The domain we work in is unique in some ways compared to the general roles of a Project Manager. First is the "management" of the project or program is done by a specific set of people. The Program Manager and the Control Account Managers. The "program controls" function provides oversight and insight to those people.
There are specific roles on the PP&C (Program Planning and Controls) side of the program. Here are the questions we ask when interviewing someone for that role:
Planning1. Integrated Master Plan
- Speak about your experience with Integrated Master Planning
- Tell where on the web you'd find information about Integrated Master Planning
- What information do you have at your disposal on guidance for developing the IMP?
- Name 5 possible Program Events in the IMP?
2. Integrated Master Schedule
- What DID defines the creation and use of the IMS?
- What are the three levels of the IMS mandated by this DID?
- What does the DID say about a Schedule Risk Assessment>
Earned Value Management
3. Control Account Plan
- What information is contained in the CAP?
- Who participates in the development of the CAP?
- Who typically owns the CAP?
- With the CAP in hand what would the person do next?
4. Work Package
- What is a Work Package?
- What does the Work Package produce?
- What does the Work Package contain?
5. Earned Value Execution, in you experience ...
- Where are the labor cost rating numbers typically kept in an Earned Value Management System?
- Where the non-labor costs typically kept?
- How and where are subcontract dollars usually recorded?
- What is the impact of starting work?
Monitoring and Control
6. Performance Measures
- What would be the preferred measure of task performance in the EV sense?
- How would you construct a performance measurement system at the Work Package level?
- How would you do the same at the Control Account level?
- What would you say is the best performance indicator for forecasting future performance?
7. Performance Reporting
- What is contained in Format 3 of the IPMR?
8. Duration Estimating
- From your experience, what would be a way of capturing task durations?
- Speak about the possible errors that you might encounter in the method you have used.
- Speak about the statistical independence, coupling, and Merge Bias in activity networks.
- Can you remember what the PERT formula is?
- Speak at bit about the concept of Monte Carlo Simulation
- In what DID is Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS) (Schedule Risk Analysis (SRA)) called out?
- Have you applied SRA/MCS to an IMS? If so, what tool have you used?
- Where is the Monte Carlo of the Monte Carlo Simulation located?
9. Technical and Programmatic Risk Management
- Where would you find information on the DoD Risk Management processes?
- Name the four options for handling Risk.
- What is a Five-By chart and how would you label the axis?
- Where on the chart is the GREEN portion most often found?
- Could you speak to why multiplying the probability of occurrence with the impact might have problems?
- What tools have you used or heard of for managing the named risks in the IMS?
- Have you applied those tools in the past?
10. Critical Path Analysis
- Speak about programmatic risk and the critical path?
- How do activities get on the critical path?
- What is meant by near critical path?
- What is the impact of Level of Effort activities on the Critical Path?
11. Building the IMS
- What would be your advice on the least risky way to build an IMS down to the Work Package and Task Activity level?
- How would you construct unique labels (symbols) for deliverables, outcomes of Work Packages, Milestones, dependencies or any other items that need to be distinguished from the standard work effort?
- Show how you can “profile” the assigned labor level for a resource beyond the single assignment in the Resource assignment field for the task. For example how would you assign 100% to the first three weeks of a ten week task, then 50% for the next 3 weeks, and back to 100% for the last five weeks?
12. Microsoft Project Demonstration
- Why would you not want to use the WBS field in MSFT Project for WBS data?
- How would you make a dependency connection between to activities in two separate project files?
- What is the field length limit in a predecessor or successor field?
These and similar question will bring out the level of experience on the PP&C side of the project. These of course are not related to the other aspects of "managing" the project. But when someone says, "I've got experience managing projects," this is one place to start to see if "providing performance visibility" to the project has been one of those experiences.