs of the ever changing field. Keeping updated with the emerging trends is a must have requirement.
However, in my last project that involved handling a large team and in a large organization, all my skills were taken through a lot of tests. I needed to constantly communicate with my team members as well through the various organizational levels. Time management, budget management, negotiation, leadership and risk management skills were all tested throughout the entire project. Although the project was successful, I learned some valuable lessons and had a great experience. Learning new and valuable skills from some of the team members as well as from the higher hierarchy has proved to be of great help in this particular job’s role. What I have learned and will continue to learn will be of great help to the company. As a technical project manager, I do not consider or take a single skill as more important. Technical project management depends on a combination of several inter-dependable skills to succeed.
Growth is the fundamental goal of every project manager. It is what propagates the company as well as every individual working under him/her. The growing field of technical project management requires one to be dynamic and ambitious.
My goal once employed in your company is to spearhead my department towards achieving the goals and potentials of the organization. I have over four years of project management experience. I would like to continue as technical project manager for the next three years then assess my progress in the company before deciding on my next course in career. However, the technical project management industry is a growing field and from my work experience, I would like to further my studies to try and expand my knowledge and skills. I would like to enroll in short part-time courses on leadership, ITIL foundation certification course which help in my information technology service management. I would also like to take a course that would improve my agile project management skills. After completing those courses I will continue to work for two years before assessing the available opportunities in the company. I am also sure that technical project management experience in this company will impart hugely to my professional experience.
Project management may involve working with different people. What category of people do you find difficult or easier to work with?
Technical project management involves working with different classes of team members. As a technical project manager, it is my responsibility to work with all members although I would prefer to work with ambitious, hardworking and disciplined team members. Among my roles is to ensure that team members strive to satisfy the project's requirements following the correct set procedures and project plans. Through my work experience, I have noticed that team members tend to follow in the footsteps of their leader and therefore it is my mandate to make sure that I be a good role model that can be emulated by my team members. Displaying maturity and a high level of understanding among my team members has been a great quality that every team member should emulate.
While working on one of the projects with a pharmacy technology firm, one of my lab techs always liked to have things his own way. We kept picking battles and disagreeing every time until I actually found out he had some pretty good ideas. When I had challenges carrying out procurements, he would be quick to offer help and it really helped in saving time. Also I once had an issue with one of my team members who kept picking fights with every team member she came across. After carrying out an inquiry on her, I found out she was going through a tough divorce with their spouse. I offered advice and even recommended she seek professional help which really improved her relationship with other coworkers.
What would you say drives or motivates you as technical project manager to work with our organization?
So many things motivate me to come and work in your organization. Your company has been gaining massive popularity all over the globe. As a tech firm, it is one of the fastest growing companies serving to the current needs of the world. I have studied your organizational structure and as a technical project manager, am convinced that this is the right place to offer my services and continue my growth. I have worked with several firms dealing with different technical projects and my skill capacity together with my technical abilities can be of great help to this company. My goals are to spearhead the company to greater heights and be among the best in the world on all fields’ technology. I have worked with developing firms and my experience will be of great value to the organization in handling projects as well as other employees of the company.
I would say integrity is one of the most fundamental qualities of every technical project manager and every company employee. Every company is looking for an employee who shares in the norms, values and principles of the organization. It is my responsibility as a technical project manager to set the bar high for all the other employees to follow. Earning trust & respect from my team members, client & other stakeholders comes from my integrity; i.e., ethically and morally right. Being able to communicate truths and facts in all situations is a big plus to technical project management.
Working with different firms has taught me valuable lessons both in my career and in my own personal life that I cannot ignore. While working on my last project, one of my team engineers kept asking for more time to complete her task. At first I gave her a week to complete the task and later when she asked for more, I had to sit down with her to try and find out what was the problem. I later found out that she had taken on a huge task that was half the budget as so she was afraid to hand in the task earlier than the expected timeline. We held a long discussion and arrived at a conclusion. I had to explain all the basics of integrity and how to handle such situations.
The current requirement of a technical project manager is proactiveness. Would you say you are a proactive manager?
One of the emerging trends in the technical project management field is proactiveness. Handling of issues as soon as they occur and completing tasks without procrastinating is a perfect example. I would say I am a proactive technical project manager. Working on several projects has taught us to anticipate situations before they occur. Identifying situations that may deviate a project from its scope and bringing up effective plans to minimize such situations has always been my strength. In one of my previous projects our initial plans worked well for some weeks. Halfway to the project I realized that the project could not be completed on the set deadline. I had to convene a meeting with the client to explain the situation and they agreed to add us more time to complete the project. This meant that budgeting had to be altered as well.
What would be your preferred leadership style in guiding a team to successfully carry out a project?
Leadership style varies in every leader. Some may be more popular than others and nevertheless there is no right or wrong leadership style. Leadership style may be advantageous to team members depending on their distinct qualities, personalities and the project they are working on. Leadership and management are two most important aspects that every technical project manager should have. As they say, not every leader is a manager and not every manager is a leader.
However, my career as technical project manager has adapted me to the various leadership styles although I have settled on being a democratic leader as well as a situational leader. There are some decisions that I would prefer to make on my own and there are some that I would prefer to decide based on team members' opinions. I have learned that transformational leadership helps to combat pressure that team members may feel as a result of my constant involvement. It is my understanding that executing the right leadership style whenever a situation calls for it is the best way of handling a team. Incorporating all leadership styles into one and ensuring that all team members are comfortable in their work environments leads to successful execution of a project.
Technical project management requires one to be more of a team member rather than work as an individual. The entire project I have overseen required me to be a team player and I would confidently say I prefer working in a team. Handling technical projects requires several skilled human resources and thus it requires a manager to possess people-management skills.it necessitates handling the various team members and trying to maintain harmony and a conducive working environment for every member. Working as a team is very advantageous as it involves sharing of ideas and working together towards achieving a common goal.
How one begins a project defines the execution, progress and final success of the project.my experience taught several things that should be understood before starting a project. My two successful approaches are finding out the ‘what’ of a project and then the ‘how’. In every project, I will first find out the objectives of the project which will then be a guide in creating a work plan. The next step is finding out how the various things are going to be achieved. Assessing the available resources to get the required resources to achieve project objectives is another vital process. The success of my previous projects has been based on proper planning right from the beginning all the way through to the execution of a project and following the set plans and strategies. Not to forget, identifying and working closely with stakeholders right from day-1 defines how much support and success the project manager will get in any project.
A Technical Project Manager, or a Project Manager, is accountable for executing and managing projects to ensure the proposed plan sticks to the timeline, budget, and scope.
According to salary.com, the average Technical Project Manager salary in the United States is $110,909, but the salary range typically ranges between $97,029 and $125,060. Salary range depends on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.
According to payscale.com, the top employers for Technical Project Manager are HCL America Inc., and Decagon Devices. Companies that offer high compensations for this role include International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. and HCL America, Inc., earning around $112,012 and $104,487, respectively. Decagon Devices pays the lowest at approximately $68,784. Walmart.com and Tesla Motors also deliver on the lower end of the scale, paying $80,000 and $88,437, respectively.
Start your preparation in advance for your Technical Project Manager Interview with the help of the listed Technical Project Manager interview questions. Take the first step and prepare in advance for your Technical project Manager Interview.
Below is the list of the most common Technical Project Managers certifications.