Head Turning Answers To The Toughest PgMP Interview Questions

Before jumping to PgMP Certification it is good to confirm what role one plays after attaining it. In simple words, it would fetch the job profile of a program manager. A program is the combination of multiple projects all directed towards the bigger business objectives. The arduous task of monitoring and getting these projects completed within the respective time frames rests on a program manager. Effectiveness and efficiency are the two qualities employers hunt for. What better chance to prove it than the interview session?

Program managers are the unseen forces behind the smooth sailing of healthcare administration, construction, and other intricate industries.
PgMP Certification, and individuals desiring a highly satisfying professional life - are truly made for each other. Communication skills are among the prime strengths of a program manager that establishes transparency at every functional level. Given below are several answers to questions that the program management candidates can expect from recruiters.

Program governance and management are equivalent roles from different perspectives. The former role is related to managing a single program while the latter is associated with the overall management of affairs. Governance involves financial planning, decision-making, and other processes to establish guidelines for the team members. Management includes the implementation of these injunctions and ensuring that the goals are met.

A program’s funding is the collective total of separate project funds alongside the entire program budget. Based on their durations, different programs need different funding requirements. There are, yearly, quarterly, or half-yearly funding patterns. A program manager has to choose from these options depending on how long a program will take to complete.

A doctor feels the patient’s pulse while a program manager does the same to a project/program. Program dashboards are very effective for catching real-time glimpses of project executions. Besides, time-to-time assessment of the project staffing, timeliness, client satisfaction, and budget, is the key.

Grouping projects into a single program allows a clear comparison of their ROIs. This helps decide which project to shift more resources to from the others. Besides, a program manager can avail of suitable discounts when buying tools or services for a program. Such is not the purchasing power of a single project. The overall idea is to identify the effect of individual projects on the company’s objectives when brought together.

A program manager needs to meet with the project managers regularly. It is essential for making a note of the slightest change in one or more projects. Before starting a program one should ensure the alignment of the multiple projects with the business objective. It is necessary to determine the significant stages/ outcomes of each project and check if these cover the program goals. A beforehand overview reveals the interrelation of projects. It also helps in analyzing which of the projects’ outcomes/milestones are not at all necessary. This provides the right direction for each project under a program.

The foremost step is to create a risk register. It will show the priority level of risk-handling on a ranking of 1 to 5. Next comes the planning for risk mitigation concerning the individual threats already listed in the register. The four initiatives to be taken are:
  • Make Necessary changes to negate the occurrence of a particular risk.
  • Plan intermediary actions to lower the negativity in case of unstoppable risks.
  • Decide the budget with the possible financial losses in mind.
  • Transfer a portion of the anticipated risks by outsourcing the tasks related to them.

Decision-making refers to prioritizing different projects that a program manager monitors simultaneously. He/she considers the funding requirements, resource limitations, and objectives of individual projects. Communicating with project stakeholders is the next step in making the right decision of which projects to prioritize or not.

Program managers’ objective is to benefit the program through the sharing of project costs, activities, and resources. They ensure that one project’s requirements don’t become hindrances for the others. Instead, all of them go hand-in-hand and reach their desired outcomes to culminate in the organization’s higher objectives.

To navigate the changes in tools, processes, or strategies in the right direction refers to change management. This is a significant skill that every program manager must possess for attaining the expected results of a program. It also involves persuading project teams to accept the changes after realizing the benefits they bring along.

Breaking down each project into multiple stages and accomplishing them is the key to an effortless tracking of program goals. A program manager first reviews each project from multiple corners such as its related risks, strategic values, and budgets. Then he segregates it into smaller tasks to maintain a record of each of them.

One neither misses the program goals nor the deadlines of individual projects following the work breakdown structure. A program manager is efficient at determining little goals for the teams to take a step at a time in their respective projects. Creating schedules for each project before starting greatly benefits a program manager to bind the tasks with time limits. Team members going by the determined schedules manage to meet project deadlines without compromising on their results.

The absence of transparency between different project teams is the most vital cause of project failures. It occurs when team members of separate projects fail to update one another regarding any changes to their projects as initially planned. Lack of seeing eye to eye creates separate opinions within a team. In such cases, employees move in their respective directions, which ultimately delays a project. Another reason for project failure is the inability of every individual associated with it to access real-time information. Last but not least is vague project objectives that arouse confusion within and between teams.

On the occasion of changing business strategies when the program has reached halfway, a program manager shouldn’t get hassled. He should encourage others to focus on the organization’s previous policies instead of deviating from them. Only if a client requests a change then team members should focus on it. They can follow the new policies for the upcoming projects.

A program manager needs to make the most of technology for fruitful communication. Cloud computing solutions are most effective for real-time task tracking. Interaction with the program's remote contributors gets easier as well. Not to forget the availability of high-end management tools that a program manager can use at his discretion.

A program charter gives a clear view of projects’ scopes, stakeholders, and goals. In the absence of this documentation, any of the multiple projects is subject to cancellation, especially during audits. It is an agreement between the client and the program manager that includes the former’s requirement standards. Thus, it guides in laying down the projects’ pre-requisites and makes team members realize their responsibilities.

Leaflets, social media, newspapers, and magazines come in handy for keeping an eye on industry trends. The second method is to cross-check competitor activities. Apart from these, a program manager can attend workshops to update himself with the innovations in program management. Catching up with consumer feedback on social media is equally valuable. Familiarity with industry trends becomes mandatory for coming up with futuristic project strategies.

A program manager needs to go slow while convincing stakeholders of certain necessary project requirements and changes. One must acquire expertise in bringing them around by taking them into confidence while communicating. Holding the conversation in a friendly ambiance is the key.

Team members of the projects within a program need a motivating leader. That’s how program managers should be. They will possess an exemplary spirit of perseverance for others to imbibe. Other than determining the program goals, they should comprehend every stage of action/project and its related outcome. In addition, maintaining good relations with every individual to facilitate transparent communication is quite important. The instructions should be clear and he must be responsive to their shortcomings. Adequate persuasion skills are necessary to convince even their bottom-level employees and supervisors. A program manager is also necessitated to offer training on getting rid of loopholes.

A program manager is a good listener who is all ears to complaints arriving from his subordinates. Attentive listening makes him determine the underlying problem whether it be related to vendors, machines, managers, or human resources. He comes up with several remedies and selects the best from them. Then it is put to test and finalized as an inherent solution for future occurrences of similar difficulty.

A program’s complexity level is found in its different facets. These are namely:
  • Available information
  • Interaction
  • Uncertainty of project outcomes
To judge how complex a program is one must take these factors into account and review project types accordingly.

Earning the project/program sponsor’s attention is quite laborious. A program manager needs to strategically present the findings of a previous program. He would be producing well-documented strategies, objectives, and budgets for the program. A glimpse of such streamlined processes reflects positivity. This motivates the sponsor and he starts believing in the present project/ program and its ROI.

Changes in business strategies are welcome only if they fulfill the following conditions.
  • A logical reason must be present to justify this transition.
  • To what ratio is the new strategy negative and positive?
  • Whether or not it enhances the program performance.
  • The changes are subject to improvement in skill and training.

Gantt Chart is the tool for creating network diagrams to simplify the activities and the critical path of each project. A program manager instructs team members to use this tool for effective identification of project activities dependent on one another. The latter minimizes the stretch of such activities under a program manager’s effective management.

A proper plan for communication management has to be kept ready at hand. This ascertains that the team members or managers disclose the right information to each other as and when necessary. Internal uneasiness and conflicts only end in the faulty execution of projects within a program.

With the availability of innovative software, streamlining business processes has solely become a program manager’s handiwork. It is he who determines the automation strategy for project managers to follow. Segmentation of existing processes into sub-units for easy execution is his first trick. Secondly, he instructs teams to perform stepwise documentation for using the details of past projects as future references. Lastly, he monitors if the new process is fitting in the concerned project.