4 More Tips to Answering Project Management Interview Questions About Metrics

Some of you would like to know how to answer questions about the metrics you can gather and discuss when you look for a job as a project or program manager. Here are some tips: Tip 1: Separate the quantitative questions from the qualitative questions. I bet you have qualitative “measures” that you use either by design or by intuition. Here is one of mine. On a non-agile project, I ask the project team when the think the project will be done, each week or two. I ask them, “What did you see or hear to make you think the project will meet last week’s date/not meet last week’s date?” This provides me data about how the team feels. I can probe further or look at risks differently. Tip 2: Tell the interview what you normally measure and why. I always measure more than one dimension of the project. I look for trends over time. (See Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management to understand why.) Some of the trends I measure: changes in requirements over time; defect arrival, closed, and remaining open rates over time; features complete, remaining, and total features over time. Tip 3. Ask what the interviewer needs as measures. Ask the interviewer what they normally measure and explain how you get to the same data, especially if you get there in a different way. Tip 4: Explain what you never measure and why Everyone has their little bugaboos about project measurements. I don’t like earned value in software, because as soon as you complete a feature you can change it. I don’t find...

4 Tips for Preparing for a Project or Program Manager Interview

I have a post on this site, Interview Questions for Program Managers. There are a number of comments. Some ask how to answer the questions. Some want more information. Maybe you also read Six Tips for Answering Project and Program Manager Interview Questions or Interview Questions for Project Managers and want more detail. This is the detail. If you are a project or program manager and you want to know how to answer these questions, do this: Think about your most recent project or program. Ground yourself in recent reality. Define the value you provided to your organization. Use Four Tips to Defining Your Value. Now, practice the way you will explain your value in an interview. This is a story, one of many of your career. As part of this story, use data to explain your value. Did you save the company money? Did you solve a gnarly problem that kept managers awake at night? Did you do something to help the company retain or acquire customers? Did you help the project meet or beat the desired schedule date? Something else you can quantify? Make sure you tell the story in a way that can relate to your interviewer’s context. You can’t memorize your story. You can emphasize different pieces of it to make a specific point. If you are not sure what your interviewer wants to know, answer the questions in a way that explains your value. Here’s why there is no right or wrong way to answer questions. I did a PMWar with a colleague on projectmanagement.com. I only answered about 8 questions. I think I got 4 of them...

Networking Traps and Tips Slides Posted

I gave a webinar this past week to the BU Career Connection. We had a great turnout. I have posted my slides: Eight Traps (and Tips) of Networking When Job Searching. The slides are based on Manage Your Job Search. Since I published the book and have given talks about it, I have discovered more traps. I hope you enjoy the...

Hiring for Cultural Fit Slides Posted

I’ve given webinars and talks about hiring for cultural fit for years. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Waterloo/Kitchener, Ontario. When I spoke for Communitech, I updated my talk, Hiring for Cultural Fit. It’s easy to get cultural fit wrong. It’s more difficult to get it right. I hope you enjoy the slides. BTW, if you want the details on how to hire for cultural fit, read Hiring Geeks That...

Do You Need a Degree to be Hired to Develop Software?

I retweeted a link to Here’s a Thing: There’s No Correlation Between a College Degree and Coding Ability. I was a bit surprised by some of the reactions to that link. One colleague said, “I question whether people who wait until a college assignment to learn to code have the same obsessive interest in the topic.” I was quite surprised. Back when I went to college, people didn’t have access to computers except in school. And, what about those of us who only discovered programming by accident, say our sophomore year in school (me), or a few years later (another colleague)? Would a hiring manager penalize us for not knowing about programming when we were 12? Do developers need an “obsessive” interest in programming? I don’t think so. When I hired developers, I looked for a number of preferences, qualities, and non-technical skills: Ability to learn our system fast Ability to get along with the rest of the team Ability to take feedback and provide feedback Problem-solving abilities in several domains: ways to look at both technical and non-technical tradeoffs More things depending on the role and environment Of course, I looked for technical skills also: Ability to explain their code to me and others We always did a technical audition, so we could see somebody’s technical skills at work Ability to explain how their code fit into the whole of the system they were working on at the time More things depending on the role and environment In all the time I hired developers (about 10 years), I never made a college degree a requirement. Nor did I make obsessive...

Three Ways to Answer “Tell Me Something No One Knows About You”

Hiring managers who haven’t read Hiring Geeks That Fit are now asking another irrelevant question: Tell me something no one else knows about you. Now, in case you aren’t sure, this is an irrelevant question. It doesn’t directly help an interviewer learn how the candidate can perform the work or fit with the team. It doesn’t help the candidate learn about the job. That means it’s irrelevant. However, if you are looking for a job, you can use this question. I would focus the question back at the work. Here are some ways to answer this question: Tell a personal story about how you exhibited problem-solving or fit with a team. Something that you know or suspect the interviewer is looking for. If this is a first question, ask the interviewer, “What does success look like for this job? I can tell you how I did something like that in the past.” If you do have that experience on your resume, point to it. Think back to the value you bring to an organization. Now, think of a personal story that shows one or more of those values. Answer this question with a story. Your interviewer is looking for something personal. If you’re not sure how to answer or define your value, look at Manage Your Job Search. I have a number of examples of how to answer irrelevant...