We have compiled the top 18 PMO interview questions that might be asked in an interview to test various aspects of PMO skills, with tips and a sample answer for each of them. These interview questions for PMO will help employers to assess whether each candidate has the required knowledge and experience in managing Project Management Office (PMO).
1. What Are The Qualities That A PMO Manager Should Possess?
Here, the interviewer wants to know if you are well aware of the qualities and skill sets needed to be a PMO Manager.
Tip 1: Be brief with your answer.
Tip 2: State the qualities that can help become a good PMO manager.
“The role of PMO manager asks for a good leadership quality and a sound understanding of managing different facets of a project. They should be good at planning, implementation, and support to ensure the success of a project. Apart from that, they should be transparent in their dealings.
Moreover, PMO managers should be consistent with their practices and quality standards. They should possess great communication skills and be flexible enough to adapt to changes. But most importantly, they should have problem-solving skills and know the importance of teamwork.”
2. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last PMO Manager Role? How Did You Handle It?
By what you answer, the interviewer will try to assess your problem-solving ability and know-how professionally you can tackle unforeseen events.
Tip 1: Start your answer by stating the challenges a PMO manager can face.
Tip 2: Briefly describe which approach you implemented to overcome the challenges.
“During my last role as a PMO manager, I faced a project, where risks and issues were not properly identified. So it could bring a potential delay in the deployment of the project. To overcome the roadblock, I evaluated the entire team to assess how equipped they are to adopt the new changes. I used various tools like Lean Six Sigma to undertake the task.”
3. How Would You Go About Setting Up A PMO?
From what you answer, the interviewer will try to assess if you have the required skill-set to create and manage a PMO. Here, they will also evaluate your managerial qualities.
Tip 1: List down the steps that you are going to talk about.
Tip 2: Demonstrate that you have undertaken the task of setting up a PMO before.
“The first step to setting up a PMO is defining the objectives of the PMO. Answering the whys will help align the PMO with the organization. After defining the objectives, one has to acquire the mandates from the seniors to set up the PMO. The next step is to define what tools PMO will use and the process it will follow. After this, it is essential to outline what skills the resources should possess. The next step is to set up a communication channel to ensure the task is going as per the plan.
To ensure the processes are going as per the timeline, there is a need to set up a monthly PMO routine. The last step is to document the key elements to be covered in a PMO and maintain it.”
4. How Do You Share Best Practices Within A Team?
It is the responsibility of a PMO manager to supervise the entire team while ensuring everyone follows best practices. The Interviewer will try to assess if you are well aware of these standard practices or not.
Tip 1: First, state the importance of following the best practices in project management.
Tip 2: Your answer should reflect that you have experience in managing a PMO.
“Adhering to standard practices in project management is paramount to achieving success and delivering a quality project. As a PMO manager, I will first form a case as to why there is a need to implement best practices in the PMO. After this, I will develop the best practices by collaborating with other managers and then run a test. Afterward, I will roll it on all other projects. Through regular follow-ups, one can know when and what practices need change.”
5. What’s Your Experience With PMO And Different Project Management Tools?
Although it is not necessary that every organization uses the same project management tool or has the same PMO setup, the interviewer would want to know if you are familiar with some of the basic tools.
Tip 1: Your answer should demonstrate that you are efficient at handling project management tools.
Tip 2: Give an idea to the interviewer about how proficient you are with these tools.
“Yes, I have prior experience with PMO and have proficiency in a few project management tools like Scoro, Basecamp, ASANA, and Jira. In my last company, I was tasked with setting up a small PMO. Therein, I worked on ASANA. I have created multiple workspaces for my projects. I created a task list for all of my projects. I set up milestones and regularly check my team’s progress. I used to get a notification for any new updates in my projects. I had to check my dashboard for checking a quick overview.
I provided training to the stakeholders on the PMO process and prepared process templates and activity feed.
6. How Do You Determine The Organization’s Resource Capacity?
One of the key skills a PMO should possess is planning and managing an organization’s resources. Here, the interviewer wants to know if you have undertaken such a task in the past.
Tip 1: Your answer should demonstrate your understanding of capacity planning.
Tip 2: To put weight on your answer, show that you have experience in managing the resources.
“When reviewing the organization’s resource capacity, one can use tools for a more precise understanding of the resources. First I will analyze resource requirements in all projects, then I’ll create a cross-functional team, evaluate the resource capacity, look for the scope for resources, add acquire resources, and then allocate resources as per the project needs.”
7. What Do You Think A Successful PMO Should Look Like?
Here, the interviewer wants to understand if you know how a PMO should conduct himself in an organization.
Tip 1: Describe how you define success for a PMO.
Tip 2: Add to your answer, how supportive they are in helping an organization achieve strategic goals.
“For me, a successful PMO is the one who can set clear objectives for the team and track the progress efficiently. He should also be capable of adapting to strategic changes in the organization to support its growth.”
8. What Do You Do When You Are Met With Resistance From Your Team Members?
The interviewer wants to assess your critical thinking process and problem-solving skills.
Tip 1: Give a clear case scenario.
Tip 2: Break down your approach and define them in brief.
“Firstly, I will communicate with the managers to get to the bottom of the issue and then devise a strategic solution to overcome these issues. I will try to understand the core of the problem. I’ll ask the question ‘why’ and ask for a probable solution for the problem to team members. I will assure the team that the changes made in the process are only for the good.”
9. Do You Have Any Experience With Outsourcing Personnel Or Supplier Management?
As a PMO manager, one has to look over in-house as well as remote resources. It calls for strong communication and managerial skills.
Tip 1: Even if you don’t have the experience, demonstrate that you have the skills to undertake the task.
Tip2: Support your answer with your examples.
“Yes, in my job, I had to outsource the task to remote team members. I would oversee their task I set up a remote project management platform and virtual team. I would conduct weekly follow up to track the progress.
I also managed various suppliers throughout the project with the help of a remote project management platform and my remote team.”
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10. How Will You Convince The Customer On a Project Which Was As Per Project Work Requirements But He Is Not Happy With The Outcome?
This is a tricky question to evaluate your communication skills and client servicing quality.
Tip 1: Give an example to support your answer.
Tip 2: Your answer should reflect that you value consumer satisfaction.
“If it one of those scenarios which need deliberate handling. To ensure such situations never arise, I keep my clients in the loop of the progress of the project. However, if something like this happens, I will try to understand what changes they want. if I find the changes will be beneficial for the client as well as match the budget, I will make the modification accordingly to get full customer satisfaction. If I find It will not, I will negotiate with the client, make understand the case and solve it with a win-win situation.”
11. What Project Management Software Are You Familiar With?
The interviewer wants to understand how capable you are at handling PM software and if you are compatible enough to learn new software.
Tip 1: State the software you have used and for what purpose.
Tip 2: Give them the impression that you are willing to learn new software.
“I am compatible working with Microsoft Project Server, Clarizen, ProjectManager, and Zoho Projects. Besides this, I can quickly learn and adapt other PM tools that are used in the organization.”
12. Is There Any Difference Between Projects, Programs, And A Portfolio?
The interviewer wants to know how well are you familiar with these concepts of project management.
Tip 1: Give a brief description to define the differences.
Tip 2: Keep your answer short but don’t miss out on any important point.
“According to the PMBOK guide, the project is a temporary task that produces unique results. On the other hand, a program is a set of similar projects collectively coordinated. While the portfolio is a collection of programs, projects, and sub-portfolio, managed as one to achieve the set objectives.”
13. Are You Aware Of The Fishbone Diagram And Its Application?
Another technical question to assess your project management skills.
Tip 1: Define what Fishbone Diagram is in a few words.
Tip 2: Explain its applications in clear words.
“Fishbone Diagram is a technique to investigate problems in a project management system and resolve them. It helps in identifying the issue, pin out the major factors causing the problem, and find efficient solutions.”
14. What Do You Think Is The Most Essential Skill For A Project Manager To Have And Why?
This is another question to evaluate your skill sets and understand how well you understand the job profile.
Tip 1: List two or three skills you think are most essential.
Tip 2: Justify your answer.
“As a PMO manager, one has to oversee the task of other project managers, one should possess sound leadership skills.
The second most important skill for a project manager is good communication skills.
Besides this, a project manager should possess sound team management skills, negotiation skills, risk management skills, and be responsible for the actions taken.”
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15. What Are The Steps In The Project Life Cycle?
This question is to test your knowledge about the project development process and how well you can manage it.
Tip 1: Briefly define what the project life cycle is and describe the steps.
Tip 2: Try to put your experience when answering the question.
“There are five stages in the Project Life Cycle. These are the initial stage in which we understand the requirement of the project, and the planning stage wherein we set the timeline to execute the task. After that, it comes to the project monitoring and control stage. Then comes the execution stage, where we go on board with the project. The 5th stage is the closure stage where the outcome is analyzed as per the set target.”
16. What Is Project Charter?
As a PMO manager, one should be familiar with various documentation needed to do. If you are applying for the post of PMO manager, you should know them too.
Tip 1: Describe in brief what you understand from the project charter.
Tip 2: Your answer should resonate that you have prior experience in creating the project charter.
“Project Charter is a document that contains a brief description of the project to be developed. When creating a project charter, one should list down the objectives of the project, state the stakeholder, and risks involved in carrying out the project.”
17. What Is Plan Baseline?
This question will again put your sound understanding of the project management tasks to the test.
Tip 1: Explain the concept in brief.
Tip 2: Give an example to explain your answer.
“Before the execution of the project, a final version of the plan is created which is called plan baseline. Project baselines include the objective of the project, timeline, and other details as per which the final project’s results are measured.”
18. What Are The Processes And Process Groups?
This question is to know how well you understand the nuances of processes and process groups.
Tip 1: First, define both the terms in brief.
Tip 2: Give examples to draw the differences.
“Process defines the way to undertake a task. It states a clear set of actions to be followed to complete it. On the other hand, the process group is a set of processes applied to various stages of project management.”
These are but a few PMO interview questions for an interview that you need to prepare yourself before attending an interview. Hopefully, these interview questions for PMO will help you land your next dream job.