Five great interview questions for project managers

Five great interview questions for project managers

Here are the five interview questions that will sort the best Agile project managers from the rest.

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1. What do you understand by “Agile”?

Obviously, you’re looking for a candidate who understands iterative development and how it can deliver quality products for the project. But if they’re going to manage an Agile team well, they’re also going to need an understanding of how transparency and collaboration are keys to Agile’s ability to deliver functioning software very rapidly.

2. What Agile experience have you had?

Once the candidate has filled you in on their past projects, you’ll need to probe a little to find out what specific industry expertise they have and what kind of products they’ve been delivering.

Now’s the time to ask them if they are familiar with some of the tools, such as Jira, Kanbanize or Trello. Are they a scrum master, and what certification do they have? When it comes to scrum master training Dublin is a centre of excellence.

This is your opportunity to judge whether the manager you’re assessing is honest and has that quality of assertive humility that is a key to being a successful Agile leader. A good indicator is whether they are prepared to own up to any past misjudgements or failures, and what they learned from them.

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3. What do you expect from a sprint?

Most sprints last two or three weeks, and are aimed at achieving a specific goal, within a set time, by breaking it into tasks which are assigned to the team. When the sprint is finished, the team reviews how it went, makes any improvements that are relevant, and gets on with the next one.

Ask the project manager how they think the sprint structure affects motivation – hopefully they’ll understand that achievable objectives with a short time horizon help motivate the team.

4. What’s the key progress measurement for a project?

As CIO magazine points out, in this Agile primer, there’s one answer to this, and it’s that progress is measured by the delivery of working software.

5. What’s the purpose of a burndown chart?

These plot tasks achieved against time remaining, so they show progress and speed. The plotted line should be going down as tasks reduce over time and software is delivered successfully.

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