Interview Q&A Part-2: Project Management

Interview with a Healthcare company (Name confidential)

The Question that was asked to me and what was my response to the following question.

  1. What is your leadership style and what are your project management guiding principles?

My Leadership Style is coaching and democratic but once I get the flow of the organization I can vary from being democratic to authoritative. Which more often develop a strategy of its own.

The Project management guiding principle would be

  • Asking just enough whys?
  • Achieving goals through milestone or short-term goals
  • Improving efficiency in terms of time, team, and cost with each project
  • My personal Lean Improve and Adapt
  1. What are the major factors that could threaten the success of a project? What would you do to mitigate these risks?

The project must be balanced between Scope, Time Budget, and Quality. But there is more to it keeping the team on the same page. Because working in a diverse team it is necessary everybody understands the project keep everyone on the right track. Then come coordination and integration

The major threat to the project usually depends on the project. But few of the common factor or most frequent factors are

  • Improper communication plan
  • Misidentifying roles and responsibilities
  • Misidentifying requirements
  • Final client’s acceptance denial

However, there is more than the risk that I have mentioned. The best way to mitigate risk always to have a risk management plan which I learned from my mentors. Risk management plan helps to identify risk in terms of impact and probability of it happening. It does help to identify risk trigger which helps to prevent the risk before it can happen.Based on the project there are various ways to counter risk such as to transfer or insure.

  1. How do you keep a team motivated?

There are many ways to keep the team motivated. It depends on the situation. If it’s related to achieving project goals then.

My strategy is to 1st identify people and their skills. Then provide them with short and achievable goals once they achieve it provide them with even bigger goals. And if they found themselves in a place where they cannot achieve these goals. I will reflect upon them the goals which they have achieved. Make them believe in their talent again based on proven results.


  1. At the end of the week, you collect anonymous feedback (see below) regarding how the team feels about the leaders and the management. How do you respond?

For Positive feedback then I would probably treat everyone with a pizza as a gesture for having their vote of confidence and faith to make me a success.

If there are negative, there is always room for improvement. I would respect my team for caring for me to make me identify my mistakes and helping me to improve. and will work eagerly yet carefully to improve.


Let me know your thoughts,

I am your Friendly Project Manager !!

Shenoy Mathew


Risk Management Plan Importance and challenges

So Starting this week I will be covering about risk, risk management plan and how to manage risk management plan.

This week we will be talking about Risk, Risk management plan’s importance and cover few challenges:


Risk management is one of the crucial aspects of project management. As we know that is a risk is an unexpected event that has either positive or negative impact during project execution. The risk that has materialized becomes an Issue which is one of the main cause that may or may not lead to failure of the project. So, it is necessary to identify risk and develop a plan to counter risk when the event happens. You can say that risk management plan is like a prediction of all the unexpected event or finding out all possibility that project may go off track.


Few of the challenges faced during the project work specific to risk management work are described as follows:

  1. Ambiguous project plan: Having undefined goals leads to scope creep leading to unclear scope definition. This results in series of an unexpected problem throughout the course of the project. This is caused due to
  • Improper requirement plan.
  • Undefined goals
  • Scope creep and gold plating.
  • Poor Assumption.
  1. Poor communication: One of the major reason that the project tends to fail is that of not having a proper communication plan. The term poor may not only refer to a lack of communication but also miscommunication.
  • Not having well-defined responsibility
  • Group conflict
  • Lack of accountability
  • Poor communication
  1. Limitation on resources: Now when we talk about limitation, Limitation may be due to lack of skilled worker. And resources may also refer to material resources, Human resources, and workspace etc.
  • Inadequate Skilled worker.
  • Impossible deadlines and budget.
  1. Task Dependency conflicts: After the WBS for the project is defined it is crucial to find the dependency of the task. For example, if you want to construct a building you cannot start the construction from the top floor. Here the task depends on the construction of the base, floor plan and so on …. Misidentifying this task dependency can cause delays in the project.
  • Using Schedule compression technique such as fast tracking and crashing.
  1. Project managers approach: Although during the initial phase of project planning such as collecting requirement, stakeholder plan, developing the project charter, team contract, and WBS etc. Consumes a lot of time. So, sometimes project managers are either are negligible or don’t put extra effort in managing risk plan. But it all depends on the scenario of the project. (Shenoy,2017)

However, there are many challenges than what is explained please refer to the link below for detailed explanation.


Let me know your views,

I am your friendly Project Manager!!



1.Typical Project Management Challenges Faced By Businesses. (2017, February 18). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from

2.Bisk (2017). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from

3.Project Management Institute. (2013). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)(Fifth ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute


Unorthodox style of nailing phone interview…

Apart from the regular preparation for a phone interview, The things I am about to share is something you will not find in the books. Phone Interview can be a nuisance. It is like going on a date with your eyes blindfold. From my personal experience, what I learned

Step 1.It’s ok to use Gap words: Gap word like “Ahh’s” and “Umm’s” are ok in an interview because we are obviously human. And our lingual thought maybe not as good as our speaking. One of the keys to reducing this gap word is not only to be confident but also be enthusiastic. Direct your confidence to enthusiasm about the job that you are applying. Considering from an interviewee standpoint who would he/she rather stuck on a plane with option A someone who knows the 24th digit of pi or option B someone who amuses him/her.

Step 2.Be a stalker: If you know who is going to take your interview. Then wear your Sherlock caps and start investigating use LinkedIn or Facebook know about their background although most of the times you would not find the exact person but if you do you have won half of the battle.

Step 3.Don’t try, Win! I hate people who say try, try but don’t cry. Look you are applying for the job interview and putting a lot of effort which if you put this much effort in the actual job you might get promoted.if you are not playing to win then you are not playing at all.

Step 4. Use Trigger words: This Technique is called developing a mental picture of yourself in the interviewee’s mind. For example: If the interviewee like to play chess (based on the stalking that you did in step 2 and you have a common interest in playing chess then usually during the closing time of the phone interview ask the interview “Do you play chess”. What you are doing is finding a common alignment between you and the interviewee. Now why this is important is explained in the next step.

Step 5. Know thy resume: The interviewee is not going to ask you personal questions like ‘tell me about yourself?’. He will straight up ask you question from the resume like the projects or your experience or achievements. Resume here will be your physical picture which the interviewee can actually see. Also, If you applied to thousands of job or you resume keeps on changing over the course. Then make sure you and the interviewee have the same resume or this will result in miscommunication and lead to failure in blind representation to the interviewee. Its ok if he does not have your latest resume. but make sure you have the same resume couldn’t stress more on it.

Step 6.Thank you note: Thank you note is generally send within 24 hrs. of the phone the interview. But I would suggest you send it within 2 hrs. of the interview. Now before sending the thank you note analyze your phone interview and mention those points.For example:

For example:

  • What was your + point?
  • What skills make you best suited for the job?
  • Which part was not seen but will be useful for the company?
  • Thanking for the opportunities with trigger words.

Now trigger words based on the step 4 examples like ‘Thank you for the opportunities I hope to hear from you soon and if time permits we can have a chess match to ourselves.’

So now if interviewee sees the mail this trigger words, which was chess, will activate the minds of interviewee about the interview he/she had and remember the plus point of the phone interview he/she had with you.

Now go and nail that phone interview!!

Let me know your view in the comments below,

I am your friendly PM!

Shenoy Mathew



How to create a self-updating Resume.

In today’s world where employers are looking to hire the most creative and the stand- out person to hire. But most of us fail to deliver the 1st item of contact with the employer that is the resume.

Yes, resume building can be a challenge and as the world is changing constantly so is your resume. But what to do to make it stand out from other resumes.

So, I came up with and creative idea to connect to LinkedIn to Printed Resume. The only question was how do you do it. If you copy the long link nobody will type them in the browser just to check your LinkedIn profile.

Instead, I used an online QR code generator (links mentioned in the description below). What I did was generated a QR code of my LinkedIn Link and printed behind my resume. (Sample resume is given below). Now all the employer needs to do is to take out his smartphone which can read QR code and scan the link to see your LinkedIn profile.

For Link:

1.Open the Website:1.PNG

2.Copy your LinkedIn in profile:2.PNG will generate the QR code click on Download to download the Zip which should contain the image of the QR code:3.PNG

For sample QR code:

LinkedIn Profile.


Web Business Card.


“Note that you make sure you print it at the back to back so that it can deliver more impact. You can use any OR scanning app to scan the QR code which will direct the viewer to your LinkedIn profile.”

-Shenoy Mathew

If you scan the code via QR scanner it will take you to my LinkedIn profile and my web business card.

Let me know your views.


Shenoy Mathew.


Identifying Scope Change

How do we know whether project scope change is really needed? What events, activities or other warning signs tell us project scope needs to be re-evaluated?

For me, it is quite intriguing to know that identify scope change is a little bit like identifying risk the only difference is that scope change creates a tradeoff between project requirement and objective. They affect the cost or schedule of the project but not necessarily affect the communication plan or level of risk.

Few signs that scope needs to change or re-evaluated are described as follows:

1.Stakeholder changing their mind: Stakeholder does change their mind frequently as the project progress. It is very necessary to jot down this change in the requirement in the early stage. Especially during requirement elicitation, it is necessary to have a good requirement collection plan.

2.Regulatory change: Regulatory change usually refers to change caused due to change in regulation, legal requirement, and legislation. It is necessary that project manager is politically aware of all the scenarios to cope with such change during the project.

3.Poorly defined/collection of requirement: This is pretty much self-explanatory having the wrong requirement or poorly set requirement can become an issue for scope change. Mostly caused due to the assumption made by the project manager and result in scope change by identifying the requirement from stakeholder’s perspective.

4.Change in business sponsorship: New sponsor tends to bring new ideas and have their own vision for the project this can be managed solely on project manager’s skill to negotiate.

5.Change in business strategy: This one of the reasons that cause major scope change. As organization changes, their strategic approach toward business. Generally, two things happen in this scenario-

5.1. Either Project is closed prematurely as project no longer support organizational strategic direction.

              5.2. Project Manager is asked to pivot the project objective to align with the organizational approach under which scope change can occur.

6.Updated/ Reconfiguration of technology: This is more like changing material resources. As technology advances, chances are that project is needed to be implemented/updated using this new technology.

7.Not enough resources: This mostly result in comprising the scope when resources are limited. Generally, result in the tradeoff between the constraint of the project.

8.Bugs and Defects (optional): It is usually referring to a failure in a specification of the project may result in changing the specific requirement of the project. And best way to manage that is using the traceability matrix.

“You know your project needs to change when any of the above-mentioned criteria is identified in the current state of the project. However, most of the scope change are manageable and can be controlled. But I would recommend to always look for signs mentioned. Always have a fine line that separate scope change from scope creeps.”

Let me know your views,

I am your friendly Project Manager!



The Perfect Scope Statement

1. What sections should the perfect scope statement contain?

2. Most projects find managing scope to be a challenge. What can we add to a scope statement that could help manage project scope better (if anything?)

3. If I ever had experience with scope statements, when has the scope statement worked particularly well, and why? or When wasn’t a scope statement helpful (or even caused problems)?

1.What should be included in a perfect scope statement?

As per PMBOK Knowledge goes a perfect scope statement should include the following:

Overall description of the project: It’s analogs to WBS 100% rule. It must include all aspect that we need to cover/execute in the project.

Deliverables: More like setting the feature of the project and defining criteria/threshold that will satisfy the client or can give a progression of the project towards the big picture. It’s the ‘What’ of the project.

Justification: This is the ‘Why’ of the project. Identifying the reason the project is being executed. Also, an important tool to identify the closing phase of the project whether the project is giving the required output which was approved upon.

Constraints: Constraints is mainly used to define the boundaries of the project from project manager’s perspective. It is not similar to Inclusion and Exclusion. Constraints are more related to cost, scope, time and quality of the project.

Assumption: Although I wouldn’t agree upon having an assumption in the project, the Project manager does tend to make an assumption. I would suggest making an as accurate assumption as possible based in Hard Facts and experience.

Inclusion/ Exclusion: It’s more like a do’s and don ts of the project. It’s mentioned in the scope in terms of stake holder’s perspective by identifying what will be included in the project and what will be excluded in the project. Inclusion and Exclusion is one of the key features to prevent scope creep.

Approval: I couldn’t stress anymore but get approval from your stakeholder either in the form of signature or e-signature. it is what that makes the document official

2.The Challenges in managing scope?

Few of the major challenges that are faced while managing scopes are:

Time Consumption: Oh yes! It is an issue. When a Project is being initiated most of the project team member want to start right off with the project rather than planning for the scope due to following reason such as project members eager to start with the project, Critical deadlines and team members assigned to more than one project etc.

Underestimating the complexity of the project: Mostly seen in the new project that industries are not familiar with. The project mostly runs into the problem because project manager underestimates the project’s complexity.

Poor Requirement Analysis: A client doesn’t always know what it wants. Project Manager refer to that as ‘I’ll Know it when I see it‘ syndrome (Ref 1,2017), Getting padded estimate from project team member about the task and much more

Lack of change control: It is one of the major reason for scope creep. Generally, happens during the execution phase of the project where clients demand or request for change.

Gold Plating: It is a term used by the project manager that means to exceed scope than what is required with the expectation that value is being added to the project. Which ultimately in most cases leads to project failure due increased cost and time.

Solution to manage scope:

Some of the few useful yet simple tips that I would recommend to follow is

  • To list all project stakeholder
  • Have a good plan for collecting requirement.
  • Identify primary objective and secondary objective of the project.
  • Note all the possible requirement
  • Most Important make sure you and the client understand the scope and get your scope statement approved by the client.
  • Refine the scope if there is a request or demand for change and get it approved by the client.

3.Personal Experience:

Yes, Indeed I have a bad project scope experience. I remember in my undergrad our professor asked us to design a device that would identify the VI characteristic of Transistor on the Graphic we had a flexible budget and time limit of 6 months. Little did we know that there were multiple types of transistor ranging from High power to low power based on the type. We realized this issue during the execution phase more specifically the testing phase of the project. As we had the device showing the output for low power transistors but for the high power simulation would provide pseudo/false result than what was expected. Moreover, To get chip set to work on higher power level would cost more and would require authorizing access which would and increased the time for the project

Eventually, we had discussed this issue with the professor and refine our problem statement(also known as scope statement) and had to refine problem statement to low power transistor characteristic identifier for the final client. But we were able to negotiate with our professor and said that for high power we would require different chipset that is capable of working on a high power level although the pattern of implementation would be same the only difference would be the chipset that can sustain on high power. This was done by showing simulation with high-level power chips on the required software.

But a lesson learned is a dollar earned.


  • Roseke, B., & About Bernie RosekeBernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP, is the president of Roseke Engineering. As a bridge engineer and project manager, he manages projects ranging from small, local bridges to multi-million dollar projects. He is also the technical brains behind ProjectEngineer, the online project management system for engineers. He is a licensed professional engineer, certified project manager, and six sigma black belt. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with his wife and two kids. (2017, March 13). How to Write a Project Scope Statement. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from
  • Dealing With Scope Management Challenges – Spend Matters. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Snyder, C. S. (2013). A user’s manual to the PMBOK guide– fifth edition.


Let me know your view in the comment below,

I am your friendly PM!


Thought on Collecting Requirement.

Strictly speaking, a project manager is responsible for keeping a project’s triple constraints (scope, budget, schedule) in control, regardless of what the scope of the project is. That’s already a big job. Should the project manager make the job more difficult by also acting as the “collect requirements” manager, including choosing requirements collection techniques and writing requirements documentation?

Related image1.Short note:

I think this statement undermine the authority of a project manager. Taking a simple example of our body, our body has many parts which have a different function. Similarly, in a project, each stakeholder whether internal or external everyone has their own function but project manager is the heart of a project. Apart from managing cost and time project manager must communicate with all bodies of the project.


2.Collecting requirement:

The collection of requirement come from the business case. Now sometimes project manager is assigned to develop the business case or assigned after business case is developed. Although as a project manager we must bear the burden to manage the triple constraint of the project. We also need to be involved in collecting requirement. Because there is a 4th hidden constraint that is the quality which provides flexibility to another constraint of the project and by collecting the requirement we can identify the quality of the project (it defines the signature management of the project manager).

 2.1. Collecting Requirement technic:

The reason we need to choose the technic for collecting the requirement is because of the scope of any project is not clearly define or understood, estimates for cost and schedule is not clearly defined as far as my experience go this is due to improper input from the stakeholder. As a project manager to deliver the project in the triple constraint we need to take an extra effort to identify the requirement.The PMBOK defines a various and proven model to get accurate requirement. I would suggest using this model because it reduces the effort to collect the accurate requirement.

2.2. Documentation:

Documentation is necessary as it allows you to generate progress report and set cost and time estimate and in future if as a project manager we encounter similar project this document can be a way to reduce the effort to collect requirement.

Let me know your views,

I am your friendly PM!



Well Written Scope Statement

1. What are some of the features of well-written requirements?

2. What are some of the most common problems with writing requirements?

3. Did I find any internet site(s) that I would especially recommend to others?

1.Some of the features of the requirement are as follows:

  1. Requirements is classified into four categories as
  • Mandatory – A feature that must be built with no exception.
  • Desirable- A feature that must be built only if the constraint is flexible.
  • Optional – Feature that can be built but it’s always a choice
  • Possible future requirement – A feature beyond when the project is completed mostly suggestion about future project expansion it’s more like optional requirement of future (URL 1, 2017)

There can be a possible hybrid requirement also (Shenoy, 2017)

  1. A good requirement must have the following characteristic they are
  • Verifiable                         – State requirement in such a way that it can be tested and demonstrated.
  • Clear and concise           – State one requirement in a statement with clear and unambiguous without multiple interpretations.
  • Consistent                       – Must not interfere with another requirement
  • Complete                        – Must be complete i.e. must have all the information needed.
  • Traceable                        – Cannot be broken into smaller requirement
  • Viable                              – Statement for requirement must be measurable or tangible
  • Necessary                       – Must be ready to meet the systems requirement.
  • Implementation free        – Does not specify how the function can be implemented but defines function provided by the system

(Slide3, URL 4,2017)

2.The scenario in projects are quite uncertain because of that we need a good specific scope statement so that we can identify the requirement by looking at the big picture. Some of the Problem that we may face as follows:

  • Language problem- Lacking the clarity and ambiguity in the statement of requirement.
  • Squeezing solution into the problem- A statement of requirement strictly speaking must have all the attributes as mentioned above in response to question 1. Squeezing solution into the problem will lead to additional suggestion and scope creep.
  • GIGO for validation – GIGO model is also known as garbage in and garbage out state that valid input/ requirement should be introduced in the project. Bringing in unnecessary requirement may lead to scope creep.
  • Lack of knowledge – Having improper knowledge on how to collect requirement can often lead to unnecessary time and cost.
  • Bad Assumption – Sometimes you don’t have enough to state the requirement this error cannot be eliminated but can be reduced to a certain extent (P.3 URL 2,2017)

3. URL No.



Highly recommended:


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In the comment below.

I am your friendly PM!


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