Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do you want to jump in to the project management role?

Here are some snippets for the Project leads and as well as for seniors who want to have a quick revision from project management interview perspective. Note, there is nothing like theoretical interview. Be practical!

It starts with basics of project management fundamentals like ROI, stake holders, MOU, SDLC, CAR, DAR, traceability matrix and then improve towards more sophisticated aspects. Defect density and Control Charts are few high level question areas.

Estimation is the most frequented section during project management interviews. You should be able to explain various aspects is dedicated to estimation. Ensure you understand the most used estimation methodology like COCOMO, LOC, Function points and Use case points. Most practical approach is WBS - work breakdown structure, or Delphi. Here the users / developers give the idea of development time, and you take the average of 30% + 70% of the worst and best timings estimated, as an example, that I have used.

Many project managers fall out when it comes to answer aspects on schedule management. Groovy area. Most of the times, the sales folks, would have committed to a date,  even before you start. So you have to plan with loading of the project very clearly. Use many trainees as possible, which will not get affected in the GPM ( Pross Project Margin ) in a services company.You need to be thorough on schedule management covering fundamentals like EST, LFT, EFT, LST, PERT, GANT and Monte Carto. We are sure by knowing these fundamentals you can not slip. Make sure you understand Microsoft Project, even if you are managing through MS Excel!

You need to understand costing. It comes from the GPM, on the cost of project. You cannot spend more than what the project has been bid for. The costing management interview covers the most asked fundamentals like Earned value, planned value and Actual cost with some real examples. Read on risk management which covers basics like DR and BCP.

CMMI which has evolved as a very matured and standard process across IT industry is the biggest talk during project management interviews. Understand on CMMI covering maturity levels, staged and continuous representation, SCAMPI, PII and full details explanation of all CMMI KPA (Key Process Area).

Six sigma is catching up very fast in the IT industry and also one of the most frequented section during project management interviews. Understand the scope of various practical implementations in particular to the software industry. If possible, log on to net and join a Six Sigma group on Linkedin, Insidetech etc... You will get enough basics, and try to apply to various scenarios what you come across in a day to day work life. At least knowledge of six sigma is expected from any Project Manager.

Agile and XP has caught lot of attention in the recent times. Understand various topics like Agile, XP, AXEUM, FDD and LSD.  Also do not forget the various development methodologies which was used in olden days, like Waterfall method, V curve method ( mostly for maintenance ) and the serial module development.

Go through standard templates and software by which you can gain an insight of project management tools.

Ensure that you read your resume thoroughly, where there are catchy words, and try to remember those, to answer well. Interviewer catch them fast, before you! So understand them well.

If you are just started applying, pass your resume to a good friend, or compare with his, by which you can get a fair idea of how to prepare a resume, if there are any mistakes and correct it before sending out in the market from a project management job perspective. At times, the consultant might suggest to add or update certain section to have the company short list you.

In short, here are the basic points you need to take care Resume Contents - Basics of Project Management - Risk Management - Schedule Management - Costing - Estimation, Metrics and Measure - CMMI - Six Sigma - Agile Development ( Methodologies ) and last but not the least, don't forget to say few things nice about your present / last company!


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