Hello, readers, and welcome back to our project management series. In the last article, we started The Project Management Career Series, which is focused on helping you prepare for a change of job or an interview either as a project manager or a project team member.

In our last articles, we introduced the series by exploring the generic project management terminologies and questions that can be asked in an interview situation. You can find the article here. For simplicity’s sake, the knowledge areas were used to structure this series. Today, we will be discussing project management interview questions that could arise from the integration and scope management knowledge areas. We will also provide practical ways to answer these questions.

Definition

According to PMBOK “Project Scope Management includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.” The importance of proper scope definition in a project cannot be over emphasized, as one of the easiest causes of project failure is a lack of proper scope definition. If you are not familiar with project scope, its inputs, tools and techniques and outputs, then check out our previous article on scope management here and ways to avoid scope creep in projects here.

Every project-related organization understands the importance of scope management in a project, hence it’s a key area to test the knowledge of a prospective employee. The following are some of the most common scope management interview questions you should expect during a project management interview

Q 1. What is project scope planning?

Answer: Project scope planning is the part of project planning that determines all the work that should be included in order to ensure a successful project. I also define the boundaries and set the deliverables (what is acceptable) of a project.

Q 2. What is the difference between product scope and project scope?

Answer: Just like the names sound, the product scope management is centered on the product, which includes defining the feature, and functions that characterize the project while the project scope is centered on the project. It includes all the activities that need to be carried out in order to complete a project.

You should note that the project scope is more work (activity) oriented in comparison to the product scope, which focuses on the functionality of the product. Also, it is important to note the relationship between a project and a product while answering this question. The output of a project is known as the product of the project and this can be a physical product, a service or a result with specified features and functions.

Q 3. What is scope creep and the causes of scope creep?

Answer: scope creep in project management is an undocumented or uncontrolled change that leads to a continuous growth in the project scope. Changes are bound to occur in all projects, and a change can only be classified as scope creep if it is undocumented and the budget, resources and schedule are not increased along with the change.

Note: Where possible, use an industry related example to explain scope creep.

Causes of scope creep

There are a lot of factors that can cause scope creep in project management and some of the most common are:

  • * Proper change control system
  • * Poor communication during project
  • * Weak project manager
  • * Lack of scope planning
  • * Poor project documentation

Do not just state the causes, ensure that you explain them and give examples when necessary.

Q 4. Is there any difference between a project charter and project scope statement?

Answer: The project statement is a document that officially formalizes a project. It is created by the sponsor and defines the responsibility and boundaries of the project manager and sponsor.

The project manager and his / her team members produce the scope statement. It details the boundaries of the project and the product of the project by listing all the work that should be done and all the functionality required of the end product.

Q5. As a project manager, what are you going to do to prevent scope creep?

Answer: To effectively answer this question, start by defining what scope creep is, then move to the ways of preventing scope creep:

  • * Ensure a proper and effective change control system
  • * Ensure documentation of all changes and no change must be effected before going through the change control system
  • * Ensure better communication among all stakeholders
  • * Make sure objectives are properly defined
  • * Ensure all stakeholders are aware of the project constrain and the impact of these on a project

For more information on preventing scope creep, you can read our scope creep article here.

Q 6. You are handling a project and the client comes to you to change some of the functional requirements that have been agreed upon, what would you do?

Answer: As earlier mentioned in one of the answers above, changes are bound to occur during a project so the following are the steps to take:

  • * Document the change required
  • * Evaluate the effect of the change on the project with a focus on the project constrain (time, cost and scope)
  • * Submit a change request to the change control board
  • * Implement the change if approved by the change control board
  • * Document the outcome of the change control either approved or not

Q 7. Can you identify the relationship between scope planning and stakeholders?

Answer: Start by defining a stakeholder – A stakeholder is anybody who has an interest in a given project. If a stakeholder is not considered during scope planning, it reduces the possibility of success of the stakeholder. Stakeholders should also be classified according to their level of power and influence on the project when planning scope. The users of a product are always the most important stakeholders and all effort should be to get user opinion when planning scope.

Q 8. What is the importance of a work breakdown structure?

Answer: Work breakdown subdivides project work and deliverables into smaller and more manageable components. The key importance is that it provides a structured breakdown of the deliverables for the project.

Q 9. What is rolling wave planning and in which kind of project is it used?

Answer: A rolling wave plan is the act of planning projects in phases. It involves planning projects with available information and elaborating on the plan when more information is known. It is used in projects with tight schedules to adhere to or in a project where all the requirements are not known from the beginning. It might be particularly useful in innovation projects or prototypes where the requirements constantly change as a result of the information available at a particular time.

Q 10: Explain the term project deliverables.

Answer: Project deliverables are tangible or results objects produces as an output of the project or process, which is usually delivered to the customer (The customer in in this case can be internal or external). Thus a deliverable can be as small as a report or as big as a completed building.

Note: A project often has more than one deliverable. Each process / phase project management has its own deliverable.

Q 11: Differentiate between “verified deliverables” and “accepted deliverables.”

Answer: Validated deliverables are deliverables that have passed through the performance quality control process where it has been checked for correctness and have been certified to meet the quality criteria specified in the project management plan. On the other hand, accepted deliverables are deliverables that the customer or relevant stakeholder has given a “thumbs up” and has signed for acceptance of the deliverable.

Q 12. One of your team members decides to add a functionality that he thinks would improve the efficiency of the project, what would you do?

Answer: There are a lot of things that can be done, but first, you need to explain the importance of the change control board and the process involved in implementing a change to the team member. After that you ask the team member to submit a change request, analyze the impact of the change and pass it over to the change control board.

Q 13. Who determines the scope of the project?

Answer: The project manager and his or her team members determine the project scope.

Conclusion

The above are common project management scope interview questions. Just as a reminder, when answering interview questions, it is also important to give relevant industry examples. For example, using an automobile industry example in a medical field might show that you are not vast in the medical sector. A good project manager should be flexible and able to fit into any industry except of course technical project managers who have specialized project managers for a particular field.

Interview questions might sometimes not be direct and might even be case interviews. The first step to answering a question successfully is proper interpretation of the question.

In our next article we will talk about answering project time management questions in interviews.

That’s all we have for today and once again thank you for reading. Do not forget to drop your thoughts and questions in the comments section.

REFERENCES

  1. Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK)
  2. http://www.everydayinterviewtips.com/15-common-project-management-interview-questions