Hello readers and welcome to the conclusion of our project management career series. For those who are just joining us, the project management career series was started to prepare project managers and intending project managers on the best ways to answer project management interview questions. As mentioned in one of our previous articles, project management takes a scientific approach and the interviewer is testing you on your understanding of these structured approaches (methodology) used in managing projects as guided by the PMBOK.

PMP Training – Resources (Intense)

The career management series was divided according to the project management knowledge areas and so far we have addressed the following knowledge areas (feel free to check the links below):

In our final article for the project management career series, we will explore the project integration management. The project integration management is the project management knowledge area that integrates all the other knowledge areas. For ease of understanding, the integration management knowledge area is often thought and explained as a unique knowledge area, but in practice it interfaces with other knowledge areas in a way that it cannot be easily separated. Below is an example of relationship between process groups in a project.

While no knowledge area can be described as the least important when managing projects, the project integration management is definitely one of the most important aspects of project management. This is because as more facts are discovered about a particular process, integration management helps analyze how this discovery would interact with other processes, while at the same time determining the best way to handle the change. For example, a scope change might affect the project time, cost, resource risk, etc. Integration management helps integrate the new scope, while at the same time analyze the relationship between all the affected processes.

The following are project management interview questions that can be expected from the project integration management knowledge and as usual, we have provided practical ways to answer them.

Q. Who prepares the project charter and what are the functions of the project charter?

Answer – The project charter is a document, which emanates from the project sponsor or the sponsoring entity. The following are the functions of the project charter.

  • It formally authorizes the existence of a project
  • It provides the project manager the authority required to plan, execute and apply organizational resources to project activities
  • In case of an external project, the project charter establishes a relationship between the performing organization and the requesting organizations. (Note: the project charter is not the same as a contract as a contract is the best way to establish an agreement between two parties)

Q How does the project charter differ from a project management plan?

Answer – The project charter and project management plan are extremely different documents and should never be confused for each other. The table below shows the major differences between the two documents:

Project charter Project management plan
Document officially signifies the existence of a project This is a combination of other management plans that is used in guiding and coordinating the project from inception till closure
The project charter is always prepared by the sponsoring body The project management plan is prepared by the project manager and other specialist in various fields as it relates to the project
The project charter defines the project goals and objectives The project objectives defines and guides the project management plan

Q Why do you need a project management office?

Answer – The project management office (PMO) is in charge of managing the project portfolio of an organization. While the project manager manages a project, the project management office manages a combination of projects. Its functions include ensuring proper governance, good schedule and financial management, resource management and general communication management. The office also manages communication across the supply chain.

Q As a project manager, the project management plan is your most important document. Who develops this plan and how is it developed?

Answer – The project manager with the help of other professionals develops the project management plan. It is a single document that defines the basics of all projects from planning through closure. It is prepared by developing individual management plans for the different knowledge areas and collating them together to form the project management plan.

Q At the project integration knowledge area, expert judgment is one of your most important tools. Why is this so?

Answer – The project integration phase is the inception phase of the project. At this phase, the project details are still vague and skeletal and usually require high amounts of assumptions and estimation. These assumptions need to be as close to reality as they can, based on these expert opinions in related fields are necessary. The expert judgment gives helps in structuring the project by giving close estimation before the empirical research is carried out.

Q Explain the direct and manage project work process.

Answer – The direct and manage project work is the process involved with implementing the works described in the project management plan. It provides a comprehensive management structure to the project work. We should also remember that since change is constant during a project, the approved change request becomes an important input of the process as the manage project work processes also includes the coordination and effective execution of all changes carried out through out the project.

Q What are the functions of the change control board?

Answer – The change control board consists of a committee of stakeholders who are responsible for the review and analysis of the change request as forwarded by the project management team. The outcome of the reviewed change request is either the accepted change request or rejected change request.

Q Which stakeholder is allowed to initiate a change?

Answer – Although it is the function of the project manager to submit a change request to the change control board, any stakeholder can initiate a change request. The project sponsoring body and project management team generally top the list of people who initiate a project request.

Q How do you effectively close a project?

Answer – The project closure is one of the most neglected aspects of project management as the project work is already completed and some project team members would have been released to their functional team before official project closure. Never release all your project team members before effective project closure. The following steps should be carried out before you can declare a project closed

  • Work with the legal and finance team to ensure all project contracts and subcontracts are finalized and closed.
  • Ensure all the deliverables of the project have been accepted (duly signed) by the project sponsor.
  • Prepare a detailed final report, which shows the project goals, accomplishments, full financial report, change request (both accepted and rejected changes) and lessons learned.
  • Provide recommendation for future projects based on the lessons learned from the project.
  • Get feedback from necessary stakeholders.
  • Properly archive.

With this article, we have come to the end of the project management career series. For all those who have been following this series, we would like to say thank you and for those who are just joining you are welcome.

Let’s not forget that understanding the technical details about project management and its application is only a step to getting that dream job. You should be prepared, confidant and carried out your research about the organization you are applying to. Also, giving relevant industry examples during your interview increases your chances of getting the job as it shows that you are an expert in the field. Finally, as the saying goes, dress the way you want to be addressed (this needs little or no explanation. hahaha). All the best as you land your new job in the New Year.

Once again, thank you for reading.