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Program Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Last update: 13 Aug 2021, 13 Questions

A good company needs different types of projects which meet all the requirements of the user and the company’s core objectives. Supervision and organization of different activities under a project is a must task these days. To accomplish these tasks a company needs a good fit of Program Manager and for a good Program Manager, you also need some Program Manager Interview Questions and Answers which can lead you towards your betterment of future. A good project lies under the eye of the Program Manager and he is the person who has to manage them all and is in charge of those projects. Their experience depends on the company's programs and if we are talking about word company then word Interview must also revolve nearby it. Let’s have a look at some of these questions which leave your competition into dust.

Most Frequently Asked Program Manager Interview Questions

Here in this article, we will be listing frequently asked Program Manager Interview Questions and Answers with the belief that they will be helpful for you to gain higher marks. Also, to let you know that this article has been written under the guidance of industry professionals and covered all the current competencies.

1. What steps do you take to determine how to allocate a program’s budget?

Below are some quick steps which can determine a program budget-

  • Have a good understanding of your program
  • Research costs
  • Prioritize the budget by sorting out “the things to do”
  • Figure out Gross Margin Profits
  • Cost of quality
  • Vendors bid analysis
  • Decides how to spend
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2. What are the responsibilities of a Program Manager?

Apart from experience in program management and team management for the role of Program Manager, there are some keys responsibilities discussed below-

  • Management of different programs by opting program life cycle.
  • Organizing meetings with stakeholders and communicating the desired output to the specific team.
  • Should be transparent regarding any project issues and decisions related to it.
  • Set a long-term goal and prepare a plan to achieve that particular goal.
  • Always ensure that projects and all resources work under a specific budget plan which must be set at an initial stage.
  • Reporting of status between teams and customers should be on time and correct.
  • Implementing communicated changes discussed with customers on time.
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3. What is the most common reason projects fail?

Every project is not high profile one, many of them fail to deliver due to reasons listed below-

  • Lack of communications between teams and customers.
  • Inappropriate use of resources that exceeds the budget of the project.
  • Unclear goals and objectives.
  • Lack of attention and efforts towards the project.
  • More focus on business value than technical value.
  • Poor management of time and leadership.
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4. How would you deal with a problematic sponsor?

Some sponsors fall into categories like critical, unresourceful, absentee, and indecisive. Rather than change them we must know how to deal with them by opting following methodologies-

  • Get to know them and their way of working.
  • Show them your confidence, dedication, and competence.
  • Understand their needs and acknowledge them.
  • Build relationships with them but on a very light note.
  • Avoid arguments and give compliments and praise.
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5. What is the difference between a program manager and a project manager?
PROGRAM MANAGER PROJECT MANAGER
The program manager oversees a group of projects. A project manager oversees an individual project.
He is the person who sets policies and procedures. He runs the project according to those policies and procedures.
Focus is on the program strategy The focus is on the work coordination
He determines the program standards He delivers products to the defined standards
Manages program level risks and issues Manages project risks and issues and report them to the program manager if necessary
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6. If you are working on a project and the company changes its goals, how do you adapt?

If you are working on any project be prepared for the phrase “Change is going to happen- adapt it”. The best to best plan sometimes doesn't work out. Being a project manager project recovery, task management and leadership are the most important skills one must have to adapt to changes. Always remember you have a team under you which is looking out for you to take impact when things are not working according to plan.

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7. When managing multiple projects, how do you determine which are of the highest priority?

Whether you are working on an individual project or multiple projects, prioritization is a key concept which determines the success of any project. By this question, your interviewer wants to know how you pick out words like urgency and importance and distinguish them. You can tell them that you will first check on crucial things and give less priority to things that are not necessary and acknowledge certain factors like level of risk, resource constraints, and budget requirements.

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8. Describe the most recent program you managed. What was your contribution?

This program manager interview question must be answered in a way that what you have learned from your last project. You can tell them about the goals and achievements you have achieved. You can drag their attention by telling them that you always have an alternate or backup plan if there are unexpected things in your team. And wrapping up your answer by saying that the program was successful and the client was happy.

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9. What is the role of technology in program management?

Technology is playing a vital role in every business process and program management is no exception. Some ways in which it boosts up the process are-

  • Better Communication: Tools like Trello and Clarizen help to communicate in a much better way between team members and clients directly.
  • Tracking of Team Members: Tools like Workzone, Jira, Zepel, and Trello track the progress of each team member at all times.
  • Workflow Automation: This term is all about reducing repetitive tasks so that the team can focus on other factors to increase the quality of the program.
  • Data Management: Data is managed in a much better way because of technology that provides different data tools to analyze them and break the bigger data in a much simpler form.
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10. Have you ever faced a communication problem while managing a program? Whom with and how did you resolve it?

Communication issues are the most expected issues to be arising in a team. Answer this question based on your experience, how you dealt with the situation, and the output of the situation. The golden rule to avoid any communication disputes is to “Listen”.

For instance- Once communication problems arose with customers during exchanging of emails regarding order details. There was some misunderstanding of what the customer wanted and the order came out without the changes and he showed his disappointment. I assure him to use specific communication tools like group chat, suggestion box to avoid this in the future.

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11. Tell me about a time where you were managing a program that was falling behind schedule. What would you do differently now?

In the last organization, I was allocated to a program and due to an unexpected illness of one of my team members, it was falling behind schedule. It was my responsibility to overtake that thing even though tasks were not easy to achieve. I figured out the best approach and prioritized the tasks from most important to least and began my work.

I will use my organizational skill and develop a plan of action. If in case I have this feeling that it would be very hard to achieve the result I will ask for an extension.

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12. Do you believe that change management is critical for program managers? Why and why not?

Change is very necessary for any organization to grow in the market. Being a program manager I will ensure my team takes changes as a learning process and not see them as roadblocks. There are some listed practices which you can tell to enhance your answer-

  • Gathering information
  • Encouraging the team
  • Dedicating resources
  • Develop a management structure
  • Offering a discussion platform
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In short, by acknowledging the questions above you can show the interviewer who is the boss. Just practice these questions a bit ahead of time and don’t rush. You can also practice more questions and gain experience in this field.

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