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Promotion interview tips

Promotion interview tips

Promotion interview tips

(OP)
I have a Promotion job interview for the County I work for and one of the questions will be how I handle the following situation:

"If working on Two high priority jobs and someone calls and wants a Third high project done right away and it is also high priority, how should the Project Manager handle it?"

I am thinking of answering this by saying I would Prioritize all the requests and delegate as needed or if by myself then analyze each customer need according to importance of the Department or consult with my upper management and advise them of each project.

Please advise.

RE: Promotion interview tips

This question is a doesn't have enough detail to be a practical question.  I view it as a character testing question.

You should refer to PMI's code of ethics in talking about your approach.  You should not compromise any work work you've already agreed to take on.  If any of the "bosses"/"customers" create conflict for you between their interests, you should bring them into a room and require them to make the decision/agreements about which project(s) should be performed and in which order of priority using the available pool of resources.

You ARE NOT empowered to make the decisions due to lack of information, prioritization, cost/benefits analysis, etc.

Don't fall into the trap to describe how you'll do more work.  You want your answer to describe how you'll help the organization take a larger view of these competing interests.  If the org. wants to get them all done and you don't have the bandwidth to work them at the same time, then there will be extra costs associated with staffing up from outside (perhaps).

D.E.R. Management - IT Project Management Consulting
http://www.dermanagement.com/

RE: Promotion interview tips

thedaver, of course, has provided some excellent advise (as usual I might add). The first thing to consider is whether you have the resources to attack all three high priority items at once. If yes, then there is no problem.

If not, then you have a prioritization issue. You should be aware of the prioritization process and know what procedures to follow to arrive at the proper priorities. For instance, when I worked for the US Federal Government, the highest priority task was Payroll, or things payroll related. This was in writing. Sometimes, you might need to have a meeting with someone, perhaps even the president of the company. The worst case scenario is when you need to gather all three project sponsors in a room to have them negotiate the priorities. Don't forget to escalate decisions which you are not empowered to make. Those people get the big bucks for making those decisions and for making them stick.

See also the end of Thread731-1031058  for some more insight regarding prioritization, quality, and costing.

-------------------------
The trouble with doing something right the first time is that noboby appreciates how difficult it was.
- Steven Wright

RE: Promotion interview tips

The question is *not* trying to find out how you will do the work.

The question is trying to see how you see project work.  (Here's the context: project work is the allocation of scarce resources to accomplish the larger organization's mandate.) You need to turn the question back on the questioners by asking them all the questions necessary to determine the true impact, scope, priority, etc.

You should have at least a dozen questions to ask the questioners.  It's _so_ easy to ask close-ended questions (how many resources? what time frame?).  You must make certain, however, to ask open-ended, higher level queries:  tell me more about how this project fits into the department's goals; tell me more about why this project is being assigned to me.

At the end, you turn it back on them one more time.  The questioners will have an agenda so, in a roundabout fashion, ask them for it:  "I've addressed a number of immediately obvious areas; what other ones would you like me to address?"  You'll likely get "oh, that's fine ...".  Probe gently again "This sort of situation involves so many factors ... what are the most important ones to you?"  And then listen very carefully to see if they mention anything outside of the framework you've already used.

RE: Promotion interview tips

Quote:

At the end, you turn it back on them one more time.  The questioners will have an agenda so, in a roundabout fashion, ask them for it:  "I've addressed a number of immediately obvious areas; what other ones would you like me to address?"  You'll likely get "oh, that's fine ...".  Probe gently again "This sort of situation involves so many factors ... what are the most important ones to you?"  And then listen very carefully to see if they mention anything outside of the framework you've already used.

I like this response very much. It looks like a great way to see if the employers (or at least interviewers) are smart enough to make the job enjoyable.  Have a star.

RE: Promotion interview tips

(OP)
thanks for all the advise.

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